The brown recluse spider is frightening for most people. Between hiding in dark, undisturbed corners and their venomous bite, it’s true. This species of spider is no joke when you actually come across one. A bite from one of these arachnids can be dangerous and sometimes lethal.
Unfortunately, we often misidentify them in Florida. Like anything rarely seen, mystery and rumor surround the reality of the brown recluse spider.
While you may think you’ve found a brown recluse spider in your Florida home, it’s highly unlikely. Several other species appear similar at first glance. Let’s face it…who really looks closely at a spider in their home? Hopefully, this will put your mind at ease while helping you spread the truth about brown recluse spiders.
What Do Brown Recluse Spiders Look Like?
A brown recluse spider is, in fact, brown and just about the size of a quarter, including its legs. Most spiders have eight eyes, but brown recluse spiders only have six eyes. The most significant aspect when identifying a brown recluse is the dark brown markings on their backs.
Brown recluse spiders have a violin-shaped marking that stretches down the spider’s back. Often called violin spiders, they sport a dark brown neck of the “violin” on their back. Without the violin-shaped spot on the back of your spider, it simply is not a brown recluse spider.
As their name suggests, these spiders prefer solitude. They are often only discovered when a human disturbs their home. They do not seek to harm people and often do not leave their nest. Most brown recluse bites happen because they’ve been disturbed.
Brown recluse females can stay hidden without moving for up to nine months. They produce up to 250 eggs per breeding cycle while the male spiders bring them food. They build irregular-shaped webs for their egg sacs in dark corners. They don’t use them to catch prey though.
Instead, the male spiders hunt for food at night, leaving the females to protect the nest. This means the females will never step in traps or poison, but will actually continue producing large numbers at alarming rates. For this reason, a brown recluse spider infestation can occur rapidly. Add to this the fact that they stay hidden in dark, isolated areas, it’s easy for them to hide.
Even though brown recluse spiders do not like to interact with any other species, especially humans, they are venomous. If provoked, they are one of the few spider species that will bite and inject poison into the one threatening them. Thankfully, most spider bites, even from a brown recluse spider, are not fatal.
Most bites result in necrotic lesions, which can lead to infection, tissue damage, deep scars, and other serious medical conditions. These lesions will often be a bluish patch with irregular edges, a pale center, and peripheral redness. Some bites are not medically significant and may only present a pimple-like swelling that disappears in a few days. Serious bites can take months to heal.
Are Brown Recluse Spiders Found in Florida?
Florida is not a region where they live. Few confirmed brown recluse spiders have been found here. When they are found, it’s typically in the northern part of Florida boarding other states.
Other confirmed findings are still considered to be from moving or other transportation activities. People moving to Florida, accidentally bringing them in their belongings is believed to be the most common reason to see them in the Bradenton, Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, or Parrish areas. Since these were isolated instances, experts still do not consider Florida to be home to brown recluses.
Brown recluse spider bites are extremely rare. They are frequently and incorrectly reported each year throughout Florida. There has only been one confirmed person bitten by a brown recluse spider in Florida. In 1986, a cargo worker was unloading cargo from a ship in Jacksonville. The spiders were believed to have come to Jacksonville from out of state.
These spiders do not roam free in Florida. They also are not making their homes in your Bradenton or Parrish garage or laundry room. A few other types of spiders that are venomous may be found in your Florida home including a black widow spider or a hobo spider. For these spiders, typically sealing cracks throughout your home contains them for extermination. If you think you have one of these species in your home, call the pest control experts at Rodent Solutions, Inc. right away.
Since they are native to the midwest and parts of the South, including Alabama, and only certain parts of Georgia, it is highly unlikely you will ever see one in Florida. Their life cycle is consistent with a specific four-season year. We don’t experience this kind of seasonal change in most of Florida.
If you feel you’ve seen one, chances are, you’ve found a much-less-harmful look-alike. If you’re not sure, it’s okay to reach out to pest control experts like Rodent Solutions, Inc. Our technicians are trained to identify and remove spiders as well as other pests or insects from your property.
The Truth About Brown Recluse Spiders in Florida
If you’ve ever seen or been bitten by a spider while in Bradenton, Sarasota, Parrish, or Lakewood Ranch, most likely it was something other than a brown recluse. There are nearly 30 other species of spiders that resemble these spiders, so they are easy to misidentify. Many of these species do live in this area.
If you truly believe a brown recluse bite has occurred, it’s important to capture the offending spider, if possible. This is to aid your medical professional so they can select the correct treatment with the species.
Often fear drives our impulses to incorrectly report brown recluse spider sightings. An intense fear of spiders is known as arachnophobia. It strongly grips many of our customers. Many make assumptions about what they saw and are quick to misidentify the spider. This can confuse pest control and medical experts. Plus, it only leads to more fear-driven news and social media reports.
Before jumping to conclusions, be careful to report exactly what you see and take a CLEAR picture of it if possible. Professionals like Rodent Solutions, Inc., can help you identify and exterminate what you’ve found.
While the idea of encountering a brown recluse spider can be terrifying, it’s important to understand the facts. When you do come across any spider in your home, remain calm. Take a clear picture or capture the spider, if possible. Then call us at Rodent Solutions, Inc. We’ll send an expert to identify your visitor and plan treatment for your home.
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