Identify and Prevent Brown Recluse in Your Tennessee Home

Identify and Prevent Brown Recluse in Your Tennessee Home

Encountering spiders isn’t on everyone’s list of daily things to do. The good news is that the chance of encountering a spider that is harmful to you is slim, but it’s still possible.  A common one that you want to avoid is the brown recluse spider. How can you identify the brown recluse compared to other, less harmful varieties of brown spiders? Read below to learn more about these feared spiders and how you can prevent them!

Identifying a Brown Recluse

The brown recluse is ¼” to ¾” in size and some can grow larger in size. They are typically light to medium brown and have markings on their backs, with a black violin-like shape pointing to the rear of the spider.

Where Can a Brown Recluse be Found?

The brown recluse is known as a recluse for a reason; they don’t tend to make it known they are nearby. These spiders will typically seek out environments that are warm, dark, and dry.

This can include an array of places, such as:

  • Cellars
  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Inside inner tubes
  • Under or around rocks
  • Under tree bark
  • Utility boxes
  • Underneath or behind furniture

Why are They Feared?

Although not aggressive, they will bite when they feel trapped. Most people are bitten by a recluse when they unknowingly reach inside a shoe, piece of clothing, or a box. They will bite if they feel provoked, but their bite is the biggest reason why brown recluse spiders are so feared.

If you are bitten, it can take a few hours to notice its effects. When a brown recluse bites, it injects its venom, causing necrosis and an ulcerating sore. Once the venom takes effect, you may experience restlessness, insomnia, and fever. The sore can leave an open ulcer, even exposing the muscles or bone. If you think you have been bitten by a brown recluse, you should seek medical attention immediately.

If you encounter a brown recluse on your property, call your local pest control company to seek professional assistance. If you see one, it could mean an infestation is occurring.

Crawly Winter Insects

Crawly Winter Insects

Some pests hibernate when the weather gets colder, while others seek out warmth inside of our homes. These overwintering pests will sneak through any open crevice or gap from the exterior of your home and can stay there all winter long undetected. Here are a few crawly pests that could be hiding out in your house! 

German Cockroaches 

The German cockroach is a common roach species found throughout the world. These roaches range from 1/2 to 5/8 inches and are brown with two-longitudinal stripes running down the thorax. They prefer to live in smaller areas close to food and moisture, such as inside pantries, basements, and bathrooms. Roaches are dangerous as they can contaminate food sources, spreading bacteria and human pathogens by leaving their fecal matter and other debris in and around food and food preparation areas. 

To prevent cockroaches, make sure you keep your kitchen counters clean and free of crumbs. Vacuum frequently and always dispose of the garbage regularly. Look out for any leaks in the kitchen and bathrooms, as this moisture will attract roaches

Brown Recluse Spider 

Measuring the size of a quarter, the brown recluse spider can exist in large numbers. These spiders have six eyes arranged in three pairs, which is quite different from other species of spiders that have eight eyes arranged in two rows. The brown recluse prefers to live in dark areas such as under furniture, in wall voids, basements, crawl spaces, and in closets. While these spiders typically spin their webs in darker places, they can also found in cardboard boxes, along window molding, and even in shoes. The brown recluse can be dangerous to humans, as they will bite and inject venom if disturbed or threatened. 

To prevent these spiders from entering your home, keep the trees and shrubs trimmed away from the house and roof. Repair any loose siding or shingles as they can easily sneak in through any gaps and openings. Consider installing a mesh cover or cap over chimneys to prevent entry. 

Bed Bugs 

Bed bugs are 3/16” to 1/4” in length or about the size of an apple seed or a pencil eraser. They are long and brown, flat in shape with an oval-shaped body, and brown in color. These pests enjoy harboring in cracks and crevices during the day and will come out at night to feed. You will typically find them in beds, mattresses, box springs, rails, headboards, and footboards. Bed bugs will bite humans on areas of skin that are exposed during sleep. Bed bugs are also notorious for hitchhiking from place to place through luggage, following you back home after traveling. 

To prevent bed bugs, routinely check linens, mattresses, and even pet beds for live bugs. Thoroughly inspect any used furniture before bringing it inside your home. If you have recently travelled, inspect your luggage before bringing it inside your home, immediately take your clothes out and wash them in hot water, and dry them on high heat. 

If you suspect that you have any of these pests inside your home, consider reaching out to your local pest control company where they can help identify, inspect, and provide a prevention plan.

Venomous vs Poisonous Spiders – What’s the Difference?

Venomous vs Poisonous Spiders – What’s the Difference?

One of the most common questions that arises when a spider is found in a home is “is that spider poisonous?” That’s a trick question. Most spiders are poisonous, yet only a handful are venomous. Poisonous spiders release their toxins when they are inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the tissue or skin; in other words, they’re only harmful if you eat them. Venomous spiders, on the other hand, inject their toxin with a fang-like apparatus known as a chelicerae. These are the spiders you should be worried about and avoid contact with.

While there are more than 20 species of spiders in Georgia, there are only 2 that are known to be dangerous to humans: the black widow and the brown recluse. Like most common spiders, biting humans is a last line of defense. They are more likely to flee, hide, or even play dead rather than bite a human. It takes a long time for a spider to replenish his supply of venom after he injects it. Most will only use this defense mechanism if they have no other choice. Wasting venom on a human can even cause the spider to starve to death before his supply is replenished as he will have no means to kill any prey he catches.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the venomous spider species in Georgia, as well as some general tips to prevent spiders from getting into your home.

Black Widow

Black Widow
The black widow spider is considered to be the most venomous spider in North America. It is only the female black widow, however, that is dangerous to humans. Black widows are a red and black spider that is usually about 1.5 inches long with a shiny, globular abdomen and a reddish hourglass shape on its underside. While they are mostly black in color, they can sometimes be brown. The venom of a black widow spider is reportedly 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake. While black widow bites can be fatal to the young, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, most victims suffer no serious or long term damage from the bite. Black widows are not aggressive and bites commonly occur as a result of accidental contact. Common symptoms from a black widow bite include redness, swelling and tenderness at the site of the bite, muscle aches, nausea, and sometimes paralysis of the diaphragm which can cause difficulty breathing.

Brown Recluse

Brown Recluse
The brown recluse spider is also known as the violin spider or the fiddleback spider. The brown recluse is a light brown spider with a dark, violin-shaped marking on its back with the neck of the violin pointing toward the rear of the spider. They also have a very distinctive eye pattern with a semi-circular arrangement of 6 eyes (3 sets of 2) while most spider species have 8 eyes. Adult brown recluses are about the size of a quarter. They usually live outdoors under rocks, woodpiles, logs, etc. but are also well adapted to living indoors with humans. Once inside they are commonly found in attics, garages, basements, and are even known to wander into shoes, clothing, and bedding. They hunt at night and retreat to dark, secluded places in the daytime. The brown recluse is typically not aggressive and usually only bite when they are inadvertently trapped against human skin (rolling over on them in the bed or slipping your foot into a shoe they have crawled into for hiding). While bites are rare they can cause serious wounds and infections. The majority of bites remain localized, becoming red, swollen and tender at the site of the bite. If left untreated, a necrotic lesion may develop, usually accompanied by a central blister.

Prevention

Keep your garages, attics, sheds, basements, and other areas that aren’t utilized often clean and clear of clutter. Try to avoid leaving clothing and shoes on the floor and store them in plastic bins if possible. Shake out any clothing that has been left on the floor or in a hamper before wearing or washing.

Seal any cracks and crevices around your home. Spiders can get in through damaged window screens or cracks in your siding. Inspect the outside of your home seasonally and make any repairs necessary.

Inspect any items that are brought from outdoors into your home. This includes any packages delivered to your porch or steps, groceries that may be placed on the driveway or porch as you are unloading, boxes of decorations being brought in from storage, or used appliances that are bought secondhand.

Contact a licensed pest control company if you suspect you have a spider problem. A professional pest control technician can inspect the exterior and interior of your home to help identify any possible entry points, identify the type of spiders and other pests you may be having issues with, and properly, safely, and effectively treat any pest problems they may encounter.

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