Brown Recluse Spiders (Loxosceles recluse)
Brown recluse spiders have a characteristic dark brown violin marking on their back.
Color: Light to dark brown, with characteristic dark brown violin marking on back
Brown recluse spiders are nocturnal and eat other bugs like cockroaches and crickets. Male brown recluse spiders wander farther than females and will crawl into shoes or other clothing.
Brown recluse spiders often live outdoors in debris and wood piles. They can be found indoors in storage areas and dark recesses.
Like the black widow spider, the brown recluse spider bites in defense and does not bite humans instinctively. They will bite humans when the clothing they are hiding in is worn. The brown recluse spider bite is painful and can produce an open, ulcerating sore.
To avoid brown recluse spiders, avoid keeping clothing on the floor. Store clothing and shoes inside plastic containers, and shake out all clothing that has been in a hamper before wearing or washing.
Black Widow Spiders (Lactrodectus mactans)
Black widow spiders are most recognized for the red hourglass shape under their abdomen. Contrary to legend, female black widow spiders rarely devour the male black widow spider after mating.
Color: Black, with characteristic red “hourglass” on back
Size: ¾” length; 3/8” in diameter
Black widow spiders spin their webs near ground level. They often build their webs in protected areas, such as in boxes and firewood.
Black widow spiders are often found around wood piles and gain entry into a structure when firewood is carried into a building. They are also found under eaves, in boxes, and other areas where they are undisturbed.
The venom of a black widow spider is a neurotoxin and is used as a defense. Black widow spiders do not bite humans instinctively. The black widow spider bite can cause severe pain. Young children and the elderly are especially susceptible to a severe reaction to a black widow bite.
Avoid black widow spider bites by wearing heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time. Spiders often hide in shoes, so check shoes and shake them out before wearing. When spider webs are visible, use caution before putting your hands or feet in that area.