Friday, June 1, 2012

Brown Recluse are here, or, This Is Global Warming

Brown Recluse have a dark violin on their head.
 Brown Recluse spider bite can lead to an open sore several inches across that lasts for up to 3 months and resulting in loss of flesh.  Fortunately, the name Recluse gives a clue, they are afraid of people and run like hell, prefer instead to hide in dark rooms, cellars, under things, behind pictures, in cardboard boxes.  The chance of being bitten is small, but the penalty is severe.  Outside they haunt woodpiles and dense bushes, leaf piles, inside sticking your hand in a stored cardboard box, or putting on clothes thrown down overnight is the most common method leading to a bite.  (not a web producing spider)
Normally brown, but it varies, cream to almost black
In my part of Kansas they were rare, they lived further east in the state.  But the last 15 years changing weather patterns favorable to them delivered these devils further into the uber red state.  The whole neighborhood has them now.    Three years ago they showed up in our house.  They come out at night, so after sundown or early in the morning we hunted and killed them as they came out of hiding.  At one point I was killing 5 to 10 every day, this went on for months.  
We finally turned the corner when we had to replace our roof last spring.  We had wooden shake shingles.  The roofers said there was an eco-system on the roof, moss, ants, centipedes, silverfish, a complete food chain for the spiders.  Following the removal of their foods supply we did a severe cleaning, move and vacuum and wash everything, and under and behind every picture, bed, chair, appliance.  Laundry or bag up all kinds of things in the closet, go through drawers.  Then in a month we did it again.   Since then a couple more times.  We feel like we have damn near beat them, still, I find one every week or two.  The bastards are still in the walls and between the floor and the basement ceiling I'm sure, but it's evident there are not many, and perhaps some of what we find now is  the normal infiltration rate of one getting in from the woods now and then.  
This morning in the soft light of dawn, I got up for a pleasant whiz, didn't turn on the light but I thought I saw something move, turned on the light and there was one, a small one, running like hell for the air conditioner vent, the bastards are smart, they know exactly where they need to go, I slapped the floor three times before I had spider gut on my hand, I'm brutal, barefoot, barehand, I kill the devils with zeal.  That was the first one I had seen in well over a week, I think this is as good as it will get.   I have some fly paper I put down in the places I see them most, the way they think and move leads all of them to the same indoor topography for some reason, a half dozen locations are where I have killed damn near all of the ones I find.  I do not want chemicals, so I do not spray inside and rarely outside, besides, spiders walk on a horn or toenail, when they eat or groom they do not normally touch themselves with it.  They can walk over a sprayed area or poison area unharmed most the time.  The best cure, remove their food supply, go after all the other bugs.
Brown Recluse Spiders in your house?  This is your house on Global Warming.


  1. When I was a kid we never had to worry about ticks here UP on the Tundra. They slowly moved in from the West. I guess they are able to ride on air currents for short distances and with the wind primarily from the West, they moved in thru the years. Can't blame Global Warming or Climate Change for the ticks.

    We had a touch of frost this morning, so now we can finish planting the garden. We weren't fooled by all the above normal temps this spring.

    1. Kulkuri:
      I have seen some pictures of cabbage grown in your neck of the woods that were ginormus, maybe 15" diameter after shedding the outer leafs. Can you grow them like that? Man, I love cabbage salad, and slaw, or boiled up with potato's.
      Ticks, we always had ticks but now the lime disease has moved in on them, that leads to extra showers after working in the bushes.

  2. The Brown Recluse spider is one less thing we have to worry about where we live.
    From your description, I think we are most fortunate not to have them.
    Now, Black Widow spiders = that's another story.

    1. Whit I don't like those either. The best thing is to have a few spiders on the outside of your house, they are the first defense against other critters making it into the house. Therefore I rarely spray around the outside, and we don't have many critters out there this year. Every year is different with a different host of pests to annoy us.

    2. Darrel,
      Hoosierland is brown recluse central. The northern line of the spider's range used to be just south of Terre Haute, and just south of INDY and Richmond as you cross Indiana. Well,
      the range in Indiana is now getting closer to Kokomo and Lafayette.
      I recommend a over the counter spray - Othro is good. Spray about a foot up the outside of the house or garage and about a foot out. Don't worry about killing the dog or the cat - over the counter presticides are called "general use" pesticides - You don't have to have a license to use the chemical. What is the toxicity of the stuff - Not much. Toxicity of any presticide is based on how much active ingrediant it takes to kill a field mouse.
      Bowswer and Tabby are bigger than field mice.

      Now, for the recluuse - glue boards work well in a area of heavy spider activity. But, so does the spray - spray that a/c vent!

      formally with Terminix -Commercial

    3. Sarge, you missed my intent, I ain't use'n no stink'n chemicals, and I'm damn near rid of them, I think I'm winning. We'll see, maybe I have to spray someday.

  3. Actually, a few years back when I worked in the emergency room, some poor guy came in with one during the summer. It had only been an hour maybe since he had been bitten and it looked like a large wild animal had been gnawing on his knee. And that is in Michigan. My husband was bitten by something (they think a black widow that got a ride in some fruit) and ended up needing surgery to drain the softball sized mass that formed under his arm. Dangerous. AND THEN, I saw an episode of "Infested" on Animal Planet (or whatever the name of the show is) and the people ended up leaving their farm that had been in the family for over a century.

    Good luck!

    1. Melanie;
      Sorry for the husband, I imagine that would install a lot of caution in a person.

  4. I use the glue boxes (they fold into a triangular box shape) on the floor near front and back doors. Amazing what they get. The boxes are at Orchard Supply, don't have one handy to get you the manufacturer name. They seem to help though.

    1. Skinny;
      This box info is good news, I was not aware of it. I will be looking for that pronto. I don't mind that it has chemicals in it, I just don't want to bomb the house with a spray or fumigation. We had a friend, a farmer, that upset the bag of dust that is used on cattle to repel flies, got covered in it and breathed a shit load of it, in a couple days he was crazy as hell, hearing voices, shot himself dead in his bedroom.

    2. Fringe - The boxes are called "Silverfish and Spider Trap", and are made by SpringStar Inc, Woodinville, WA 98072, (800) 769-1043. It is pesticide free. The box is yellow and red, and normally in the pesticide section at Orchard Supply. If you don't have those, I assume the company can tell you which retailers they deal with in Kansas.

      One FYI - they changed the glue formula last year or so, and when you pull the individual box form out of the main box, you cannot just peel off the sticky stuff backing. You need to put it in your freezer for 3 to 5 minutes, then the backing paper pulls off super easy.

  5. About twenty-something years ago I was married to a woman who raised and trained horses, and we bought a 150 year old farm house across town. Along with all of the problems a money pit like that brings to life, the place was full of brown recluse spiders. I discovered the species one morning after living there for months, stomping away whenever I saw a spider on the floor, when the Tennessean ran an article that featured a front page photo of a brown recluse. I was sitting on the toilet reading the paper (my morning constitutional) when I saw that photo, and at that exact moment saw something move out of the corner of my eye. On the floor next to the throne was a magazine rack, so I picked it up and noticed several large spiders scurrying for cover. My wife (at that time) had one of those Nazi war doctor eyelash tools on the sink's vanity, so I grabbed it and used it to grab one of the bastards. I held it down next to the photo in the paper (which was lying on my naked crotch... I was taking a dump!) and they matched exactly.

    I got the kids and wife into a car, sent them to Ohio to visit her mom, and I bombed the house with every chemical known to cause cancer in spiders. Did it for three straight days. Pulled clothes and blankets out of closets, sprayed EVERY DAMN THING WE OWNED.

    No more bugs.

    A buddy of mine from work is an avid bass fisherman, and he keeps his coveralls in a cedar cabinet on his back porch. One cold winter morning he grabbed a pair out of the closet, pulled them on, took the boat out on the lake. He's one of those guys who won't stop castin' and crankin' long enough to pee, so he whipped it out and was hanging hose while he fished. A brown recluse was in the coveralls, and when he exposed himself from within his jeans it tagged him on the stomach, just below the beltline. His stories of the oozing, seeping mess that one bite caused made me determined to kill every last one of them if I had to burn down the house to get them all.

    Be careful, man, they don't play!


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