Recluse Spiders : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Our barn is literally crawling with the dreaded brown recluse spider or violin spider. We believe they came in on some hay we bought recently. They are everywhere and I wear gloves to pitch hay and scoop feed. I found a spider in my hair yesterday after milking the cow in the barn. I'm really afraid of these things. Does anyone have any advice about how to get rid of them? I am sure it is just a matter of time before they migrate to the house. Yikes!!!

Stephanie Masters

-- Stephanie Masters (, August 20, 2001


Stephanie, I did a search just out of curiosity and came up with this page It's a commercial outfit, but does talk about control. Apparently spiders in general are hard to control. You can poison them, but pretty much have to hit them with the spray to do it, so residual sprays don't work so well. Kill them when you see them and clean out the areas they like, is mainly it. Hope you get them out of there!

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, August 20, 2001.

Oh Stephanie!! Your post gave me the creepy crawlies. I am sorry to say that I may not know too many ways to help you. They can go long amounts of time without water or food...thus taking away their food supply will be hard and not too effective. I read a couple articles on different sprays...some for inside your home and some for outside. I just typed in recluse spider and found more info than I wanted to know!! It did not sound like there was a quick fix, especially not without using chemicals. You did not mention what state you are makes a difference in what recluse you may be dealing with and how severe the bite could be. I lived on the Cedar River for a few years...loved it. BUT there were spiders the size of your hand (no lie) that I could see WITHOUT my glasses! They said we had built over a nest and had riled them up. I DO feel for you and what you are going through. Please be careful and get a bite (God forbid it happen) treated as soon as you can. Will be hoping for the best for you Steph and please let us know how this comes back. P.S. Have you taken a specimen to a pest control place yet? I would CAREFULLY get one in a jar and take it in to one of them. They could tell you what it is and what will kill it!

-- Sher in southeast Iowa (, August 20, 2001.

Spiders have an exoskeleton... what about DE?

-- Paul Wheaton (, August 20, 2001.

I dislike using chemicals, but, brown recluse spiders over-ride the need to be totally organic, so.... diazinon is very effective at killing and residual control of all spiders. You can get it in ready to use spray, concentrates, and even in granuals to sprinkle around your house and bulk bags of it to apply to your entire yard, like fertilizer. Talk to a professional "bug" man/woman for details at applying it, or read all the fine print on the diazinon containers, and start using the stuff everywhere, from all over the barn, and hay, to your yard and house.

Be sure to wear protective gear, and wash everything that touches the diazinon thoroughly, after it dries, it is less toxic to humans and pets that come in contact with it.

Good luck, and be careful, you have my deepest sympathies in dealing with these little buggers!

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, August 20, 2001.

These spiders are extremely dangerous. A bite can cause deep tissue damage which cannot be repaired by natural body healing. I would throw out that hay and burn it, hopefully killing any egg sacks or new hatches, then spray your barn and everything with a chemical which will kill spiders. A dog or animal bitten by this spider can die or also get severe tissue damage where bitten. These spiders are called "recluse" because they hide in dark places like cupboards and closets and have been known to crawl into shoes in closets where an unsuspecting person will get bitten while putting their shoes on.

This spider is not to be taken lightly. Please, get your animals away from the barn and do everything you can to kill these menaces. Good luck.

-- Mary in East TN (, August 20, 2001.

Stephanie, if you get bit by one, get to the doctor and get on antibiotics within 48 hours. I was bit by one years ago, felt like a bee sting, it was crawling on my kitchen floor and I had no shoes on. Went to the doctor and got put on antibiotics. (Trapped the spider and took it with me, so it could be identified). The doctor said the first 48 hours are the most crucial. The bite doesn't look harmful at first, but it's what it will do in the long run that is most dangerous. When I worked in a bank in Tennessee, a young man came into the bank with his arm in a sling. He had been camping and got into his sleeping bag. Trouble is, he had company in the bag and got bit. He didn't think of it as a big deal, until a few days later. The skin started to rot on his hand and he almost lost the hand. I sincerely wish I could tell you what to do to get rid of them, because of all things outside, I worried most about getting bit by the Recluse. At least a copperhead was big enough to spot! One more the others have said, trap one under a jar and take it to the extension office and have it identified to make sure it is a Recluse. They usually do what their name implies, they're reclusive. You usually find them hidden and in the dark. (unless they're walking across your kitchen floor!). They're also not a very big spider. Also one more thing I thought of, and I am not trying to scare anyone, but passing along what was told to me. When I went to the Doctors office, the nurse who was taking my blood pressure asked me what I was there for. I told her and she said she had been cleaning out her attic and found a Recluse crawling on her arm. She brushed it off, didn't feel a bite and thought nothing of it. A few days later she noticed a place on her arm that kept getting worse. She went on antibiotics, but had a time getting rid of the "sore". Just wanting you and your family to be real careful and pay attention. Also you might want to cover any exposed skin when in the barn.

-- Annie (, August 20, 2001.

I concur with those above. Nasty little creatures. I have a scar for life on my leg from a bite. Thought it was a bee until it got all black and ugly. Still have a little hole in my ankle. I would most likely get some professional help if you are truly infested.

-- diane (, August 20, 2001.

Terrible situation. I agree that you might need to call a professional. In the mean time, mice glue traps are great for catching all manner of creepy crawly things.

-- Kathy (, August 20, 2001.

Stephanie, We had to fumigate a house we lived in one time, because of the brown recluse spiders. There were literally millions of them came out of the walls in the old house we lived in. We went in to check out the situation and got a pencil and touched some of the spiders that weren't completely dead yet. These spiders actually secrete a yellowish liquid from their bodies, by only touching them. I'm assuming it is the same venon(?)that you get when they bite you. You don't have to be bitten to get a bad sore from them. Please be careful!! Eva

-- Eva (, August 20, 2001.

Eva, that really creeped me out about millions of spiders coming out of your old house, ick!!! Critters usually don't freak me out, but picturing THAT sure did!

Makes our bi-annual invasion of millions of lady bugs very benign in comparison, but maybe our lady bugs keep away the spiders?

Our old farmhouse is 126 years old, hope I never have Eva's spider problem, or Stephanie's! Are these spiders more common in the warmer areas, or are they endemic everywhere in the country?

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, August 20, 2001.

I got a bite about ten years ago. Didn't even notice it for a couple of days. Unfortunately I was traveling when I realized something wasn't right. I suffered through a very painful 3 days driving home. I was left with a 2 1/2" deep hole in my leg which took 5 months to heal completely. A biologist from the local college came and looked over my house, took photos of my leg. If I remember correctly, he stated that the brown recluse makes a web which isn't very attractive....not concentric...kinda haphazard in appearance. Also, if memory serves me well, he said that a few praying mantis could wipe out an infestation in a short time.

-- Whiskers (, August 20, 2001.

My husband was bitten by one of these spiders and unfortunately he didn't realize it until his whole ankle turned black. The wound has healed but he has deep tissue damage, the same as you would see from a severe burn. The brown recluse is a spider that likes private dark places and the one that bit Mike was under our deck and crawled out after dark when we were sitting out there playing music. I would go the chemical route to rid your barn of them. We only store fire wood under the deck and we use sevin dust under there. If you even suspect you've been bitten, it will feel like a sting, go to the doctor and tell them "Brown Recluse". Our doctor had never seen a bite by one but a friend who was in the military recognized the damage immediately. We also have Black Widows around here but they just make you sick if you get bitten. Mike says he would rather be bit by 10 black widows to one brown recluse.

-- Patricia Ramsey (, August 20, 2001.

At the hospital were my mom used to work a guy died from the bite of a recluse.I would spread de over every thing in the barn and leave it for a couple of weeks.

-- kathy h (, August 20, 2001.

I am having a problem with yellowjackets in my attic and called the company that sells the diamatcious earth I use (Concern) to see if it would work on my bees. She said that the reason it works so well on ants is because they have a waxy exoskeleton and it wouldn't work on bees. I believe spiders are the same as bee and so DE would not work on them either.

-- Dee in NJ (, August 20, 2001.

I don't know how to get rid of them either. Can't say I've even seen one, however I did get bit. Didn't feel a thing. I have some small scars on my arm from it, but I got a big crater on my leg over an inch wide and still pretty deep. The wounds started turning black with a little hole in the middle. Doctor knew what it was, 1 week or so after I got bit. Never even heard of one before then.

-- Uriah (, August 21, 2001.

My friend got bit by a brown recluse but had an old family remedy for that, she put "Pride" (a topical ointment) on the bit along with bacon fat. This draws out the poison and then she went to the doctor. The doctor told her she did the right thing because that ointment drew out the poison before it spread into her system to fast and she went on an antiboitic.

-- Patty (, September 29, 2001.

Here's an idea for a deterrent, from THE FRIENDLY TRAPPER, by Harold Bailey:

The Hedgeapple tree, plentiful in the Ohio area, is also called a "monkey ball", but the correct name is Osage Orange. The tree is very green and can grow as high as 50 feet with the diameter of a bushel basket. A squirrel would not attempt to run up its trunk, as it is extremely thorny.

In the Fall, after the first severe frost, the fruit will drop to the ground. They will be about the diameter of a grapefruit. Be sure to select the fruits that have fallen by mother nature after the frost, as opposed to fruits that fall as a result of harsh winds, which will force them down. If they drop prematurely, they will be soft, and will not hold up. If you select the Fall fruits, they will keep all through the winter and last until the last week of May. They will turn yellow and black, and even into a brown color. Collect bushels of them if you can, and share them with your friends and neighbors. People in the South are especially fond of them.

To rid your house of spiders and roaches, place four of five of these fruits in your cellar, one underneath your kitchen sink, and perhaps one under the bathroom sink. The fruit throws off an odor repugnant to the insects, not killing them, but rather forcing them outside.

Florists also use them in floral arrangements and they make great Christmas gifts.

If you are lucky enough to find an Osage Orange tree, you have a gold mine.

-- Earthmama (, September 29, 2001.

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