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Brown recluse help appreciated!

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 :bighelp
I can put up with spiders (you know, outside!), but brown recluse spiders seriously freak me out. We had an infestation at our other house, and we've lived here for several years with no signs of them...until this a.m. when there was one crawling in the bedroom closet. ACK! I'm thinking if there's one, there's probably more, right? At our other house, even with pro pest control, we couldn't really get a handle on them. I don't want that to happen again.

So does anyone have any tips for dealing with brown recluse spiders? What has/hasn't worked for you? Thanks!
#1 - April 20, 2013, 01:29 PM
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Oooh, boy.  I think I'd call an exterminator if I was worried about it.  I've seen what they can do,  and it isn't pretty!  You're absolutely sure it's a brown recluse and not something like a wolf spider, I take it?
#2 - April 20, 2013, 01:32 PM

I know; they're scary little critters! I wish I was wrong, but the "fiddle" was on its back.   :eek5
#3 - April 20, 2013, 06:07 PM
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Make sure everyone checks their shoes before putting them on, if you saw one there are probably more. 

You do not want to deal with a spider bite from a brown recluse.  If anyone is bit, go to doctor or ER immediately.

Call exterminator.

Better to be on the safe side. 

Normally I do not kill spiders in my house, if I see one lurking around dark corners like a closet, I kill and ask questions later.
#4 - April 20, 2013, 06:33 PM
You must do the things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

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I would set the alarm for late at night, after the lights have been off for a while and go spider hunting. We have them here and, for example, on the balcony I never ever see a spider in the day... at night, it's like a web-based arachnid party out there. Recluse spiders are nocturnal, so you'd get a good idea of what's around that way.

They totally freak me out. I'm not good with spiders anyway, but knowing there are ones that can do me and my family serious damage is terrifying!

But as I read on a funny web page the other day (thanks, Salina!) we just have to be SO grateful that spiders can't fly. Can you imagine? *Shudders uncontrollably, and starts scratching head, feeling itchy all over*
#5 - April 20, 2013, 06:39 PM

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Wow, I completely feel for you- I would be freaking out! I agree w/everyone- call the bug guys! Better safe than sorry. *shivers*
#6 - April 20, 2013, 06:49 PM

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I think they like rotting woodwork. (I got a recluse bite on my back once, and that's what the doctor said.) If you have any windows that need to be replaced, you might consider that. And if I'm wrong, you'd still have new windows.  :yup

As for you, Franzilla--I just read your post, and I'm about to go to bed, and  :eek5 You really should write some horror. Oh, wait--you just did.
#7 - April 20, 2013, 09:06 PM
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Thanks, everyone, for your ideas. And for the condolences!  :)

I've spent waaaay too much time today on the Internet, which makes me feel even more anxious. Still, after putting double-sided tape around every bed in the house, 20 glue traps along the walls, placing screen in floor vents, spraying a mixture of peppermint oil and water along baseboards and behind furniture, and drenching the entire crawl space, foundation, and grass around the house, I feel a tiny bit better. Last night, we had no clue they were even in the house. At least I can go to bed knowing we're putting up a fight! Guess we'll see in the morning the numbers we may be dealing with as evidenced by our "catch" tonight.
And we'll take it from there.

As an aside, I've been itchy all day. Kind of like when someone mentions head lice....
#8 - April 20, 2013, 09:29 PM
« Last Edit: April 20, 2013, 10:04 PM by writermutt »
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This post makes me think of the spider scene in the Harry Potter movie. Yikes. And I was about to go to bed. Guess I'll be up for a while now...lol.
#9 - April 20, 2013, 09:30 PM
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Also since you've seen one in your closet be sure to check and double check every piece of clothing you put on...turn it inside out and inspect before wearing. I've seen spider bites (legs / groins) from brown recluses hiding in pant legs. (This is acute care --in patient -- so the bites were bad enough that the person was admitted to the hospital.)

Be careful!
#10 - April 20, 2013, 10:10 PM
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I hear ya, Bobi! I'm exhausted from all of the extra work today, as well as the stress this has caused. But now that I'm in bed, I'm having a hard time sleeping, even though I took Franzilla's advice and just patrolled the house with a flashlight.  :sigh

Great point, Angela! Thanks! That will go along with checking shoes, as lizstraw had mentioned. I hate thinking this is a new routine for my family. It beats the alternative of a nasty bite, though!

Oh, we also moved all beds away from the walls and tucked in bedding. Trying to take every precaution we can think of here!
#11 - April 20, 2013, 10:18 PM
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I don't know why I clicked on this thread right before going to bed...  :eek5
#12 - April 21, 2013, 12:48 AM
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I'm going to be checking this until we find out what all those preparations turned up. I feel so bad for you, but alas, I have no advice. I still screech when I see something scuttle past me in the basement when I'm doing the laundry. My kids think it's a hoot.
#13 - April 21, 2013, 04:33 AM

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I lived in Tennessee where the Brown Recluse is a frequent visitor in houses.  Mostly they like the dark corner of closets, ones that are not used that often.  The dermatologist office that I went on had a rotating 'spider bite' doctor on call.  Not long after we moved into our house we had to bomb it several times for fleas.  The previous owner left a piece of carpeting in a small area where those sucker multiplied and multiplied and multiplies.  We brought in three cats.  I think it took us almost two years to get rid of the fleas, but along with the fleas we got rid of most of the other noxious bugs, including [word censored] roaches and the brown recluses.  Although I never trusted any pair of shoes that sat in my closet very long.  I saw some nasty brown recluse bites. 

They are probably worse in sheds and garages.  Any dark corner.  That's why they party at night.   :voodoo
#14 - April 21, 2013, 11:33 AM
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I think they like rotting woodwork. (I got a recluse bite on my back once, and that's what the doctor said.) If you have any windows that need to be replaced, you might consider that. And if I'm wrong, you'd still have new windows.  :yup

As for you, Franzilla--I just read your post, and I'm about to go to bed, and  :eek5 You really should write some horror. Oh, wait--you just did.

So, um, your doctor thinks your back is like rotting woodwork?!  :giggle (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

In Thailand, they used to put the legs of cabinets in bowls of water to stop ants getting in and eating the food. I don't suppose you've got legs on your beds?!

We had one in the bathroom the other day. In a towel. The towel I was pulling off the hook to wrap around my one-year-old daughter. Luckily those recluses would really rather just be left alone so it dangled on a strand of web above her head looking desperately for a way out and I managed to move it across to the sink before it made an escape. Then I ran the hot tap for about 20 minutes. My husband swears that spiders play dead and crawl back up the plughole. After all that hot water NOTHING was coming back up that plughole, but I put the plug in too, just in case!!!

Also, if it makes you feel any better, I can't imagine that many recluses love to live in closets if the closets can be closed properly. After all, they need to eat and so if the doors shut well it'd make it harder for them to get out at night? So it was probably a freaky one-off.

Something I remember my mother in law recommending was citrus fruit. I'm not sure what you're supposed to do with it but I'm sure there's something on it online somewhere. For peace of mind, I'm going to have to go to sleep with some oranges tonight...
#15 - April 21, 2013, 06:19 PM

I was SO happy to have checked the traps this a.m. and found that every single one was empty! There weren't any brown recluses stuck to the tape surrounding our beds either. What a relief! That said, we are still continuing with all precautions we feel are necessary to protect ourselves. In fact, today we ordered some Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE). Anybody ever tried it? From all I've read, once consumed, it's like glass to pests. It basically cuts them from the inside, causing irreparable damage and death. It can be used on all kinds of creepy crawlies, including the brown recluse. Oddly enough, Food Grade DE is safe to use on pets (internally for parasites and externally for fleas and ticks) and on livestock. And apparently lots of people consume it and swear it's beneficial for a broad range of ailments, from brittle fingernails to high blood pressure. Not sure that I'll be eating the stuff, but interesting nonetheless.

Lizstraw, you've certainly had to deal with a variety of pests! I've read that BR are a problem in TN. It's no fun having to check clothes/shoes b/c of the uncertainty of what may be lurking within. But as you'd said, the bites are nasty. I hope BR are no longer an issue for you!

Franzilla! I'm already freaking out, so I can't imagine finding a BR in my daughter's towel. Yikes!!! And as for jars, yesterday I read about putting the legs of beds in jars as a sort of trap, which is similar to what you'd said about cabinets. As far as the citrus, I'd read you can put peels around the house to repel them. You can also make a spray with essential oil, which we're going to try. Last night, we used peppermint oil. We have lemon to try next. I also plan to try using eucalyptus leaves, which is supposed to be really effective. Whatever it takes to be safe and to just feel "okay" again in my own home! Even if it means our bedrooms smell like giant candy canes right now.  :grin
#16 - April 21, 2013, 09:33 PM
« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 08:07 AM by writermutt »
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Wondering now if cabinets in Thailand have metal legs so they don't rot while sitting in bowls of water. But it was the citrus fruit thing that got me looking on the 'net for information.
I didn't find that, but did come across this site: http://insects.about.com/od/spiders/tp/brown-recluse-lies.htm    which may help some of you feel safer.
#17 - April 21, 2013, 09:50 PM
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Thanks for sharing that link, Bobi! If those facts are true, that is definitely encouraging. Maybe I can do less of this today:  :eyeballs: LOL!
#18 - April 22, 2013, 07:24 AM
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Wondering now if cabinets in Thailand have metal legs so they don't rot while sitting in bowls of water. But it was the citrus fruit thing that got me looking on the 'net for information.
I didn't find that, but did come across this site: http://insects.about.com/od/spiders/tp/brown-recluse-lies.htm    which may help some of you feel safer.

Best. Read. Ever.

You can't imagine how good reading this made me feel! I wish it had also said, "Babies don't die either." or similar... although if there haven't been any deaths in N. Am, then that includes babies/kids, right?

As for the cabinets, yes they were metal. I also looked into buying a wrought iron bed at one point after I got bitten by bed bugs in a hotel. I was so paranoid we'd brought one or more back with us, that I investigated all possible methods of protection! I also read they don't like hair and was planning on living permanently on a sheepskin rug as a result.

Paranoid, moi?! Er, yes, sometimes.
#19 - April 22, 2013, 11:41 AM

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No longer live in TN, but in Southern IN, where the BR is known to be, but not as much as TN.  I call where I live now above the bug line because we do get a bit more freezing weather. 

If you ever look at antique sugar chest, pie safes, etc. and notice stained feet it is because they sat them in some sort of mixture of kerosene and water or oil and water so that bugs would not crawl up to the sugar of food.  I am sure in areas where they have to do this constantly, they would make them out of something other than wood.  Just thought I would toss a little historical knowledge into this discussion.   :lol4
#20 - April 22, 2013, 05:01 PM
You must do the things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

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"Above the Bug Line"--great title for you there, Lizstraw! We have a pie safe (minus any stains), so I found your factoid interesting!
#21 - April 22, 2013, 06:31 PM
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I agree on the great title! Writermutt, maybe you and lizstraw could collaborate on a
horror story about brown recluses... :shock
#22 - April 23, 2013, 08:53 AM

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I third LizStraw's "Above the Bug Line" article. I lived in Cincinnati for a while and had more than my fill of industrial-strength cockroaches. OK, it might have been that I was living and working in old buildings connected to older sewers, but still, I haven't yet seen anything like that now that I'm living a few parallels north. Every time my husband mentions longingly the warmer climates to the south, I remind him that warmer winters = bigger bugs. :cricket and this still doesn't look like a cricket to me! *shudders*
#23 - April 23, 2013, 10:51 AM

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Just like I never believe it when people tell me the cockroaches in Florida and Georgia are Palmetto bugs.  Look it up in the dictionary.  Palmetto bugs = cockroach.

I never want to live where those suckers are again.

AnneB, unfortunately cockroaches do live in building in the north, especially older building with trash chutes or old water lines/sewer lines going up and down a single system.  They love damp cool places.  One room I lived in at a Dorm in IU was near a Trash chute and we had to have it sprayed frequently along with the trash chute for those nasty buggers. 

Moved out of that room as soon as possible.  No problem anywhere else in the dorm, just the rooms closest to the trash chute. 

Anyone is welcome to Above the Bug Line, I do not write stories about bugs/horror of bugs.  (it is also a my friend and I  also use this in reference to the Mason-Dixon line as it sort of divides the freezing line of the northern temperatures from the south.)   
#24 - April 23, 2013, 01:35 PM
You must do the things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

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Writermutt, where do you live?  The images of spider bites are very frightening, and recluse bites *can* be nasty, but most of those horrible pics you see attributed to Brown Recluse bites are simply...not. Here is an interesting article about a house infested with Brown Recluse spiders:

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=97804&page=1#.UXciNL8XhD8

Diatomaceous Earth is excellent for all insect and arachnid issues; they don't ingest it-- it damages their exoskeletons and their hydraulics dry out. The bar-none, hands-down best weapon against creepy crawlies including fleas and spiders is the vacuum cleaner. Seriously. Keep the closet floors free of clutter and vacuum all floors and corners regularly.

eab (who fancies creepies and crawlies)
#25 - April 23, 2013, 05:29 PM

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Keep the closet floors free of clutter and vacuum all floors and corners regularly.


This is the part that always worries me because although my floors are clear, aren't bookshelves the ideal hiding place for spiders that don't weave webs?

And why does reading the posts in this thread always give me SUCH an itchy feeling all over? scritch scratch
#26 - April 23, 2013, 06:37 PM

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Wow, I am both repulsed and fascinated by this thread! Eab, great link....


:spider
#27 - April 24, 2013, 06:48 AM

2,055 in 6 months??? That is a lot of spiders! Thanks for sharing that very reassuring link, eab. Now if I can remember not to roll over in my sleep.  :)

And just to update, at this point, all 20 of our glue traps and the tape around our beds is clean. Yay! Now that I think about it, we'd bought three artificial palm trees with moss stuffed into the pots and bought 4 barstools in boxes. Maybe (hopefully!) the one we killed hitchhiked in that way?
#28 - April 24, 2013, 09:30 AM
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I have no advice or help ... but want to say BEST OFF TOPIC THREAD EVER.
Vijaya
#29 - April 24, 2013, 10:27 AM
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