Do Brown Recluse Spiders Make Webs? Unveiling the Truth

Brown recluse spiders, also known as fiddleback or violin spiders, are a species of venomous spiders that are commonly found in the United States.

These spiders are recognized by their dark, violin-shaped marking on their cephalothorax and their unique arrangement of six eyes instead of the usual eight in most spiders.

As with most spiders, brown recluses create webs for different purposes such as resting, hiding, or capturing prey.

Do Brown Recluse Spiders Make Webs?

However, their webs are not the typical orb-shaped structures that many people associate with spiders.

Instead, brown recluse spiders build irregular, rather unorganized webs in undisturbed locations like dark and sheltered areas.

Brown Recluse Spider Basics

Brown recluse spiders, also known as Loxosceles reclusa, are primarily found in the south, west, and midwest areas of the United States.

These states include Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska.

These spiders are commonly called violin spiders due to the distinct violin-shaped marking on their cephalothorax.

They have a unique eye pattern, with six eyes arranged in three pairs. Typically, brown recluse spiders prefer dark, sheltered areas such as:

  • Under rocks
  • In the bark of dead trees
  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Cupboards
  • Drawers
  • Boxes
  • Bedsheets

Brown recluse spiders exhibit several distinguishing features:

  • 6-20 millimeters body length
  • Long legs
  • Triad arrangement of eyes
  • Violin-shaped marking on cephalothorax

These spiders are known for their bite, which can cause local tissue injury known as dermo necrotic arachnidism.

They hunt their prey using the venom in their bite, rather than by jumping on them.

Brown recluse spiders have a slow development process influenced by nutrition and environmental conditions, maturing in about a year and living for an average of 2 to 4 years.

Habitat and Behavior

The brown recluse spider is known for its unique habitat preferences and behaviors.

In this section, we’ll explore where these spiders prefer to live, both indoors and outdoors.

Indoor Habitats

Brown recluse spiders can often be found in various parts of a home. They are typically attracted to:

  • Basements: These spiders love dark, dry, and climate-controlled spaces.
  • Attics: Brown recluse spiders gravitate towards undisturbed areas where they are less likely to encounter humans.
  • Closets: Clothing provides an ideal hiding spot for spiders and their prey, insects.

Common indoor hiding spots include:

  • Shoes
  • Cracks and crevices in furniture
  • Behind wall hangings

Being nocturnal hunters, they spend the day in their hiding areas and come out at night to hunt.

Outdoor Habitats: Do Brown Recluse Spiders Make Webs?

When residing outdoors, brown recluse spiders can be found in:

  • Woodpiles
  • Tree hollows
  • Leaf litter

While these spiders do spin small webs, they are not used for catching prey. Instead, the web serves as a retreat and a place to rest during the day.

Signs and Prevention of Infestation

Brown recluse spiders are known for their elusive nature and preference for dark, secluded spaces. To effectively manage and prevent infestations, implementing an integrated pest management program is crucial.

These spiders tend to inhabit areas such as garages, cellars, storage boxes, tires, logs, and barns. They may also find their way into linens and undisturbed places within your home.

A key sign of a brown recluse infestation is their characteristic cephalothorax pattern. They have a distinct violin shape on this region, along with a unique eye pattern of 6 eyes in pairs.

Another sign to look for is their molted skins, which have an outstretched appearance, helping to confirm their presence.

To prevent infestations, focus on the following measures:

  • Install sticky traps in dark areas, like garages and cellars, to catch wandering spiders
  • Keep woodpiles, leaves, and other debris away from your home’s foundation
  • Seal gaps around doors and windows to limit access
  • Store items in sealed plastic containers to reduce potential hiding spots

Brown recluse spiders mainly construct their webs in hidden, undisturbed areas, as opposed to the large, elaborate webs made by orb weavers.

They lay their eggs in these secluded locations, averaging 1-2 egg masses per year.

Brown Recluse Spider Bites

Symptoms

Brown recluse spider bites can cause a range of symptoms in humans. Some common symptoms include:

  • Pain or redness at the site of the bite
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting

The spider’s venom can also cause a venomous bite, which can result in a scar or more severe reactions.

Treatment

If bitten by a brown recluse spider, it is important to seek medical attention. Treatment options often include:

  • Cleaning the bite area with soap and water
  • Applying a topical antibiotic
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Following doctor’s recommendations

Note: To help prevent brown recluse spider bites, it is essential to follow label directions when using residual pesticides and dust pesticides in the home.

Conclusion

In conclusion, brown recluse spiders, characterized by their violin-shaped markings and unique eye arrangement, are a notable species in the U.S.

While they do spin webs, these are primarily for resting and not for prey capture. Recognizing their habitats and behaviors can aid in preventing unwanted encounters.

Their bites, although rare, can lead to severe symptoms, making awareness and prevention crucial.

By understanding their nature and taking preventive measures, we can coexist safely with these intriguing arachnids.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about brown recluse spiders. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Brown Recluse

Loxosceles reclusa
Location:  Decatur, Alabama
August 6, 2010 8:33 am
Hi Bugman,
I already know what this one is, but I thought you might want another photo of a brown recluse spider. I find them from time to time after they get trapped in my bathroom sink (like this one).
Will Sparks

Brown Recluse

Hi Will,
Thank you for providing our readership with a nice clear image of a Brown Recluse.  The dark violin marking on the cephalothorax is plainly visible in your photograph.

Letter 2 – Brown Recluse

my photogenic friend
Isn’t he cute!
Josh Paxton
Paducah, KY

Hi Josh,
Your cute friend is a Brown Recluse.

Letter 3 – Brown Recluse

Hello Bugman!
Hi, just sending this again, in case it got lost in the metamorphosis shuffle! My big question about this brown recluse is the fact it is two colors, i.e., brown thorax, white abdomen. Any insights as to why that is? Have a great day!
Kate

Originally sent: (02/01/2008) Hello Bugman! I live in Arkansas and I know our house is infested with brown recluses. I have just never seen one with a whitish abdomen before. In all respects it sure looks like a brown recluse to me. Could this be a female about to lay eggs?

The spider is about half an inch. I found it crawling in a box of clothes. If this is a brown recluse, you might want to post the photo so people know the spider’s color can vary like this. I thought they were not active in winter?

This is very scary as I have had two bites, the last one this summer and it was a systemic, severe reaction. Thanks,
Kate

Hi Kate,
Your example of a Brown Recluse, Loxosceles reclusa, is consistant with images posted to BugGuide. This species a uniformly colored abdomen, but sometimes is is light and other times darker. The violin shaped marking on on the cephalothorax is distinctive, giving this spider the other common name of Violin Spider.

Letter 4 – Brown Recluse

spider help
Found this crawling on my arm in Tucson, AZ. Any ideas on what it is?? Thanks!

We have had ever so many letters containing paranoid questions wondering if just about every size and color spider that lives in the U.S. might be a Brown Recluse. You have the real McCoy here, Loxosceles reclusa.

Daniel:
The brown recluse is a male (very gangly compared to females). Keep up the great work!
Eric

Letter 5 – Brown Recluse and Jeff’s Injured Toe

Photo of Brown Recluse
Greetings!!
Attached you will find 2 pictures that my boyfriend, Jeff, took at his parent’s home that is located just west of Ft. Worth in Texas. The first picture is one of the best I have seen of a brown recluse spider!

He found it behind the trashcan in his parent’s guest bathroom – there were a few other spiders with it that were much smaller and they successfully scattered before Jeff could return with a jar to capture them with.

The second photo is a picture of his pinky toe that he slammed into the bathroom door jam in his excitement to find a ‘suitable’ container for his prize…. Poor thing is walking hilariously, all for his precious spider.

Jeff is fascinated with all types of insects, ESPECIALLY spiders! He has re-trained me from killing all spiders, to first observing and identifying before I decide to catch and release all into the yard.

We both have become intrigued with bugs and have become recent fans of your website. Thank you for all of the information and pictures you provide, I hope you can make use of the brown recluse photo – I think it is quite good!
Best,
Darcy

Hi Darcy,
Thank you for sending in the wonderful image of a Brown Recluse or Violin Spider, Loxosceles reclusa. The violin pattern is very obvious in the photo. We hope Jeff’s toe is healing.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

4 thoughts on “Do Brown Recluse Spiders Make Webs? Unveiling the Truth”

  1. Hi! I live in Kansas where there is a ton of brown recluses. I have learned a lot about them and catch them all the time with drinking glasses. They cannot crawl up glass while most spiders can. I use that as my number one way to identify them. Also they only have six eyes. So I catch them, put a board under the glass and then carefully flip it over, if they can’t crawl up the glass, they get flushed down the toliet straight to the sewer followed by another flush for good measure. I make sure to flush before throwing them in there so they dont have a chance to crawl out first before being sucked down the drain which happened one time.

    This picture is a female. I have caught only a few females since they don’t travel far from their nest which is in hidden dark corners while the males travel around at night to find the females to mate.

    Anyways, I could go on and on about them but what is interesting is that I have had a female trapped in a upside down small glass for weeks at a time because I was not brave enough to flip the glass and afraid she would get away since they are very fast in warm climates. I thought I could starve her out but later I read that it can take six months. Anyways, long story too late to be short, her abdomen color would vary at times from this white color to a darker color. I have not found the reason why. If anyone knows, please let me know! It is very interesting.

    Reply
  2. Hi! I live in Kansas where there is a ton of brown recluses. I have learned a lot about them and catch them all the time with drinking glasses. They cannot crawl up glass while most spiders can. I use that as my number one way to identify them. Also they only have six eyes. So I catch them, put a board under the glass and then carefully flip it over, if they can’t crawl up the glass, they get flushed down the toliet straight to the sewer followed by another flush for good measure. I make sure to flush before throwing them in there so they dont have a chance to crawl out first before being sucked down the drain which happened one time.

    This picture is a female. I have caught only a few females since they don’t travel far from their nest which is in hidden dark corners while the males travel around at night to find the females to mate.

    Anyways, I could go on and on about them but what is interesting is that I have had a female trapped in a upside down small glass for weeks at a time because I was not brave enough to flip the glass and afraid she would get away since they are very fast in warm climates. I thought I could starve her out but later I read that it can take six months. Anyways, long story too late to be short, her abdomen color would vary at times from this white color to a darker color. I have not found the reason why. If anyone knows, please let me know! It is very interesting.

    Reply

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