Beware of the Recluse Spider Family

As you get off the road on time off and start rummaging around the garage, you need to be particularly careful when opening up the doors and handling stored items. A very potentially dangerous adversary may be at hand...the Brown Recluse Spider (Loxosceles recluse).

It doesn't look like much, but it packs a powerful venomous bite that if left untreated can severely injure you! The venom creates a condition called Necrosis. Necrosis (death of cells) sets in quickly and the result is a very painful and gruesome "flesh-rotting" wound. Many regard this spider as more dangerous that the Black Widow since it looks like a brown house spider. Here are a couple photos courtesy of and Progeny Products.

The recluse spider likes to live in heated undisturbed areas. These spiders are seldom seen during the day. They are nocturnal, bites generally occur at night. The recluse does not spin webs to catch prey; it physically hunts and is usually on the go within a couple of hours after dark seeking its prey--insects and cockroaches.

There are more spiders in the recluse family that are just as deadly as the Brown (Red area) living in other areas of the United States shown in yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and violet. Examples of other family members include:

  • The Apache recluse, Loxosceles apachea: Ranges from southeastern Arizona, through southern New Mexico, to extreme western Texas.

  • The Arizona recluse, Loxosceles arizonica: Found in central and southern Arizona, and southeastern California.

  • The Baja recluse, Loxosceles palma: Found in southern California, and northern Baja, Mexico.

  • The Big Bend recluse, Loxosceles blanda: Western Texas.

  • The Chilean recluse, Loxosceles laeta: Introduced from South America, colonies exist in southern California. A large (25 mm) spider, with a particularly severe bite. 

  • The desert recluse, Loxosceles deserta: A pale colored species which ranges from south-central to southern California, east to south-central Arizona, and north to southern Nevada and the Saint George, Utah area.

  • The Grand Canyon recluse, Loxosceles kaiba: Grand Canyon area, Arizona. 

  • Martha's recluse, Loxosceles martha: Southern California.

  • The Mediterranean recluse, Loxosceles rufescens: An introduced species from the Mediterranean region, which has been found in various cities across the U.S. Its bite is not regarded as being as severe as some of the other spiders of this genus.

  • Russell's recluse, Loxosceles russelli: Found in the Death Valley area of southern California.

  • The Texas recluse, Loxosceles devia: Southern Texas. 

  • The Tucson recluse, Loxosceles sabina: The Tucson area of southern Arizona.
    (Information provided by Darwin K. Vest, Eagle Rock Research)

    The most active reproduction timeframe of these spiders occurs as early as February, but is generally (80%) during the months of May, June and July.

    According to Ohio State University Professor, Susan C. Jones, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Entomology; Extension Specialist, Household & Structural Pests; you may aid in the prevention of spider bites by doing some very simple things like:

  • Shake out clothing and shoes before getting dressed. 

  • Inspect bedding and towels before use.

  • Wear gloves when handling firewood, lumber, and rocks (be sure to inspect the gloves for spiders before putting them on).

  • Remove bed skirts and storage boxes from underneath beds. Move the bed away from the wall. 

  • Exercise care when handling cardboard boxes (recluse spiders often are found in the space under folded cardboard flaps).
    Unfortunately, there is no anti-venom cure for the recluse spider bite. Additionally, without immediate and proper medical attention, the following graphic photos may be the end result of a Brown Recluse Spider bite:

    Take extra care when working in a garage or warehouse where the conditions could be right for the Brown Recluse Spider. If you think you have been bitten, seek medical treatment quickly.