Do you think you could pick out a brown recluse spider in a lineup? You might know that these spiders are sometimes called "fiddlebacks", and that they have a dark shape of a fiddle on their backs. This is certainly good to know, but that fiddle marking isn't easy to see on a spider whose body is barely larger than the image of President Lincoln on a penny. And, of the entire length of a brown recluse spider's body, that fiddle mark is only one third. That's why many spiders are mistaken for brown recluse spiders. Let's start our guide with how you can tell a brown recluse from other spiders.

brown recluse spider up close
brown recluse in basement


  • An adult brown recluse spider is slightly larger than a quarter if you count its outstretched legs.

  • A brown recluse isn't always brown. It can be tan, light brown, brown with a slight tint of yellow, and dark brown. Seeing a brown spider won't help you much with identification. What will help is that a brown recluse spider is uniform in color. If you see a spider with a mottled coloration or a mix of colors, it isn't a brown recluse.

  • The legs of a brown recluse spider are a slightly lighter color than its body.

  • A brown recluse is visibly hairless. If you see a hairy spider, it is more likely to be a wolf spider, garden spider, or hobo spider.

Brown Recluse Bites

This is the big question most people have: "How bad is a brown recluse bite?" There isn't a simple answer for this. It depends on the level of envenomation, how allergic you are, and where you're bitten. Obviously, it is bad to be bitten in a sensitive area, such as the eyelid. But a bite on your skin can result in nothing more than a small red wound with an ulcer at the center. Problems occur when the necrosis in a bite wound spreads. If you believe you've been bitten by a brown recluse spider, it is important to seek medical attention.

How To Prevent Bites

If you suspect that you have brown recluse spiders in your home, there are a few things you can do to prevent a bite. Take these precautions as you seek the assistance of a pest management professional.

  • Pull beds away from the walls.

  • Remove skirts from all beds.

  • Make sure bedding doesn't hang down and touch the floor while you sleep.

  • Wear slippers when you move about your home at night, especially in the dark.

  • Turn your bedding and linen down before sliding into bed at night.

  • Shake clothing, towels, and footwear before use.

  • Be cautious when going into secluded storage areas, your attic, crawlspaces, closets, your cellar, or basement.

  • Be cautious when opening boxes that have come out of storage.

How To Detect Brown Recluse Spiders

If you have these spiders in your home, you're not likely to see one because they are nocturnal by nature. You may, however, see a web created by a brown recluse. These will be low to the floor and often in front of gaps, cracks, or recesses. They may also be inside objects, such as a box, an old tire, a pile of clothing, and the spaces between boxes. If something has small, dark, cave-like spaces, a recluse could be inside.

How To Keep Brown Recluse Spiders Out Of Your Home

Their affinity for holes and dark spaces will lure these spiders into your home if your exterior has openings. You can reduce your chances of an infestation by sealing any gaps or cracks in your foundation walls. A particular point of entry is the gap around pipes. Use a caulking gun to seal gaps like this. You can also use it to fill in holes created by wood-destroying insects and rodents. A brown recluse will take quick advantage of a hole created by these pests.

Brown Recluse Spider Control

Whether you're looking to prevent these spiders from getting into your Mooresville home, or you've found them inside and want to eliminate them, we can help. Our licensed pest professionals help Mooresville residents get control of a long list of pests, including brown recluse spiders. Connect with us today for advice or assistance.


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