It’s soon to be brown recluse spider season. That’s the spider with the violin markings on its back – sometimes called the fiddleback spider, brown fiddler, or violin spider. Brown recluse spiders are rather shy and nonaggressive, but they have a powerful poison. Occasional bites happens because people and brown recluses often share the same living space. These spiders like dark corners and places inside the house, and also live under the furniture, boxes and books. From a research team at Kansas State University’s Department of Entomology, here are 10 things to know about these venomous spiders that like to live where we do:
1. Brown recluse spiders are found outdoors in the U.S. Midwest, as well as inside structures. They tend to thrive in the same environments that humans do.
2. Brown recluse spiders are venomous, but bites do not always result in large, necrotic lesions where surrounding tissue dies. Often, the bite goes unnoticed and only results in a pimple-like swelling. However, some people develop a necrotic wound (with blood and pus) which is slow to heal, with the potential for a secondary infection. If you know you’ve been bitten, catch the spider if safely possible, and show it to medical personnel for clear identification.
3. They readily feed on prey that is dead, so are attracted to recently killed insects. However, they can and will also attack live prey.
4. Brown recluses build small, irregular webs in out-of-the-way places but do not use these to capture prey. They tend to hide in the dark and move around at night searching for prey.
5. A brown recluse is tiny when it first emerges from the egg case and takes several molts to reach adulthood, 6-12 months. Remember, they are only active from March to October so this may take one to two years. Then they may live 2-3 years as adults. Females can produce 2-5 egg cases during this time (two or three is most common) and each may contain 20-50 spiderlings.
You can read the other half of this great article on EarthSky here: http://bit.ly/2k7LXLm