brown recluse spider on black background prevention and identification St. Charles pest control

Brown Recluse Spider Identification & Prevention

Few things cause as much fear and anxiety in people as the thought of poisonous spiders. Missouri is home to many species of spiders; however, only two are poisonous – the black widow and the brown recluse.



The brown recluse is a shy spider that does not attack people and usually only bites in response to being injured. This is quite the opposite of what most people think. Most reported bites occur when putting on clothing in which the spider is hiding or rolling on a spider in bed. Most people living in proximity to the spider will never see it, nor be bitten by it.

The brown recluse is a medium-sized spider. The legs span an area roughly the size of a quarter to a half-dollar. The color of the brown recluse ranges from a light yellowish brown to a dark reddish or chocolate brown, but most are light to medium brown. The second pair of legs is always longer than the remaining pair in both the male and female. The most distinguishing characteristic is the violin-shaped marking on the top of the body directly above the legs. The violin-shaped marking is usually much darker than the surrounding areas and may appear lined. Since some other species of spider have a violin-shaped marking, the best identification feature for the brown recluse is a semicircular arrangement of three pairs of eyes.



Brown recluse spiders prefer sheltered areas with low moisture levels and generally live in walls and attics. They do tend to enter living areas during periods of extreme temperatures – heat in August or cold in January – and may be seen in dark areas such as closets and cabinets.

Since most brown recluse spiders hibernate in the winter (except for those that live indoors), most bites occur between March and October when humans accidentally disturb their habitat.


Here are some useful tips for keeping spiders at bay:

  • Store clothing in sealed plastic bags or storage boxes.
  • Store shoes in plastic shoeboxes.
  • Shake clothing and shoes before wearing.
  • Move beds away from walls or curtains.
  • Remove bed skirts from box springs.
  • Do not use bedspreads that touch or come close to the floor.
  • Inspect bedding before climbing into bed.
  • Seal all cracks and crevices where spiders may enter the home.
  • Move firewood away from the home, elevate it off the ground and cover it with plastic.


We can help

No matter how intimidating or pervasive your pest infestation, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Give us a call today if you need helping getting rid of brown recluse spiders.

Learn facts and fiction about the brown recluse spider.