Mexican standoff with brown recluse spider

ohforpetesakeMay 30, 2002

Eww. I just had the most hideous battle with a spider the size of a freaking fist. I was warned of the intruder by our builder, who noticed it in our master bedroom closet and promptly fled. When he told me how huge it was, I thought he was exaggerating. Unfortunately, I was disappointed bigtime. I was armed with a bottle of Sevin indoor bug killer which claimed to do the trick on contact. Not so, say I. This thing advanced toward me undaunted. I swore I saw little silver spurs on its legs! After battling it with spray after spray I went and found a heavy peice of board in the garage and dropped it on the thing to squash it. Question 1: My carpet in the closet is pretty wet with bug killer. The label says safe for floor coverings, base boards ect. Safe for spiders too apparently. Will it harm the carpet if I used too much? Question 2: What killer actually works on these things? If this was just a taste of what I am in store for I want to have a counterattack planned. Preferrably preventative. I hate spiders! Thanks for listening and for any suggestions.

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I did not know that brown recluses were that hugh!! I had a run in with an enormous spider in our front yard and do not know what kind it was...we have a hugh pine island and my 5 yr rode his power wheels in there and I assume he disturbed this monster ! took almost a can of spray to kill him!!!!!

My question, how do you know it was a brown recluse???

I didn't want to smush this one because of the size...spiders are not my favorite thing...usually make my husband kill them but he was not around at the time.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2002 at 9:59PM
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It sounds a bit big to be a recluse ... have a look at the link below to be sure if your spider ID is right.

"Don't go to a doctor whose office plants have died." - Erma Bombeck

Here is a link that might be useful: Brown Recluse

    Bookmark   May 30, 2002 at 10:04PM
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As has been said, much too large to be a recluse.

Also what city, state do you live? That would help define whether a recluse is even possible in your area.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2002 at 2:08AM
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Ok, our house is in Ravenna Ohio. I looked at the link Fireaven9 provided, and the spider I saw was same color but it's front two legs were poking more straight out ahead than the side legs. Also if a recluse does not get this big, it probably isn't. Or wasn't, I should say. I tell you this thing was scary, although not fast. My builder said he thought it was a recluse and I think he was probably mistaken, thank god! Ok now back to my original question on whether I damaged my carpet trying to drown this thing, and how kill them and keep them out of the house. The builder said he saw a second one in the basement sitting on the wall, and it was "a little smaller". I sprayed down there and didn't see it. I hate spiders, and of course with my luck we HAD to build our house where not only are there spiders, but ones that could take our family cat hostage. Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2002 at 9:06AM
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They don't call those things recluses for nothing. A recluse isn't going to face you off right there in the floor or wait while you get something heavy to drop on it. You find those guys hiding under the back of a cardboard box that is sitting undisturbed in the garage for a long time. For your big bold spiders, the family cat should help with the problem. Mine liked to eat spiders. Sevin spray is probably not too good for you, but it's not going to harm the carpet. I don't know what you could spray, but those sticky traps for mice will catch spiders. If you eliminate whatever bug the spiders are living on, you will not have the spiders.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2002 at 4:59PM
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A regular perimeter treatment around your foundation with an insecticide will tend to keep invasive insects at bay. Seal all cracks, holes, and crevices in your foundation to keep out insect and rodent pests. Seal all entries around wires and pipes into your home. A monthly treatment by an exterminator is a small price to pay for peace of mind. They will do an interior and exterior perimeter treatment for a minimal fee. Brown recluse spiders should be taken seriously. Insecticide on carpet will tend to do no harm. You can clean the carpet to remove insecticide residues.

Here is a link that might be useful: Spider control

    Bookmark   June 2, 2002 at 1:34AM
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Wow, pretty impressive information! Thanks so much, it tells you exactly how to get rid of pests. I didn't realize they could be dangerous even if not a recluse. I just didn't like the looks of them. I appreciate the help.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2002 at 9:26AM
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As big as your fist and hairy sounds more like someone's pet tarantula got out. LOL.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2002 at 3:42PM
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I don't think you need to have monthly treatments, when I had my house treated, the guy came out and put some sort of boric acid powder all around the inside of the basment blocks (at the top) and in the attic, I have not had any problems with anything since. I had it done to get rid of the carpenter ants left over after the roof was replaced (Had some rotted boards) The side effect has been no bugs at all. I had terminix do it, and they kept trying to get me to sign a contract to have them out once a month. I live in south east MI. A brown recluse is a small spider, you will need medical attention if one bites you. We have them around here under wood piles and things like that. I would reccomend the boric acid dust, does not bother anything and it does not go away, so 3 years later it still keeps the pests out!


    Bookmark   June 5, 2002 at 10:36AM
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The boric acid has worked for three years? Have you had to maintain it and what's the ballpark figure for getting it done professionally? Sounds too good to be true but if it is sign me up- we are deep in the woods so I am sure there are plenty of multi-legged things house shopping even as we speak and nests that we disturbed while building. I saw two smaller versions of the matriarch that I had an altercation with and I want them out- man, I mean it!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2002 at 4:44PM
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A good dusting of Diazanon around the outside of your house will keep everything out and I live in South TX where the brown recluse is very popular and I have never had any problems I am always dig thru closet because that is where I keep my fabrics. I depise scorpions and I dont even see them any more I have to do this once a year usually in the summer when it doesnt rain as much And oh it kills the fleas in the yard too.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2002 at 12:55AM
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When the guy came out, he had a little metal can with a spout that he squeezes on, the power comes out the spout. He "dusted" the top of each of the blocks along the top wall all the way around my basement where the floor joists meet the blocks, then he dusted the attic where the roof and attic floor come together. I know the stuff is still working, because my garage and shed have a ton of spiders but I don't have any in the house, no more picking the webs off the basement celing. I think the boric acid dust is great.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2002 at 8:39AM
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I have seen several reports of brown recluse spiders where I live north of Boston. Either they are more cold-tolerant than believed, or global warming is giving them a free ride. Several people who leave their work shoes in garage or basement have been bitten that way.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2002 at 10:12PM
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I had an almost identical experience, except that after the spider continued to advance on me after drenching him with spray, I whacked him with my guitar (the first thing at hand). It was the end of him, and the end of a promising music career.
The spider, by the way, lived in Hawaii. It was a wolf spider--the bane of my existence there. They DO get to be the size of a fist. It seems unlikely, but they do sometimes hitch a ride to the mainland in packages. My mother in Va opened a present from Hawaii once (I think it was a fresh lei), and out popped a wolf spider. I would have fallen down dead if it happened to me.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2002 at 10:26PM
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YOu know what....I used produce boxes for bananas, mangoes, pineapples and so forth to pack our belongings when we moved in. Could it be that I brought one home in a box from the grocery store? This was not your average everyday spider and I hope to never see anything like it again. The spray didn't even phase it at all. I could almost hear it say (with a Spanish accent, no less,) "Ptooey, I spit on your bug spray!" I don't think my nerves could stand one more confrontation like that. Nothing like a spider to inspire completely ridiculous and childish behavior out of a full grown woman. All hail Boric Acid, is all I can say. We did it, and have been bug free since!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2002 at 12:26PM
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How safe is this Boric acid stuff as far as children go? I hate spiders and reading these posts just freaks me out. I would love to be able to apply this stuff to our crawl space as long as it is safe. We had a service at our previous house but I was a little fearful of having them spray inside the house. I'm debating wether to get a service for the new house. I'm sure after I see my first whopper of a spider I will be on the phone to the bug guy. If this Boric acid can just be put in the crawl space and take care of the bugs without treatment in the house I probably would give it a shot.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2002 at 8:36PM
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I kept my kids away from the area immediately surrounding the house foundation and out of the basement for the first day or so. The target area, as stated by somebody above, was mainly the top blocks around the inside where basement meets house. It's where creepy crawlies tend to get in and out, and isn't in the immediate traffic zone of kids. I didn't treat the rest of the inside of my house because of concerns like yours. I had to kill a few bugs that got smoked out, but treating the source of entry and exit seems to be the ticket. If I start seeing anything with 8 legs, we'll do it again. So far so good though.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2002 at 10:27AM
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It was probably a wolf spider. We get them in NC--they are natives here (NOT just in Hawaii!) I trap them under a water glas and then slide one of those annnoying inserts that clutters up my magazines under the glass (and spider). Then I take the whole thing outside and release "Wolfie". I'm no huge fan of spiders--but I'd rather "catch and release" than squish--the squishing can make an enormous mess. (And a gross sound. UGH.) Always reminds me of "Annie Hall"--"There's a spider in here the size of a Buick!"


    Bookmark   September 9, 2002 at 3:13PM
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Holy cow! They grow them big there, eh?
How about what I do. Suck them up into the vacuum cleaner.
Pull out the bag and into the garbage bag....that's it.
Usually, you have a pretty long hose or attachment which allows you to stay away. If you have good suction...well, bye, bye spider.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2002 at 10:01PM
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I'm always paranoid that the spider has managed to hang on to the inside of the hose and will creep out. Ridiculous, i know. I prefer the glass and insert method--then I KNOW the critter is outside! Melanie

    Bookmark   September 16, 2002 at 8:59PM
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I prefer knowing the thing is dead. At the size where they start really creeping me out, (like our friend in question, may he rest in peace)- I figure they've done more than their share of insect gobbling and it's time to move on!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2002 at 9:17AM
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Wow, you all are gonna cause me to have nightmares !!! This is worse than a scary movie !! We live in Md. and after living in Florida for 23 years...I will haul off and whack the next person to complain about bugs in Florida. We never had anything like the spiders and other bugs in our house here. We had a black widow spider out in the front flowers...I hear they are popular here. And, we have wolf spiders here too. I had never heard of them in Florida. Haven't seen one of the size you describe but they sure are ugly things. I guess it is all in the kinds of "intruders" you get used to ?? A palmetto bug doesn't freak me out like a wolf spider does. yyyeeecchhhh !!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2002 at 12:33AM
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Just thought I'd add my experiences here too... my dad was a professional exterminator for years and I KNOW WHAT A RECLUSE LOOKS LIKE!!! They (and black widows) give me the creeps! I live in NE Texas and I see them both a lot! You guys are right, the Recluse does not get that big and they most always "hide" under things. I know of at least one man here that was bitten on his arm... your flesh will "rot" around where they bite you.. and he died! I know thats horrible, but please beware of them. I live close to a lake and we have spiders galore. Ive killed many black widows here. Many people think those little black fuzzy spiders are black widows, but the widow has a fat, round, shinny body with long skinny legs. Educate yourself for your own safety. I shiver when I see them too!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2002 at 9:48AM
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Geez, you guys are making my skin crawl big time. As for boric acid, I believe you can also get this at the local drugstore. When I was about 14, I had an eye infection because of an over-chlorinated pool. The doc had me rinse with a solution of boric acid and sterilized water. Cleared the infection up beautifully. Mom got it at the local Walgreens. Whether they still sell it like that or not, I dunno, but I think I might look into it because right now, with the weather starting to get cold, all the spiders are coming into the house to keep warm and I can't stand it. Plus, I'm very allergic to spider bites and suffer for three weeks of major itching from them. What I've also tried is 20 Mule Team Borax. I sprinkle it around the foundation (outside) of the house and then have set a round, flat piece of thin cardboard, with a small pile of Borax, on top of the basement walls. It helps. For between windows and the screens (where we really get them), you can put Borax too or soak some cotton balls in Isopropyl Alcohol; they'll bolt from that.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2002 at 11:41AM
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I saw Boric acid at the drugstore too. For some reason they called it "Roach Killer" at the CVS I saw it in, but when I picked up the bottle and read the label it was almost all Boric Acid. I don't know why they do that...standing in line with a bottle of roach powder I'm sure is as embarrassing as sending dh to the store for feminine products. Whatever the case, once again I've gotten my hair follicle exercise for the day....I can't even handle reading these spider descriptions. egads and horrors!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2002 at 12:49PM
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You should have bottled it and sell it to the pet store. Just kidding. Wolf spiders are harmless but Brown relusive spiders are not. Are you sure that is what you have. Seem awfully big.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2002 at 12:49PM
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Thanks for the link ewwwwwwww.....there went the hair again! You did this on purpose, didn't you? LOL I'm not sure about the title of the beast. It was just a guess. This thing that scared the bejesus out of our builder stayed exactly where he saw it. It was right out in the open, so big in fact that I could see it before I turned on the light. And it was brownish black. It could have been an extra from the movie Arachnaphobia for all I know. I think it was not a recluse because as I said, it was being less than reclusive. I hope it wasn't a wolf spider either. I don't even like the sound of that name at all! (I'm hoping I won't be greeted with a wolf spider jpg to reference when I inevitably check back....)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2002 at 1:45PM
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buy a boston bull terrier, the last 3 we had really enjoyed making meals of wolf spiders. always running around with a couple of quivering legs sticking out of their mouth.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2002 at 1:14AM
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Reminds me of the couple of times our cat ate a spider and was bit on the lip. I didn't know what was wrong with the poor thing until I got her to the vet's and she just laughed. She wanted to know if we had any 8 legged friends in the house, and of course, who doesn't, so that was the conclusion. Little Cleo decided to have a hors d'oeurves and it bit her on the lip and she was allergic and her lip swelled. Took a couple of days, both times, for the swelling to go down. But wolf spiders in the house, ewwww, that I haven't seen yet. Whew!


    Bookmark   October 22, 2002 at 10:49AM
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My cat wouldn't touch spiders, though they should be a lot of fun to hunt. And as far as a dog to take care of it, I don't think I could own a dog. I have seen and read equally horrifying disasters involving such pleasantries as dog vomit, dogs digging holes, remedying said hole digging with a nice healthy serving of yucko, uh what else? Dog pee on furniture and various other places, and..... I think not....I really do. They can eat spiders and chase away critters but my cat is not that much trouble to own.( The worse thing he does is stalk me while I'm sweeping the floor, the bully.) Fortunately, I've not seen any freakishly big, or small, spiders since the boric acid war we waged way back when. And if I do, they will be greeted with the taste of unmitigated defeat!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2002 at 4:26PM
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I agree with mar cia, this darn state (MD) is creepy-crawly heaven! I went to get some wood from my garage one day and said, "darn, there's a big mouse in here!" Turns out it wasn't a mouse. I set off enough bug bombs in there that day to warrant a visit from your local hazmat team. And my darned cats just ignore them while I'm running around shrieking through the house trying to find something to hit them with, so they are no help at all. After all the advice here I think I'm headed out to buy a "Drum-O-Acid".

    Bookmark   November 2, 2002 at 10:56AM
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my current problem isn't a spider, it's a mouse! Darn kitty! Darn doggie door! Some gifts aren't welcomed.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2002 at 3:45PM
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We had a brown recluse living in our screened in porch last year. I would see this smallish spider sitting on the ledge, but he would quickly dart back into this little crack if I opened the sliding door. I got a good look at him, checked the net, and sure enough it was a recluse. I opened the door and left it open a few hours, sneaking peeks. He finally came out. I drenched him with spray and he ran back in the crack. I then sprayed the crack. Never saw him again.

And now a story for ohforpetesake:

Wolf spiders are harmless but very scary looking! My dad has a creek and woods behind him. One day me and my sister saw a HUGE HAIRY spider with a body the size of a small plum in the garage. We FREAKED! Dad just laughed and said "he won't hurt anything".

Well, the laugh was on him. Couple weeks later he was sitting at his workbench and suddenly felt something (big) fall down the back of his shirt. That spider had made it's way in to the basement and dropped from the ceiling!


    Bookmark   November 6, 2002 at 1:27PM
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That is SO gross! Had that been me, I shudder to think...I really do!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2002 at 4:34PM
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Geez, I read all of this but did not click on any of the links (thank heaven). Just wanted to add that my son in Tennessee was bitten this summer by a brown recluse spider while cleaning up his woodpile. I was beside myself because he did not realize what kind of spider it was and waited to go to the doctor. Four days later, when he went they told him he had gangerine!! They are nasty little devils and he now tells me we have them here in Wisconsin also. Fortunatley for him, under doctors care and a lot of it... he is ok now but minus some skin. I learned something new there also. I did not know there was any salvation from gangrene but nowadays there is.
You are braver than I am "PetesSake". I would have played your builders game and left.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2002 at 8:54PM
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    Bookmark   November 8, 2002 at 9:32PM
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So those were wolf spiders hanging out in my mulch. This spring I saw the biggest, ugliest spiders I have ever seen in this part of the US. Grossed me out for weeks, was afraid of the mulch pile after that. I hate spiders, rather see a snake than a spider. Even worse than them were the giant centipedes that used to live in the basement of our home in Chicago. I've lived in tropical areas with some pretty nasty bugs, but these in Chicago were by far the worst.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2002 at 8:19AM
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I had a lot of little guys in the house. I got those sticky mouse trap cards at Wal Mart. I cut them in half down the long side and have them behind all the chairs and along the baseboards of the rooms. Caught a lot that way. I even caught a 7" snake . What a way to go!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2002 at 7:54AM
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I found my first one in the bathroom the other night, and I almost had a heart attack. I sprayed and sprayed until it was lying in a lake of spray, and that spider wouldn't die. I finally had to pick it up with tweezers and flushed it down the toilet ten times. It scared the bejezuz out of me.

It is not small. It's about the size of a quarter or half dollar when you count the diameter of the legs. I think all the sizes given on web sites are talking about the body of the spider, not the legs. I sent away for a $29 first aid kit just for brown recluse spiders because I figure if I saw one, there may be others. Females leave fifty eggs behind and they pop in about 30 days. I am so scared. Those suckers are treacherous. I have boric acid powder for roaches, but I'm now going to put the powder everywhere. I read somewhere that the BRspider likes dead bugs better than live ones. I figure that may be because they don't want to eat their own bad venom that they use to kill bugs.

Now I am watching everything all the time. This spider I saw looked exactly like the one on the first aid kit. When you see one, you will know. It's very scary looking. Does not look like any other spider I have ever seen. You'd never think it was a wolf spider. The thing just plain looks mean. And they will not die. I sprayed and sprayed, and like the other reader said, it was like the spider was laughing about it.

God help us all. It's enough to make me want to move. And yes, I think they can come in with boxes from UPS or the store or anywhere. You never know. I live in an apartment building! I never expected to see one. Now I'm worried there are a lot of them in here with me. Any advice will be appreciated, cuz I am worrying all the time. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 5:08PM
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When we moved into our new house last summer we have zillions of spiders. We are on a lake, it was new construction and it was the wettest summer in the history of Texas. Well, those dirt lovin' wolf spiders were heading for higher ground which was our veranda. I asked my son and one of his buddies to take on the task of killing the spiders, clearing the webs and spraying. It was going pretty well until the 16 y/o moved a box that was next to a wall and thw biggest freakin' wolf spider I've ever seen moved. He squealed like a little girl threw the spider cleaner brush in the pool and went home! We all just about wet our pants laughing at him. After that I called the exterminator and have them out quarterly to stay on top of the ever growing spider population!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 7:23PM
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I've found that Windex, the plain, blue window-cleaning Windex, is a great spider killer. Seriously. It's all I use on spiders now.

I battled a particularily large and fierce wolf spider in California. Windex was his Waterloo!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 11:30PM
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Why not just set off some flea bombs? They kill everything.
I would not recommend using grocery store boxes to move, especially if they were used for fruit. We bought a case of pineapples in Hawaii and upon our return found them to be crawling w/roaches. Needless to say, they went out in the trash in a hot hurry! Even if you buy pineapples in a store, check the stem if it is still on, bugs love to hide in there.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 4:24PM
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I would get some Ortho Malathion. It is a milk colored chemical when mixed with water kills spiders. It is like Kryptonite to Superman. Stinks to high heaven but IT WORKS

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 10:54AM
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My neighbour got bitten by a spider 2years ago, it took about 14 months for his arm to heal. It looked like flesh eating disease. He thought it was a brown reculse but it turned out to be a HOBO Spider (tegenaria agrestis). Ugly freaky things. google it... you'll be creeped out for days!! We have another spider quite common and a cousin to the HOBO called Giant House Spider (tegenaria gigantica) They will scare the pants off you but are harmless. I've seen them stuck in the bath tub (can't climb slippery surfaces) with hairy legs that are 2" long. BLECH!! I find the "swiffer sweeper" the best spider killer ever it has a big flat surface area and a nice LOOOONG handle ; )

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 11:48PM
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In early October of 1981 I was putting on my jeans for another day at work around 6:30 am and felt a small sting on the inside my left knee. I thought nothing of it. At work around 9:00 am my leg began itching. I went to the bathroom and saw a purple bruise about the size of a goose egg. This was on a Friday. I could not sleep that night and Saturday morning went the the doctor's who sent me to an ER clinic. There I received some steroid injection and steroid pills. That Monday I went in for surgery. The doc told me he took out all he could under a local. The surgery did not work and I saw gangrene and smelled it. Into the hospital for 6 days with more surgery and debridements. By February all was well. The cause was a brown recluse AKA fiddleback. Now, with the exception of wolf spiders and tarantulas, the last things all spiders see that I come across is my heel descending.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 4:06PM
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FYI... The recluse and widow spider families are the only poisonous spiders in the US. However, several other spider bites can be painful, and even cause anaphelatic shock if bitten often.

If you truly have a recluse or widow problem (and you have animals or small children), you may want to pay for an exterminator to spray your house and yard. We got an exterminator "package". $200 for the first visit and then $100 a year for 4 visits for preventitive spraying inside and out.

We live in Wisconsin, so we only spray for your run-of-the-mill beasties (carpenter ants are the worst offenders in our region). I'm sure termites and spiders are a whole new ballgame - but there must be some cost effective solution out there.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 11:06PM
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I had a problem with fleas one year. We bombed the house with three aerosol insect bombs. A lot of work but I noticed no spiders or any other living things for quite a while. I was very careful with the sprays. Took my pets out of the house while they sprayed, had them get baths at the groomers. And when I returned, I thoroughly cleaned my kitchen, washed all the dishes, wiped down all cabinets ande counters. I didn't want to poison myself. As I said, a lot of work.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 10:33PM
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Brown recluse bites are VERY SERIOUS and need immediate attention. I didn't even know I was bitten until my shoulder was itchy. I touched it and I had a swollen place bigger than a half dollar and about 1/2 inch high. I had gone inside a seldom used garage and was checking a clients seldom used car and I guess thats when I was bitten. I worked as a case manager for senior citizens. As soon as I got home, I checked it and went straight to the ER 25 miles away, received antibiotics and benadryl. By the time I got to ER the site definitely showed the typical "bullseye" crater. I was fine by Monday, no ill effects. But I have seen pictures of the havoc it can make. Especially in children.

Please, please, do not wait for medical attention. If caught early, there are very little side effects, but a few hours waiting can make a terrible difference. If you have spiders, acquaint yourself on what they are and what they look like. Recluses hide. They want to be by themselves. If you have dark places that don't get used much, storage places, attics, even storage boxes. They run from the light.
I live in central Illinois and they are here too. Be watchful please.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 10:42AM
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several years ago I went to a local organic nursery that was run by some people who I believe were left over from Woodstock. Wonderful plants but you sometimes had to be very careful there...had to watch for snakes and other critters that they didn't mind inhabiting the space with them.

their building that they used for checking out was really dark and I wouldn't poke my hands around in the bins,lol. I was waiting to check out one day and heard the owner discussing the fact that they had a brown recluse living in one of the drawers and she had to be careful putting her hand in there. the guy she was talking to told her to bring in a black widow...that she would kill the brown recluse......and I am thinking....hmmmmmm....I paid quickly and left,lol.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 11:41AM
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