Brown Recluse Spider: Appearance, Symptoms Of Bite, & Treatment

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The necrotic venom distinguishes the brown recluse spider. Adequate and timely medical attention will, however, forestall any possible difficulties.  This spider is among the three major spiders of medical significance in North America. Its botanical name is L. reclusa.


Its length is between 0.24 and 0.79 inches. Also, there are instances where it grows longer than this.  Its color ranges from light brown to medium brown, and their colors can be blackish gray, dark brown or whitish brown. The colors on the abdomen and cephalothorax can be different at times. The back usually bears a black line that looks like a violin with its neck pointing towards the rear part of the spider, which wins it several nicknames, like violin spider, brown fiddler, and fiddleback spider.

It has three pairs of eyes, which distinguishes it from many other spiders that have eight eyes; that is, four pairs of eyes.   Two of the pairs are located lateral, while the last pair is medial. The legs and abdomen do not have any obvious coloration pattern. There is also no spine on the legs. However, the abdomen is covered with fine short hairs, which appear like a soft fur when observed without magnification.  Also, the leg joints have a slightly lighter color.


Furthermore, the spider has eight legs, but it is not among the common spiders in North America. They also prefer isolation and can become aggressive; their preference for isolation earns them the name “recluse.”  They can be found in both indoor and outdoor spaces, especially in spots where people do not frequently visit. You can also find it within piles of rocks, beneath pouches, under logs, dark closets, garage, attics and so on. It prefers to get out of the way when it sees any human being, but it can attack you if it feels threatened.

The Symptoms

The venom released by the brown recluse spider is harmful and is among the two major spiders causing trouble to humans in North America.  The first symptom of its bite is a painful sore at the site of the bite. However, some people may end up with more severe symptoms. It is in your best interest to see a doctor immediately you get bitten by the spider.  

The venom contains series of enzymes. Some of the enzymes will cause complete destruction of the local cell membrane and lead to a disruption of the tissue integrity. This will result in a breakdown of the local skin, blood vessels, and fat. There will be necrosis of the tissue around the bite site.

Furthermore, the venom can attack the immune response of the affected person. The immune system will release interleukins, cytokines, and histamines, which will recruit disease-fighting, signal-specific white blood cells to the site of the bite or area of injury.

It is unfortunate that the inflammatory agents released can lead to additional tissue injury.  The secondary effect (due to the inflammatory agents) occurs rarely. They are also responsible for some of the symptoms of the spider’s bite.

When bitten, you may not feel any pain or have any mark on the bite site.  The bite may feel like a bee’s sting or just a pinch, depending on the individual. The symptoms may not even come until a couple of days after the bite.

Some of the symptoms are highlighted below  

  • Feeling of weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • A deep sore on the site of the bite. The skin at the center of the bite can equally look purple.
  • Low platelet count
  • Red blood cells destruction
  • Blood clots in the capillaries
  • Inability to form clots when required
  • Kidney damage
  • Coma or seizure; either symptom is very rare.

The symptoms mentioned above may be similar to what obtains when some other spiders bite you. It is, therefore, important that you can describe the spider properly so that your doctor can understand which it is and proffer the proper treatment by administering the appropriate anti-venom. If you can get it done safely without being bitten again, then you can catch the spider to show it to your doctor. Instead of catching the spider, you can take a picture to it to show at the hospital.

There had been no reported case of death except in children, especially children younger than seven years.  They are mainly found in the southeastern and Midwestern states. They are rarely found outside these regions. However, findings have shown that the spider is not limited to the areas mentioned above.

The non-brown species of the spider is also called the desert recluse types; they can be found in places like California, Arizona, and Texas.  This type has never been limited to death. When this type bites you, they only result in moderate or mild local skin disease.


The venom can have a powerful effect on children; their body mass is small, and the venom can, therefore, spread very fast and have a serious effect on them. If you suspect that your small child gets bitten by the spider, you should never hesitate to see the doctor.      

A bite from the brown recluse spider does not always lead to a serious symptom. In fact, only about 10% of brown recluse spider bite will lead to blisters and ulcers, which will damage the skin. You can treat the remaining 90% at home with excellent results. You can administer any of the treatment options below if the symptoms are mild.

  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and antihistamine drugs
  • Place ice on the site of the bite
  • Raise your legs or arms above your head if you are bitten on the limbs; it will reduce the swelling
  • Apply antibiotic cream
  • Clean the area with soap and clean water

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned below, you should never hesitate to see the doctor:

  • You cannot breathe well
  • The site of the infection gets infected
  • You are having extreme pain
  • The bite has caused a blister or ulcer with a black, purple or blue center.


Brown recluse spider can cause life-threatening symptoms, but this is not usually the case. As described above, only about 10% of those bitten by the spider will end up with the serious symptoms listed above, while the remaining 90% may not require a hospital visit or anti-venom injection before they can get better.  Be that as it may, you should report to the hospital when bitten by the spider, especially if the victim is a small child below seven years. Prevent the bite get rid of brown recluse spiders with our protection guaranteed pest control services in Overland Park, Lee’s Summit and surrounding areas.

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