How to Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders

brown recluse spider on sandy background

Spiders, including the brown recluse, are generally the good guys, preying on flies, mosquitoes, and other insects that bug us. Of course, that doesn't mean we want them hanging out with us inside the house. Females can create multiple eggs sacs a year, each of which can contain up to 50 eggs, so if you've spotted one...sorry arachnophobes. Here are some ways to help keep these critters from infesting your home.

How to Recognize Brown Recluse Spiders

If you live in the Midwest or the Southeast of the United States, you're in prime recluse territory. That's not to say it's impossible to have a brown recluse anywhere else, but it's highly unlikely. So how do you know it's a brown recluse? Look for the identifying features: violin-shaped marking on its back, six eyes, and solid-colored, spineless legs.

brown recluse spider on black background

Get Cleaned Up

It's called a recluse for a reason. It would rather not deal with you. To find them, tackle the spots where the recluse would hide. Dark, hidden areas are likely targets: under the bed, in closets, quiet corners, above the cabinets, the garage, etc. Fire up the vacuum with the long-handled attachment for those hard to reach places to suck up their webs.

But don't stop there. If they've found cozy spots inside, they came from somewhere right? Take a look outside to identify places where they might be entering your home. Cracks and voids around the house just scream "Welcome!" Caulk any gaps and add weather stripping around the windows. And examine that woodpile.

Eliminate any nooks and crannies where your spidey friends can hang out. Then give some serious thought to relocating that pile at least 20 feet from the house, raising it at least five inches off the ground. It might make life a little more inconvenient in the winter, but if you've got an infestation, you do what you can.

broom on floor with spider web

Stay Cleaned Up

It's too easy to get home from work and just toss your shoes off to the side. We get it. But do yourself a favor and shake out your shoes before putting them on in the morning. Otherwise, we suggest keeping things stored properly. Put clothes away rather than lying around on the floor. Shake out your clothes before putting them on. Store shoes, gloves, boots, and any other wearable gear in tightly sealed bags or boxes.

Plant Strategically

Certain plants help repel invaders of the crawly kind. Eucalyptus is especially unsavory to the brown recluse. These trees can get large and their shallow root system can make them unstable when the winds blow in. If you'd rather not risk having to file an insurance claim, try installing these plants around entryways and near windows for some added protection: lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, rosemary, and basil.

Practice Aromatherapy

mint oil with leaves

We've already mentioned eucalyptus. Other strong scents that spiders don't like are tea tree and peppermint oils. Apply these around windows and doorways, focusing on any possible entry points spread out around the house.

Stick It to Them

Glue traps are an option to use sparingly. While they may capture dozens of the eight-legged denizens, they aren't selective. Regardless of how carefully you placed those traps, you may find yourself inadvertently catching and subsequently disposing of beneficial animals/insects that haplessly wandered to their deaths.

Diatomaceous Earth

white powder diatomaceous earth

Made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, this powdery substance is versatile in its applications. One of them is to kill the unwanteds. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around areas where spiders have been seen.

DE degrades their exoskeletons but is only viable when it is dry. For that reason, restrict use to basements, attics, and garages. Outside use is possible when rain isn't in the forecast. And even though it's not technically a pesticide, it's still wise to wear gloves and a mask when handling it.

Kill on Sight

Insecticides made to specifically kill recluses must have direct contact in order to work. Rather than spend the money on yet another chemical to store in the garage, try spraying vinegar instead. Vinegar also needs to have direct contact to kill, so spray with impunity.

We generally don't like killing spiders--call us a little superstitious. But we also don't want to be bitten, and for that, we'll do what we can to keep ourselves safe.