Brown recluse spiders are venomous spiders found in Midwestern states. Named for their reclusive habits, these spiders prefer dry, dark, isolated areas with little human activity. Carnivorous and cannibalistic by nature, brown recluse spiders favor dead insects over live ones and can survive for six months without food. Over-the-counter pesticides are typically ineffective in eliminating these six-eyed creatures, so a multifaceted approach to control their population is recommended.
Step 1: Prevent spider bites and reduce recluse populations by keeping a tidy home. Eliminate clutter, and sweep and vacuum regularly. Pull furniture away from walls and clean light fixtures. Remove bed skirts and other fabrics that touch the ground. Wash bedding often. Shake out clothing and check shoes before getting dressed.
Step 2: Physically eliminate spiders wherever possible. Wear work gloves and search out spiders behind curtains, furniture and baseboards; near plants; on windowsills; under stairs; inside cabinets, cardboard boxes and dresser drawers; and in piles of wood, books and clothing. Spiders are particularly fond of areas near the furnace and hot water heater, behind bathroom fixtures, and in poorly ventilated areas such as attics and closets.
Step 3: Caulk around baseboards and insulate behind electrical switches and outlets. Pull everything out away from the wall, and store boxes and other belongings at least 8 inches off the ground. Install tight-fitting screens and properly aligned door sweeps.
Step 4: Tape the top and bottom flaps of all boxes. Store clothing and other items in plastic bags whenever possible.
Step 5: Most infestations occur from outside. Move any wood or other materials away from the home’s perimeter. Trim back trees and shrubs. Fill cracks in the foundation, and seal around doors and windows. Check the thresholds of each door to make sure they are airtight. Inspect under decks and in outbuildings and eliminate as many spiders as possible.
Step 6: Use yellow bug lights outside to reduce overall insect populations.
Step 7: Place glue boards along the walls, under furniture and in closets, attics and basements to monitor and eliminate spider activity. Use 10 or more traps in each room to catch spiders and identify problem areas.
Step 8: If the problem persists, call a professional. They can use pyrethroids, such as cyfluthrin or cypermethrin, in slow-release, wettable powder formulations to treat highly infested areas, both inside and outside your home.