There are around 100 identified species of recluse spiders to date in the world. The brown recluse spider is uncommon in Ontario, but has been spotted in the province sporadically. Ontario’s climate does not provide a habitable environment for the brown recluse spider specie, and any rare appearances of the potent spider here, is likely due to accidently travel to Ontario from the Central and Southern parts of the USA.
The brown recluse spider (Loxosceles spp) earned it’s name because of its brown color and antisocial behavior. While poisonous, these spiders are typically not aggressive, and prefer to be left alone in solitude. They possess a powerful, tissue-destroying venom, which can cause lesions on a person post bite.
The brown recluse spider is ½ inch long, with light brown colouring and 6 eyes. It’s distinguishing marking is a violin-shaped shape on its mid-section (or thorax). They produce sticky, haphazard webbing that they use for shelter only. The brown recluse spider hunts for its food, mostly at night. They eat small insects, other spiders, cockroaches, crickets and even ants.
Once they have invaded a home, they favour tight spaces, and keep hidden. Adults may be found in dark, secluded indoor places that are dry, cluttered, undisturbed and contain a supply of insects for food. Common places they inhabit are behind baseboards, under tables and chairs, in basements, crawlspaces, attics, garages and sheds, and within clothing or shoes that are left hanging undisturbed for some time. They have also been found in the linens of beds that have been unoccupied for a long while.
The brown recluse spider will bite if it comes into direct contact with a human. Common situations where brown recluse spider bites occurred include mistakenly rolling on them in a bed, coming into direct contact with one when clothing or shoes they inhabit is put on, or accidently touching them while cleaning out storage and gardening areas.
If bitten, seek immediate medical treatment. The reaction experienced by a person depends on the amount of venom injected into the person when bitten, as well as the person’s own sensitivity to it. A brown recluse spider bite is rarely fatal, but is very serious as their venom is cytotoxic, which means that it attacks the cells of human flesh and produces necrosis. Their bite is often not felt at first. Usually within an hour of being bitten, a person experiences a stinging sensation followed by sharp pain. The bite area develops a white blister, which grows larger as the flesh is destroyed, and leaves a sunken, inflamed sore.
Brown recluse spiders are not common in Ontario, however there have been encounters, and reported bites. If you think that you have a possible infestation or have crossed paths with a brown recluse spider, do not attempt to handle this pest issue on your own. DIY pest control is not always safe or effective. Contact a trained and licenced pest control professional.
To minimize chances of being bitten if there are known brown recluse spiders, take additional precaution by:
While the chances are low that you will cross paths with a brown recluse spider in Ontario, spider prevention is the best approach to take to minimize any chances of an infestation.
Here are tips to prevent a spider infestation:
If you have a brown recluse spider infestation or think you may have one, contact a licensed pest control company so they can help you safely treat the problem.
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