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Brown Recluse Spider

by Sac
posted 07-05-2008 11:29 PM

35 replies so far

View lew's profile


12052 posts in 3750 days

#1 posted 07-05-2008 11:40 PM


Sure hope it wasn’t a “brown” the effects can be nasty and long lasting. Not to scare you, but keep an eye on it. I had a student that was bitten on the leg. It took skin grafts to finally get it healed.

As soon as you get back in your shop, I want you to make one of these- the one in the middle-

Then when you see another spider- go Gallagher on him!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3708 days

#2 posted 07-05-2008 11:50 PM

Hey Jerry…

About 3 years ago, my wife was out in our barn, and she got bitten in the back of the left knee. It hurt her, and we kept an eye on it, but did not suspect a spider bite. About 30-36 hours after the bite, she got a huge fever and almost passed out. I looked at the site where she was having pain and thought, “oh God, we’ve got to get her to a Dr.” Lots of antibiotics and some dead tissue later… man what an ordeal. We’ve learned our lesson since then.

I totally agree with Lew…

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4058 days

#3 posted 07-06-2008 12:15 AM

Nasty little buggers. I took a bite on the upper thigh several years back. There was a zone of necrotic (dead) tissue approximately 1/2˝ in diameter and about an 1/8˝ deep around the bite. It took a long time to fill back in. Jerry – you can Gallagher one for me anytime.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Sac's profile


268 posts in 3628 days

#4 posted 07-06-2008 12:45 AM

Oh I am keeping an eye on it since the swelling and bruising is still there. I hope it wasn’t a Brown also. I’ll get a couple of pictures when the wife brings my camera home from work.

-- Jerry

View Josh's profile


119 posts in 3932 days

#5 posted 07-06-2008 01:23 AM

I had spider almost get the best of me a few years back. I was at a wedding and when we were leaving I walked into a spider. The thing bit me right below the throat. I didn’t think to much of it. the next thing i know I was puking everywhere. I couldn’t talk and I was sweating something fierce. My wife and sister decided I had to much fun so they took me home for the night. I could hear my wife saying something isn;t right, but i couldn’t say boo.

The next day i had what i called a sheriff badge on my chest. The red and white bullseye type marking was rather large and off to the ER i went. AT the time we weren’t sure what it was that got me. We just hoped it wasn’t a brown recluse because of the skin issue. I guess I was rather lucky it wasn’t worse.

I hope everything works out ok for you.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3768 days

#6 posted 07-06-2008 01:41 AM

A photo is worth a thousand words – here is what this little spider can do (and no, this isn’t me or anyone I know, just something that was forwarded to us). But PLEASE, if you are squeamish, you might want to pass on the pictures . . . not pretty!

Day 3

Day 5

Day 6

Day 9

Day 10

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View jcees's profile


1058 posts in 3793 days

#7 posted 07-06-2008 03:48 AM

I live in Central FL where we have EVERYTHING that crawls, flies, bites, stings or eats you. We’ve had a problem for the past few years with Brown Widows, an African import. They’re just as deadly as their Black kin. They have the same egg sacks that are spikey and white as cotton and NEVER smash ‘em with your bare flesh. The webs are irregular and usually there’s no other sign of her BUT, she’s around and you’d best keep an eye out. The only advantage is that widows are shy and don’t really like attention. Bites are uncommon and usually due to disturbing them in their hiding place.

Widows hunt at night so if you like to putter in the garage in the evening, wear your gloves when turning lumber over and don’t forget to look up. Also, if one is established, you’ll note whitish fallout [fecal matter] around her lair. Sometimes that’s all you’ll see. If you do, look above the fallout for a hiding place, a nook or cranny or some other smallish space large enough for a spider about the size of your pinky to fit in. Hose it with poison and wait. She’ll drop out eventually. Then you can ID her by flipping her over with a stick to see the bright orange to red hourglass on her abdomen. Creepy!

As a side note, I allow Daddy Long-Legs to stay around as they are a natural enemy of widows. Their fangs are too short to harm humans but they have no problem with widows. Other than that, I keep a can of Raid handy.


P.S. Sac, do not suffer fools in hospitals lightly, they have a tendency to bury their mistakes. Seek someone who’ll listen to you and take you serious. Recluse bites aren’t usually fatal but as those pics show, they are disfiguring and can lead to worse conditions like myelitis or MRSA which CAN kill you.

-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Allison's profile


819 posts in 3793 days

#8 posted 07-06-2008 04:26 AM

I don’t want to really get into it, but my husband was bit around 72 hours ago by something on his neck. He was sure, as I was, it was a brown. His neck is pretty nasty but is not bruised. It looks nothing like the pictures on the links here.It happened in bed, he woke up asking me to look at it. The only way I could explain it is it looked like this () A smile and a frown together,that was bright red with a whole bunch of red dots around it. It was no time at all that it looked like connect the dots. It is now this huge scab looking thing. He did not get ill. It’s funny how things happen. I am so thankful for this post, as we were both sure this was a brown recluse that had done this.
Thank you so very much. I also am praying yours was not either. I can not thank you enough for posting this when you did. I myself almost died of a spider bite in 1992. So they can be very serious.
Again thanks. I learned a lot here with the links and all.

-- Allison, Northeastern Ca. Remember, Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

View Grumpy's profile


23914 posts in 3845 days

#9 posted 07-06-2008 05:02 AM

Don’t send that spider down here Sac, we have enough of those nasty critters. On e is called the redback, it likes hanging around in places like wood & outside dunnies. Not necessarily leathal but will make you very sick. another is the Funnel web, a nasty leathal critter indeed. None in my neck of the woods luckily.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View snowdog's profile


1164 posts in 3977 days

#10 posted 07-06-2008 01:16 PM

Who said there are no monsters left on earth ( besides a few crazy humans), they were wrong.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View Sac's profile


268 posts in 3628 days

#11 posted 07-06-2008 01:18 PM

Good Morning folks. It’s been 38 hours now since the bite. the finger is stil swollen and bruised. No skin tissue as of 7am this morning. So it may heal and be done with. I’ll still be keeping a close eye on it. Thank you all for your support and such. Allison the timing of this post was a little uncanny it seems.

My main objective of the post was to just remind folks that there is this danger in our shops.

The home of the Black widows here in TN, well all of the ones I have seen are easily identifiable by the funnel like web leading into thier home/den.

Anyway I’ll keep you all posted if any changes take place.
Thanks again for all your post and information on this hazard in our shops.

-- Jerry

View Myron Wooley's profile

Myron Wooley

226 posts in 3890 days

#12 posted 07-06-2008 06:45 PM

Thanks for the heads up. Here in So Cal we don’t have the Brown Recluse, but Black Widows are everywhere. I’ve taught the kids how to identify their webs, which are just a mess. No funnel or shape, just strands going every which way. I have found them in meter boxes, around the swimming pool, in the kid’s climbing toys, under the picnic table, in the firewood pile, just about every place imaginable.
And then we get to the rattlesnakes…

Stay safe!

-- The days are long and the years are short...

View swied's profile


74 posts in 3756 days

#13 posted 07-07-2008 12:32 AM

I found a black widow in my garage a couple of days ago. Here is my spider removal technique:

- Get a can of compressed air and turn it upside down. Inverting the can causes the air to come out extremely cold and frosty.
- Spay the cold air on the spider. This will paralyze it for a minute or so.
- If you are an animal lover you can put it in a bag, and release it somewhere else.
- If not then you can easily grab it and smush its guts out.

Going after the spider without paralyzing it first can be hazardous. They sometime jump at you, and your neighbors will think you are strange when they see you jumping around the yard hitting yourself all over.

-- Scott, San Diego

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4241 days

#14 posted 07-07-2008 02:37 AM

In northern Michigan they’ll grow to the size of a small tree frog. A few years ago when we were camping in our truck camper in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore the kids found one one night that I swear was as big as a half dollar legs and all. I’m sure it was a brown. They had it trapped under a glass bowl and it had another spider in its jaws darn near as big as it was. I just had the kids get back and I took off the bowl and danced like James Brown for about 2 minutes on both of them then sprayed Raid around the campsite, camper and on the soles of my shoes just to make sure;, those things were hugh!!!

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Sac's profile


268 posts in 3628 days

#15 posted 07-07-2008 04:26 PM

Hello folks, Sorry I haven’t given an update. Lew reminded me to tho. I am 65 hours into the bite. The finger is still swollen and not tender to the touch. The bruising is still along the bite area still extending to the hand joint. It has subsided on the bottom area of the finger. If I push slightly on bite area there is some pain. It is kinda weird since the pain, even as slight as it is,is still there as I type this out. So I am not sure what to think of this swelling and bruising still being here. But as it says about the Browns bite, some folks will heal in time on thier own. With the antibiotics maybe this is the case. I’ve prayed it is. Further up dats in a day or so.

Thanks for asking Lew.

-- Jerry

View Grumpy's profile


23914 posts in 3845 days

#16 posted 07-09-2008 12:09 AM

Look out Jocks, looks like we Aussies sent you a present;

Australian spiders set to train with astronauts for space shuttle mission ”Nine eight-legged Australians will travel to Boulder Colorado, U.S.A on Thursday 16th November 2000 to assist with training for the STARS (Space Technology And Research Students) ‘AstroSpiders-Spiders In Space’ experiment.”

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Sac's profile


268 posts in 3628 days

#17 posted 07-11-2008 01:00 PM

I’ll be closing out my comments on this experience. The swelling is still there but it is down. Still some bruising but not alot like it was. I’m thrilled I didn’t go through any issues with the sloughing of skin and suck.

Be carefull out there folks. Spiders everywhere. I killed another recluse yesterday.

Thanks for your responses to the post here and I hope it has brought about awareness of dangers lirking in the shop that we may not have considered in the past. Stay Safe.

-- Jerry

View Richard Miller's profile

Richard Miller

20 posts in 2570 days

#18 posted 06-28-2012 06:22 AM

Although I know spiders are really do-gooders by keeping the bug riff-raff down in my shop, they do have a nasty habit of causing injury and pain to my person….or rather cause me to do it to myself as I do the “can’t get out of the way fast enough” dance. I am just really tired of the inside of my shop looking like a scene set from a horror picture with all the spider webs. I guess it’s time to break out the big wet/dry vac and do a shop once over and get rid of as much as I can. I have tried to condition myself to pick up nothing or move anything without putting my gloves on first which will also keep down on splinters.

-- Richard

View Tyrone D's profile

Tyrone D

314 posts in 2327 days

#19 posted 06-28-2012 06:38 AM

When I decided to turn the garage into a workshop, I had to clean up ~20 years of spider webs. I really hate spiders. I’m not scared of them; I just really really hate them. They get you when you least expect it. I keep waking up with spider bites on me. Sometimes they get me right on the forehead and it looks like a giant zit.
When I cleaned my garage, everything was moved and I killed one Brown Recluse. Perhaps it was the same one that bit my dad in the leg.

-- --Tyrone - BC, Canada "Nothing is ever perfect, we just run out of time."

View Sac's profile


268 posts in 3628 days

#20 posted 06-28-2012 06:58 AM

Well most I have seen in the past where in the dark cool areas of wood or basement, garage. I have not seen any in a few years now. I started using mothballs spread around in the garage against the walls because they keep away mice and some critters. ANother good thing about the mothballs is that they will not kill moles in the yard they will run them away from your yard. Please see a doc if you get bitten by a recluse. I believe that helped my bite heal much quicker. I still have the swell on the ouside of the finger next to the pinky on the left hand, I’m sure it will always be there.

-- Jerry

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2371 days

#21 posted 06-28-2012 07:22 AM

@Tyrone Are you sure it’s spiders and not bed bugs?

I get so many spiders in my garage workshop it’s ridiculous. doesn’t matter how many times i suck em up or kill them they come back. Probably because the garage door doesnt seal and it’s a nice dry environment. Luckily in this neck of the wood we only really have to worry about Black Widows which are easier to distinguish. basically any black spider that remotely looks like that dies immediately.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3004 days

#22 posted 06-28-2012 07:45 AM

I hate spiders. I really really do. I’m not that afraid of them, but black widows and brown recluses give me the bigtime eebie jeebies. Now scorpions…I’m terrified.

Luckily most of the spiders that manage to inhabit my garage workshop are daddy longlegs and they are ok. But anything fat and juicy looking dies. I regularly spray a little bit of spider killer along the entry points to the garage.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3747 days

#23 posted 06-28-2012 09:23 AM

My job working with a realty company puts me around the Recluse quite often. I have been bitten 3 times in the past 2 years. I wear full Tyvek suites and a thick wool hat when I enter a crawl space these days. The last bite was really nasty.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2243 days

#24 posted 06-28-2012 01:41 PM

I have a lot of bugs in my garage shop. I just clean it up GOOD, cover all the equipment and set off a couple bug bombs every once in a while. It seems to do the trick


View helluvawreck's profile


31030 posts in 2861 days

#25 posted 06-28-2012 04:09 PM

I know that you wrote this a long time ago but I still appreciate the information. I’m always concerned about spider bites whenever I have to go up under my crawl space to make some sort of repair. There are always lots of spiders there and I certainly never enjoy it. I’m 62 and I figure a bad spider bite is worse for a person the older they get.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View MrUnix's profile


6700 posts in 2193 days

#26 posted 06-28-2012 04:35 PM

Living out in the middle of the woods, we got lots of spiders around.. including lots of black/brown widows and brown recluses. I’ve been bitten many times by the widows.. some localized swelling and pain around the bite but nothing like the time I got nailed by a recluse. Just inside my right thumb. After a day or two, my right hand was swollen up like a grapefruit and stayed that way for a couple of weeks slowly shrinking back to normal size over time. After talking to the doctor over the phone about it, I decided to just ride it out.. wound up just fine.. no permanent damage or other complications. I’m not sure what difference age makes (I was in my late 40’s at the time), but the doctor said size does. I’m over 6 foot and 220 pounds. A smaller person or child would have had a much different experience. At any rate, it’s still best to just stay clear of ‘em ;-)


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View bandit571's profile


19963 posts in 2678 days

#27 posted 06-28-2012 04:51 PM

Got a bite on my left elbow last month, while moving some 2×10 from under the back porch. Few days late, bite area was the size of a golf ball. Had turned into a boil like zit. ER drained & packed the hole ( size of my little finger) and took a culture test. came back as MRSA, so, something else to worry about. All healed up, MRSA is now “Negative”. Saw a large brown eight legged sob crawling along the top of my computer screen, it is now DOA, KIA, Flatter than a pancake, d e a d! Almost three weeks off work because of these little Bas###Ds!

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2964 days

#28 posted 06-28-2012 04:52 PM

I know this is an old topic, but reading it reminds me of a spider deterrent that I never knew existed until recently. Conkers. Spiders can’t stand conkers by all accounts. Try gathering a few and dotting them around to keep the spiders away. I know it sounds like an old wives tale, but I know people who swear by it.

View crashn's profile


528 posts in 2460 days

#29 posted 06-28-2012 06:44 PM

Ok, i’ll bite (pun intended) what is a conker?

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2964 days

#30 posted 06-28-2012 11:55 PM

Either you don’t have horse chestnut trees or the seeds go by a different name.
A conker is the seed of the horse chestnut tree. Also used in a childrens’ game, dried, stringed, and smashed against each other. The intact conker wins.

Maybe the spiders are afraid of getting whacked to death, I don’t know.

View patcollins's profile


1685 posts in 2859 days

#31 posted 06-29-2012 12:38 AM

renners your avatar freaks me out more than any spider ever could

View golfbug's profile


1 post in 2124 days

#32 posted 07-27-2012 07:19 PM

Regarding spiders!! There IS a great spider first aid kit that works for brown recluses and other nasties. Go to to purchase. No, I’m not selling these things, just happy to find something that will actually suck the venom out and prevent the damage from a brown recluse.

View bandit571's profile


19963 posts in 2678 days

#33 posted 07-27-2012 07:23 PM

This fall, when those Hedgeapples start to fall onto the ground, pick them up, and place one in every corner of the house. Spidey HATES them, and will leave.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Infernal2's profile


107 posts in 2192 days

#34 posted 07-27-2012 08:31 PM

We get a ridiculous number of brown recluse, black widows, and brown widows around my house and because of it, my lumber rack is always sorted through with a pair of gloves. A few years back when I was waterproofing the side of three story condo I got bit by a recluse on the inside of my right forearm. Despite knowing how to handle it and being luck enough to see the spider that did it, I still ended up with a quarter sized scar on the inside of my arm. These little buggers are no joke and I spent close to two weeks squeezing and treating the bite area to remove the gunk.

View ScottStewart's profile


119 posts in 2126 days

#35 posted 07-27-2012 10:02 PM

These are nasty buggers, if the flesh is going to rot, it’s going to rot, and there’s not a damn thing we in the medical field can do about it except keep the secondary bacterial infections under control. (That’s what the Keflex was for.)

Sounds like you MAY have dodged a bullet. My experience on dogs is that we are going to know in 2-3 days if there is going to be a big zone of necrosis (rotting). The fact that the finger is not as tender is encouraging.

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