The brown recluse spider got its name because it likes to stay mostly out of sight. It’s preference is to pretty much live like a hermit, and not be bothered by us human beings.
They can’t really do that anymore.
Today their numbers have grown, and with so many of them in existence they don’t have enough spaces to live out-of-sight anymore.
When I first became a pest control technician I came across a brown recluse occasionally, and when I shined my flashlight on the spider it took off running for the shadows. They built their webs behind cabinets and other objects that kept them hidden.
They still do that of course. This spider’s habits haven’t changed. It’s only that they have so many babies that the younger populations have to move out into the open to weave their cobwebs. Their parents occupy all the hidden spaces.
And all those increases in baby numbers caused a population explosion of brown recluse spiders that now reaches across the United States.
When I first started my active pest control technician career the company entomologist told me that recluse spiders lived in Indiana (the state where I worked in pest control), but few people ever seen them. The spiders, he said, lived only in the basements of the big city buildings, back in the dark corners where nobody ever went.
But not long after he gave me that bit of information I got an unpleasant, and very shocking, surprise.
One of my pest control accounts was a major Indianapolis hospital. In one building they stored all of the patient’s records. This particular warehouse held shelves of boxes, and those boxes contained folders for every patient the hospital treated.
Off the warehouse area were office spaces, and on the warehouse side of the office space wall was a work bench where employees worked on the files.
Spaced at intervals around the warehouse walls we kept bait boxes, and in those bait boxes we placed glue boards, and bait blocks to help keep the rodent population under control. We didn’t want those mice and rats chewing up the patient files to build nests.
One day I entered the warehouse from the loading dock. Just inside the door was the first bait box that I checked each visit. I picked up the box, opened the lid, and caught a sudden movement by an insect that my mind immediately recognized, and flagged with a sudden “get away from that” thought.
I dropped the box real quick.
Then I got to investigating what caused my alarm, and seen that it was a brown recluse spider. That was a surprise for me because I’d re-baited that box on a number of other visits to the warehouse. In fact I visited that building once every month, so that spider hadn’t been in the box long.
I decided to catch the spider with a glue board, and as I positioned the board to coax the insect onto it another recluse jumped out from behind the bait blocks.
Another scary surprise.
I managed to capture both spiders on the glue board, took it out to my truck, then continued my warehouse inspection.
Three bait boxes later I found another recluse, and then as I continued on I found a recluse in a cobweb at one end of the work bench.
The brown recluse spider is highly venomous, and you really don’t want to get too close to one. But you need to know that they really aren’t very reclusive anymore. Be careful when you move things around that you’ve stored for any period of time. You just might find one of these spiders in your face.