Missouri Couple Discovers Brown Recluse Infestation So Bad They “Bleed from the Walls”

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Updated: May 31, 2023
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Key Points

  • Brian and Susan Trost discovered the infestation of between 4,500 and 6,000 brown recluse spiders in their new house in Missouri in 2007. Attempts to remove them were unsuccessful, so they had no choice but to leave!
  • If they have the opportunity, recluse spiders will migrate inside, seeking food, warmth, and shelter in dark and secluded crevices of homes and feed on the abundant supply of dead and alive insects.
  • Once brown recluse spiders enter a building, it’ll only be a matter of time before they start to reproduce. Recluse spiders lay between 40 to 50 eggs within five silken egg sacs. 

Imagine relocating homes only to find your new property crawling with thousands of venomous spiders. In 2007, Missourans Brian and Susan Trost got more than they bargained for. Upon moving into their new house, they discovered a massive recluse spider invasion.

This freak event quickly escalated, with brown recluse spiders apparently “bleeding from the walls,” making the unfortunate family’s living situation uninhabitable and potentially life-threatening.

According to University of Kansas biology Professor Jamel Sandidge, between 4,500 and 6,000 recluse spiders were estimated to be living with the couple. Not only an inconvenient situation, but these uninvited arachnids are highly venomous and potentially dangerous to humans. 

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Attempts to remove them via methods of pest control were unsuccessful, leaving the homeowners no choice but to leave. 

Sharing our spaces with families of spiders and other pests is common. We might have a family of unwelcome house guests and not know it. Not only is co-existing with a few spiders harmless in many situations, but it can also be beneficial for pest control. However, an uncontrolled spider population could wreak havoc in your home and have you living in fear. 

Find out why spider infestations of this magnitude happen and what steps you can take to prevent and remove them from your living spaces. Also, many people mistake recluse spiders for other types of arachnids. With as many as 3,500 spider species inhabiting the United States, it’s easy to mix up different species of spiders. In this article, you will learn to identify recluse spiders based on their distinct features and characteristics

An Overview of Recluse Spiders

Most Dangerous Spiders

The brown recluse spider is one of the most dangerous spiders in the United States.

©Pong Wira/Shutterstock.com

The brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa, is found across the southern and mid-western United States. Although they vary in size, a fully grown spider is small — roughly the size of a quarter. The color of adults ranges between tan to dark brown, with the abdomen and legs uniform in color and bearing no lines, bands, or mottling. 

The brown recluse spider is also called the violin spider after the distinctive violin-shaped marking on its back. This striking feature might help laymen to differentiate between a brown recluse and other harmless eight-legged animals. 

Brown recluse spiders also have fewer eyes than other arachnids, which you can only view under a microscope. They have a total of three pairs spread across a semi-circle arrangement. 

Habitats of Recluse Spiders 

Brown recluse spider

The brown recluse spider can be found under rocks, logs, woodpiles, and debris.

©Nick626/Shutterstock.com

As its name suggests, the brown recluse spider is reclusive, taking refuge under rocks, logs, woodpiles, and debris in nature. 

If they have the opportunity, recluse spiders will migrate inside, seeking food, warmth, and shelter in dark and secluded crevices. Living in the shadows, they have secretive habits, which makes them hard to locate if they find a way into buildings and houses.

Why Do Recluse Spiders Find Our Homes Attractive?

Brown Recluse Spider

Brown recluse spiders like dark, moist, and cluttered areas

©iStock.com/StephenFB

One of the primary reasons brown recluse spiders relocate inside is to feed on the abundant supply of insects, both dead and alive, in our homes. 

Unfortunately, our living areas are breeding grounds for common pests like flies, mosquitoes, and roaches, which are a recluse spider’s favorite foods. Removing these pests might help to keep a home spider-free.

This species also prefers dark, moist, and cluttered areas, which is often why attics, sheds, and garages are badly overrun with spiders.

The Cause of Brown Recluse Spider Invasions

Once brown recluse spiders enter a home, it’ll only be a matter of time before they start to reproduce. Recluse spiders lay between 40 to 50 eggs within five silken egg sacs. Without early intervention, spider populations within the confines of a home can quickly spin out of control and become impossible to remove later. 

Clearing away webs and egg sacs can prevent the population of brown recluse spiders in your home from increasing tenfold.

Preventing Spider Invasions

Make a home as unappealing as possible to a spider! You can achieve this by putting up obstacles that discourage these creepy crawlies from entering your home in the first place. Exclusion is really the best and most harmless way of living peacefully with any type of spider.

Spiders will be deterred from entering a residence if there aren’t any identifiable access points. Seal, close, and shut cracks and openings around the home to prevent future invasions. If you have a garden, ensure it’s not overgrown by trimming trees and hedges and removing plant waste and weeds.

If there are signs of spiders in your home, it might not be too late to remove them and stop an invasion from advancing.

Vacuuming, decluttering, and keeping the rooms in your home orderly and organized may ward off brown recluse spiders. Like other spiders, brown recluse hunt and hide out in dark and neglected areas of the home. Attics, often a dumping ground for us, are a haven for spiders, so clearing out these unused spaces is a good idea.

Arachnids will follow their food source, so if you remove and exterminate their prey, recluse spiders will exit your home eventually to look for food elsewhere. However, these species of spider are resilient and can last for months without food or water, so removing other pests from your home before they attract other wildlife works best.

Signs That Spiders Are in Your Home 

If you suspect you’re not living alone, there are telltale signs that spiders are around. 

1. Spider Webs 

The most obvious sign that a brown recluse, or any spider for that matter, is around are webs dangling from walls, ceilings, hanging light fixtures, and other conceivable surfaces where arachnids can weave webs. 

If areas of the home that were once clean and web-free are now web infested, you might have an active infestation in your home.

2. Egg Sacs 

Egg sacs are a surefire indication that you have spiders. These sacs are sometimes located close to the spider’s web and are roughly the same size as an adult. 

3. Decrease in Other Pests 

Generally, having fewer swarms of buzzing insects is a good thing, but a sudden drop in pests might point to a hungry horde of spiders eating them. 

How To Remove Recluse Spiders 

Once recluse spiders are at home, removing them on your own is sometimes difficult. In addition to the risk of being bitten, getting rid of them without professional help is challenging because recluse spiders, who don’t want you to find them, hide in numerous spots. 

If you can’t bring in pest control, you can attempt to handle the spider removal yourself. The first step is to inspect your home thoroughly. Consider all the likely spider habitats — there could be many of them, including storage areas, closets, behind furniture, suspending ceilings, boxes, and walls.

Safety comes first when searching for recluse spiders. Don protective clothing, wear gloves and tape your clothes to your shoes and handwear so your skin and body don’t get into direct contact with a spider. To ensure that no part of you is exposed, consider purchasing a bee veil to protect your face.  

Recluse Spider Invasions and Why They’re Potentially Dangerous

A recluse brown spider invasion increases the danger of getting bitten by one. Although they’re not naturally aggressive, a recluse spider will bite if it’s trapped or confined against the skin, for example, at the bottom of a shoe, within the folds of clothes, or between the shelves of a bookcase. If many spiders are scurrying around various areas of your home, your chances of suffering from an accidental bite might grow. 

Though possessing necrotic venom, recluse spiders are often unfairly villainized, although their bites aren’t often severe or lethal. 

If your skin appears swollen and red, make an appointment with your local GP for treatment. The bite should clear without accompanying symptoms within a couple of weeks. 

That said, always tread cautiously. Spider bites of this kind can cause necrosis in the most extreme cases and need urgent medical care. 

How To Avoid Bites if You’ve Been Invaded by Recluse Spiders

If you have a confirmed active recluse spider infestation, you’ll need to protect yourself against unpleasant encounters until they’re eradicated. 

If you can’t evacuate your home temporarily, exercise caution in your day-to-day life.

These are just a few precautions you can take:

  • Shake out your outfits before wearing them, including shoes  
  • Keep items of clothing off the floor 
  • Wear long sleeves and pants in spider-occupied areas
  • Avoid going barefoot — wear slippers or shoes inside the house
  • Move your bed away from the wall so that spiders don’t crawl into your bed
  • Make your home as clutter-free as possible.

How Brown Recluse Spiders Help the Ecosystem

Despite the fear and negative reputation that brown recluse spiders have among humans, it is important to recognize their value in the ecosystem. As predators, these spiders serve as natural pest control agents by preying on insects and other pests such as cockroaches and crickets. Without this predator-prey relationship, populations of these nuisance pests would likely grow unchecked.

Furthermore, brown recluse spider venom has shown potential for medical research purposes. Specifically, scientists are interested in exploring how components of the venom could be used in developing treatments for blood clotting disorders such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is because certain compounds within the venom have been found to act as anticoagulants – substances that prevent blood from clotting too easily. By studying these compounds further, researchers hope to develop new therapies that can more effectively treat DVT and other similar conditions.

Overall, while it’s understandable why many people may not want brown recluse spiders around them due to their bites being venomous, we should remember they also play an important role in maintaining ecological balance. Additionally, with careful study of their unique properties like venom- which offers a glimpse into biological processes beyond our understanding- there lies potential for scientific advancement towards solving health problems otherwise considered incurable today!

Where is Missouri Located on a Map?

Located in the Midwest region of the United States, Missouri is a state that is bordered by eight neighboring states. To the north lies Iowa, while to the east are Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The state shares its southern border with Arkansas, and to the west, it is bordered by Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska.

Here is Missouri on a map:

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Nick626/Shutterstock.com


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