Fall is here and winter is getting closer every day. You probably have noticed more spiders crawling around your house as a result in the change in weather. Missouri and Kansas are known as heavy Brown Recluse areas, but there is a lot of misconception about Brown Recluse identification. To keep your family safe and help you differentiate safe spiders from poisonous ones, here are our tips on Brown Recluse identification.

brown recluse identification

Check the Color

The easiest first step in Brown Recluse identification is to check the color of the spider. Like the name implies, a Brown Recluse spider has a brown body, either dirt or sandy brown colored, and a slightly darker marking at the center. The legs have no additional markings and are completely uniform in color. You can rule out the idea that it is a Brown Recluse if the spider has stripes or other markings on its legs, if the body has any markings on the body, or if the legs are darker than the body.

The common wolf spider and Brown Recluse can easily be confused because they are very similar in color, but the wolf spider does not have the violin-shaped marking behind its head like the Brown Recluse does.

Black Widows can also be confused with a Brown Recluse but they are not very similar in color or markings. While not always shiny black, a Black Widow can also be a shade of brown or gray and are a bit easier to spot. Female Black Widow spiders have two blood red triangles arranged in an hourglass shape on the underside of their belly while the male has marking on the top of the body which are a row of reddish dots and white or yellow lines.

Look for a Violin Shape for Brown Recluse Identification

The next step in Brown Recluse identification is to check for the violin shape on the spider’s body. This violin shape is a slightly darker brown color than the rest of the body. Brown Recluse spiders are also called a violin spider, or fiddle-back spider. Even though finding the fiddle shape is an easy way to identify the spider, it is not easy to spot. There are other spiders that have a similar shape on their body, so this alone isn’t a great identifier for a Brown Recluse. Check the color of the violin shape closely, if it has any spots of different pigments than it is not a Brown Recluse.

Count the Eyes

This may creep you out, but counting the eyes is one of the surefire ways to identify a Brown Recluse spider. Most spiders have eight eyes, but the Brown Recluse only has six eyes arranged in pairs. One pair is in the center with a pair on either side. The eyes are very small so you may need a magnifying glass in order to see them. Be sure you actually capture a suspected Brown Recluse spider in a cup or jar so you can get a good look at the eyes.

Look at Fine Body Hairs

We are definitely challenging your comfort level here! The last step in Brown Recluse identification is to check the body for fine hairs. The body of a Brown Recluse is covered with many fine and short hairs, but there are no spines on its body or legs. If you see a spider with spines, it is definitely not a Brown Recluse.

Brown Recluse spiders can be very hard to identify just because they are very elusive and when they do come out of their hidden areas that they infest they are usually active at night. However, catching a Brown Recluse and analyzing its markings will let you know if you have an infestation. If you catch one Brown Recluse, you probably have more. In this case, you will need a professional spider exterminator to come out and help cleanse your property of these pests.