Why Do Spiders Come Inside in the Fall?

Black widows are one of two dangerous spiders in Sevierville TN - Johnson Pest ControlHave you noticed more and more spiders in your home recently? As summer comes to an end and the fall begins, spiders are more likely to be inside your property. Spiders typically hatch in the springtime. By the time autumn arrives, they can seem like they are in full force. These eight-legged creatures are drawn inside homes here in Sevierville TN in search of food, water, and shelter. Thankfully, most spiders you encounter in your home are harmless. That said, there are a couple spiders to keep an eye out for this fall. Keep reading for expert insight from the experts at Johnson Pest Control.

Black Widow vs Brown Recluse Infographic - Johnson Pest Control in Eastern TennesseePreventing Fall Spiders

No one wants to look up and see a spider crawling across their ceiling. To make your home less inhabitable to spiders, try out the following tips:

  1. Keep your lawn and yard trimmed. Overgrown bushes, shrubs, piles of wood, and more can attract spiders to your property and eventually indoors.
  2. Clean your home on a regular basis. Doing so can prevent insects that spiders like to prey on and eliminate hiding spots for pests.
  3. Seal any cracks and crevices. Inspect the inside and outside of your property for tiny spots that may be inviting spiders in, and seal properly.
  4. Install or repair screens on doors and windows. Holes or crevices in screens will easily invite spiders (and other pests) inside.
  5. Inspect boxes and used furniture prior to bringing them inside. Adult spiders or egg sacs could be nestled in old unopened boxes.

Are There Dangerous Spiders in the Fall?

The black widow and brown recluse spiders are dangerous any time of year, but are often seeing in or around your home in the late summer/early fall. Because these spiders can administer a dangerous bite when they are threatened, it’s important to learn how to identify them:

  • Brown recluse spiders: These spiders have a darker brown violin-shaped mark on their brown bodies. They build loose, dome-shaped webs for shelter. A brown recluse bite is known to be very painful.
  • Black widow: These spiders have a characteristic red hourglass shape on its body. They build sticky, tangled cobwebs in garages, sheds, and near the ground. They can bite when they feel threatened.

When to Get Spider Control

Seeing a few house spiders here and there is perfectly normal, especially this time of year. So how do you know when it’s time for a spider exterminator? If you are noticing excess webs, spiders, or dangerous spiders in your home, the experts at Johnson are here to help.

Where do Brown Recluse Spiders Live?

Brown Recluse spiders are pretty common in our area of Tennessee, as well as the rest of the Southeastern United States. Yet, there are many misconceptions about them. And certainly many misidentifications for the brown recluse spider.

First: What Does a Brown Recluse Spider Look Like?

We covered what the recluse looks like in another article a few weeks back. The recluse is not always the same brown-reddish look, but that is their normal. Their size can vary as well, a full grown brown recluse will get to where they would cover the area the size of a penny. The violin marking on the back and their eyes are always a big tip off to the brown recluse versus a wolf spider or other spider.

Dead Brown Recluse SpiderBut Where do Brown Recluse Spiders Live?

The brown recluse spider adheres to its name, it is a recluse and tries to stay away from people. You are the furthest thing from their interests. They prefer undisturbed places that are dryer in nature. You likely can find them in crawl spaces, garages, sheds, wood or storage piles, maybe guest rooms that are not used often. Often times when you hear about someone being bitten it is usually in a place of the house that has items which are not used frequently. Sheets from grandmothers extra room, gloves from dad’s storage shed, etc. are types of places that a brown recluse might set up shop where they come in contact with humans (resulting in a person getting bitten). Brown recluse will set up shop around the house in their own little communes. So if you see one, there are likely more. A good signal of having brown recluses is finding very erratically designed spider webs. In other spider webs, you get that traditional design that shows up on all the Halloween decorations. The recluse web just looks like a jumbled mess, think of it as if you took some thinned out cotton candy and stuff it in corners.

As with any pest, or rodent, you won’t find brown recluses if they are unable to find food sources. The brown recluse generally feeds on softer bodied insects like crickets (so think if you have ‘cave’ / ‘wolf’ crickets in your crawlspace), cockroaches, and firebrats are common food sources. If you look around the house and find some food sources then the possibility of having brown recluses around the home has increased.

What To Do With Brown Recluses In My Home?

It is impossible to get rid of brown recluses through the traditional tools and means used by pest control. Brown recluses are impervious to the normal sprays and will often hide in safe areas that are not touched by fumigation bombs. Often the best thing you can do is try to diminish the population and keep a little vigilance while living with them. What does “living with them” mean?

  • Make a regular rotation of washing clothes & sheets, even if nothing was used. If you have a guest room and people are coming over, wash the sheets beforehand and ruffle up the pillows, this will kill or alert you to any brown recluses call that room home.
  • If you have a shoe collection then shake out shoes before putting them on, especially if you have not worn in quite some time.
  • Put down sticky traps around the bases of the walls. This will help get rid of some of them and likely show you how many you have. Brown recluses will also eat their own, so sometimes you can get a second one when they try to eat their buddy.
  • Regularly clean up outdoor sheds and keep and eye out for brown recluse spider webs. If you recognize the presence of them then treating the area with a little caution might be called for.

This would be what one might come up with to ‘live with’ recluses in your house.

You can contact your pest control provider to see if they have brown recluse programs. Programs like this are move involved than general pest programs so you would have to see if they can offer that type of service.

The big myth that gets perpetuated by news reports is that brown recluses are aggressive spiders that are hunting us down. That is not the case. It is just a matter of them being disturbed by us in a place that they thought they were cool to be all alone and do their thing.

Tennessee Bugs that Hurt

Tennessee Bugs that HurtThere are a lot of bugs out there in the world that do nothing but look weird and freak us out. However, there are a number of bugs here in that actually do pose a danger to humans either through carried diseases or poisonous bites. So from West Nile to the Brown Recluse here is a pretty good run down of Tennessee bugs that can cause a little hurt.

This article from the Murfreesboro Post (middle Tennessee) highlights a handful of the bugs that you need to be concerned over.

For years I tended to not worry too much about being bitten by mosquitoes, ticks or other common insects.

For years I tended to not worry too much about being bitten by mosquitoes, ticks or other common insects.

Although I considered the bites a nuisance, I didn’t pay much attention to the need for protection from these aggravating pests.

Times have changed, though. Now we all should be paying heed to the warnings from experts to avoid being bitten by local ticks, mosquitoes and spiders.

The most common pesky bites come from mosquitoes. In our area some mosquitoes are carriers of the West Nile Virus. Each year local health departments will confirm through testing that a small percentage of local mosquitoes are carrying West Nile virus.

Not all mosquitoes carry the virus. The question is whether you really want to play the mosquito lottery. It is impossible to know which ones carry the virus and which do not.

There is no reason to panic, but caution and prudence is advised. Even those that are bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile have a relatively small chance of becoming seriously ill.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), West Nile virus will cause a fever and flu like symptoms in about one out of five people who are infected.

For some unfortunate victims, however, the disease can be serious or possibly even fatal. Fortunately less than 1 percent of those infected will be subject to the serious neurological illness (meningitis or encephalitis) that can be fatal.

However, the outcome of the serious consequences of the disease can be so tragic that it is a good idea to use repellants wisely.

Many people are also concerned about Lyme disease after a tick bite.

In our area Lyme disease can be transmitted by a tick bite and can be a very serious disease, but it is still very rare. Although the problem is significant in Northern states, in the South is it not a widespread. Less than a dozen confirmed cases are reported on average annually in Tennessee.

However, Lyme disease can be very serious if an infection occurs. Widespread arthritic pain and other symptoms can go on for years. Treatment with antibiotics is necessary if Lyme disease is confirmed.

The disease is carried primarily by deer ticks, which can be identified as a small tick with a black spot on their back.

Although many people including some health care providers believe that another tick known as the Lone Star tick also carries Lyme disease, the CDC refutes this belief. The Lone Star tick can be distinguished by a white spot on the back.

Although it does not carry Lyme disease, the Lone Star tick has been implicated in causing severe red meat allergies that can result in serious illness.

Tennessee ticks also may be carrying Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Although the name Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) may lead one to assume it is primarily a problem in Western states, in fact Tennessee is one of the states where the disease is more widespread.

As the name implies, people that have been infected will often have an occurrence of a rash that is associated with wide spread red spots. The illness can be very severe or possibly fatal in some individuals.

A couple of common spiders can be a problem for Tennesseans. The Brown Recluse spider is quite common in businesses, homes, storage sheds and other buildings in the area.

As the name implies the brown recluse tends to avoid people and will only bite if injured. This can happen accidentally in beds, furniture, when putting on shoes or boots or in other circumstances. If the spider cannot escape and a body part ends up pressing against it, a bite can occur.

Brown recluse spider bites can cause local tissue damage that can result in permanent loss of tissue. It is very rare that wide spread damage occurs.

Black widow spiders can be found around household foundations, under rocks and logs and in other outdoor places. These spiders are a deep glossy black with a bright orange or red hourglass shape on their underside.

Contrary to legend, black widow bites are not likely to be deadly and rarely cause permanent damage to the victim. The bite can cause very severe pain and other symptoms that can last for a week or more however.

Taking the time to teach family members how to avoid being bitten by these insects is the best plan to avoid the potentially serious consequences of a bite.

Brown Recluse Pictures

The Brown Recluse is one of a few spiders in the United States that is poisonous. It is also a spider that is readily found in Tennessee. One of the other poisonous spiders that can be found in Tennessee is the Black Widow. The Black Widow spider has a really distinct look to it which makes that spider easy to identify. The Brown Recluse, however, can be difficult to identify even if you know what you are looking for.

Here are a series brown recluse pictures to help you know whether or not the spider you are seeing around your home is a brown recluse.

Brown Recluse Pictures

Brown Recluse Pictures | Johnson Pest Control
The legs of a brown recluse look proportionately bigger than the body
Brown Recluse Pictures | Johnson Pest Control
The brown recluse can be difficult to identify because it blends so well with its surroundings.
Brown Recluse Pictures | Johnson Pest Control
This is a great shot of the Violin marking on the brown recluse that is a primary identifier
Brown Recluse Pictures | Johnson Pest Control
Brown Recluse spider isolated on a white background crawling


East Tennessee Spiders: The Brown Recluse

Spiders are everywhere these days. With the global trade systems we’ve had in place for a few centuries spiders unique to different parts of the world are now common finds just about everywhere.

East Tennessee has a few spiders that you might find more regularly than others. It is good to know what to look for and understand them.

31_Brown Recluse Spider

Brown Recluse Facts

The brown recluse is a spider everyone in East Tennessee is aware of, but often times is confusing and mis-identified. Often times people will say that you need to look for the violin/fiddle along their back by the head. I am not sure if you like me, but I’d rather not get that close to them to see such a small identifier. Besides, other spiders have similar markings so this shouldn’t be your sole identifier. The brown recluse will have eight eyes, with two eyes batched together in three different spots. Again, this identifier might get you closer to the spider than I’d choose to be, but it is one of the more distinctive marks of the recluse. Their abdomen, bottom area of body, is generally an oval shape with their head area (cephalothorax) being flat and pear shaped. What might be most striking when seeing a recluse is that their legs are very prominent. When you see many spiders the legs match the size of the body, thin body/thin legs or thick body/thick legs. With a recluse the body can be quite thin and the legs can see oddly thick in proportion.

Recluses generally are non-aggressive and solitary insects. They like to hang out in dark areas of a home (furniture, cupboards, cluttered areas). They do not want to hurt or bite you. The name ‘recluse’ is intentional for a reason. However, they do hide out in places that you can come into contact with them and their venom is potent enough to cause harm if not treated. If you are going under a house, cleaning darker areas, or turning over furniture that doesn’t get mixed up then you have a probability of coming across a recluse. That probability of crossing paths is even higher if you have seen them in your home before.

Brown Recluse Spiders in Tennessee

The big trouble with Brown Recluse’s is that they are terribly difficult to get rid of.

If you spot a brown recluse in your home then, unfortunately, there is likely to be more hiding out somewhere. Vastly different from a Black Widow found in the home would be more of a singular instance as they do not live proximally with other widows.

Recluses are resistant to many pesticides as their legs do not have the same hair other spiders have. That thicker hair is what picks up pesticides and thus killing off the spider/s. Foggers can kill recluses, but often times they hide out in areas that foggers cannot reach. The brown recluse can also hide out without eating for weeks. Foggers & pesticides generally cannot penetrate the egg shell of a recluse, so even if you can get the live spiders you might have a new batch showing up a short time later.

If you want to get rid of the Brown Recluses in your home then the word is ‘thorough’. You will need to put an adequate pesticide in every nook and cranny throughout the house. This ‘thorough’ application includes under the house, in the attic and outside the house. Not mention under, and sometimes inside, furniture. You will want to remove webs throughout the house. To test your work you can put down sticky traps perpendicular to the wall edges to see if any recluses show up. If they do then you will need to repeat the process. We did say they were tough to get rid of.

You can always contact us to help with identifying and removal of a brown recluse problem in your home or business. We pride ourselves on our work and customer service in getting the job done and keeping your family and home pest free.