Brown Recluse vs. House Spider: What’s the Difference?

May 23, 2022 | Spiders

Brown Recluse vs. House Spider: What's the Difference?

The difference between the two can be hard to tell at first glance. But this quick read can help you get a headstart on identifying these repulsive and dangerous household pests. Also, a fair warning, you should never get close to a spider or try to tackle it without knowing its kind because some of them can be dangerous and poisonous. There are more than 40,000 spider species in the world, and their bites can be pretty fatal for humans and, if left untreated, can even cause death.

Key takeaways

  • Brown recluse spiders are a dangerous household pest whose venom can cause serious health issues.
  • To identify a brown recluse spider, look for its distinctive violin-shaped mark on its back, six eyes, uniform legs, and dark, hidden habitat.
  • To prevent and get rid of brown recluse spiders, check dark corners with a flashlight, use glue traps and insecticides, declutter, and light up dark areas.

What are brown recluse spiders?

Brown recluse or Loxosceles reclusa is a common household pest whose bite can be pretty dangerous. How do you identify them before they can bite you? What does a brown recluse look like?

These are generally tiny, almost the size of a quarter. They are tan to dark brown and have distinctive six eyes and an almost violin-like shape on their backs. A regular house spider is nearly a brown recluse look alike and can be very confusing to identify.

Many toxins in the brown recluse’s venom can cause serious health issues in humans when bitten. Medical research says that the two chemicals found in the venom, Sphingomyelinase D and Hyaluronidase, can lead to skin damage, nausea, and pain.

How do you differentiate brown recluse from other common house spiders?

Here are a few ways to help you identify and differentiate them from other common house spiders. The first step in identifying a brown recluse is to know whether they actually live in your area. Studies have found that the Brown recluse is not a common spider in California. Of course, spiders can send you into a frenzy because, let us admit it, they are creepy creatures. But do not panic without any reason, do some research on its habitat before identifying its characteristics.


This spider is tiny in size, almost the size of the US quarter. There have been no known cases of them being found in larger sizes.

Color patterns and markings

They have a tan to dark brown color range but have no particular stripes, bands, or spots on their backs. The most distinguishing feature of a brown recluse is the violin-shaped mark on its back, and the head of the violin always points toward the spider’s abdomen.

Number of eyes

The brown recluse, also known as the brown recluse black widow spider in some regions of America, has a very distinct eye pattern that can help in identifying them. They have six eyes, whereas most common house spiders have eight.


The legs have no stripes or marks. They are uniform, quite long, and very thin. They also do not have a conspicuous spine, and these features are very consistent among all mature adult brown recluses. Their legs are slanted, their body resides low, and their legs bend to make them angle up pointedly. Other spiders that look like brown recluses have spines and or spikes and patterns on their legs but not this one.


Are you too scared to get close to the spider to examine it and determine its type? Looking at its web might help. If you see them spinning webs and in cervices and corners of the house, they are common house spiders. Brown recluses always stay hidden during the day and make their webs in places you can hardly find, like below furniture or beds.


You can also choose to observe its behavior. It is probably not a Brown recluse if it stays out in the daylight and starts to spin webs right in front of your eyes. Brown recluse spiders are very private and love to stay in the dark and dingy corners of the house.


They mostly live in the darkest corners of your house, like storerooms, kitchen cabinets, wall-floor junctions, and cluttered junk items.

Danger level

There might be some isolated cases of house spider bites being fatal or dangerous, but a brown rescue bite is most of the time quite dangerous. Though most bites don’t kill you, for people who are allergic or have other underlying medical conditions, it can be life-threatening if not treated immediately.

Ways to get rid and prevent brown recluse from your home

Here are some ways to get rid of and prevent brown recluse spiders from your home:


  • Once you site a scary spider in your house, get a big flashlight and check the dark corners of your house, the basement, for example, if you have one. This will help you identify the dwelling spot of these spiders and the level of infestation.
  • Set up glue traps to catch and kill these spiders by impairing their legs with the glue.
  • Spray insecticides on the infested area and kill some of the spiders.
  • If you want to prevent such infestations, you must not keep cluttered items around the house.
  • Light up your storeroom, basement, or other dark areas around the house to make the place inhabitable for brown rescues.

Stop a brown recluse infestation

If you have an infestation in your home and need help controlling the spiders, we are here to help. Our pest control professionals can help you exterminate these unwanted pests and treat the whole area to ensure that these creepy spiders do not come back.

Call us now to request an appointment with us to get started.

Adam Judnich

Adam Judnich

Owner @ Arrest A Pest

Serving the entire Coachella Valley

Arrest A Pest is your top-rated pest and bug control solution in the Coachella Valley! As a family-owned and operated business, our technicians grew up in the Coachella Valley and have a deep understanding of the pests in our area.

We understand that every pest infestation is an emergency, and we offer quick, safe, and thorough pest solutions and preventions for your home or business. No matter what pests are invading your space, our technicians are armed with state-of-the-art technology designed to rid your home or business of pests and help you stay pest-free long into the future.

Contact us today to schedule your FREE evaluation and let our team send the pests packing!

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