Brown Recluse Spider

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Forum topic by Sac posted 07-05-2008 11:29 PM 11031 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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268 posts in 4274 days

07-05-2008 11:29 PM

For information on this critter please read about the Brown Recluse Spider here. I’ve never given thought to this hazard in the workshop. I use mothballs in the garage along the walls and in the 2 closets we have in the garage and hard to get to places like behind the freezer. Mice don’t like moth balls. I’ve never seen a spider or it’s web where there were moth balls also.

The reason I mention the Brown Recluse Spider is that they are or could be a danger to you if your not sure what to look for in it’s bite. The other day when I ran across the wonderful lumber I purchased I was about to load a piece and noticed three egg sacks. I don’t know what type of spider egg sack it was. As I have done in the past I just pinched them all three togather to kill the eggs or little ones inside. I hate Spiders! Yes some are beneficial but in general I hate spiders! Well when I pinched the three egg sacks togather of course the usual, the egg sacks oozed the contents. But this time was different than all the other times. I felt several pin pricks on the tip of my right hand index finger. It immediatly started swelling up. Not to bad but about the size of a a half a dime in length and about 1/16 to 1/8 in size. It bothered me for a moment since this was a first. All I could first think about was a friend of mine I use to work with and his Brown Recluse Spider Bite.

Well within 15-20 minutes as I continued to load lumber the pain eventually went away (very minor pain) but the swelling remained and there is still remnants of the swelling but not so much as it is calloused over.

On our Nations birthday yesterday when I was disassembling my old lumber rack in preperation to build my new one, I was on the last bottom rail piece removing some screws about 1730. I saw the spider drop and I simply smashed it up against the wood rail piece. Within seconds the outside of my third finger on my left hand started to swell. I though to myself, “Wow, umm did I pull a tendon or tear any of the muscle in that finger” as I worked to clean up the area when the old lumber rack siit I could feel a little more swelling and even some swelling in the palm area where the finger and hand meet. A little odd feeling. I looked at the finger nad couldn’t tell what had happened. Then I thought about the possability of the spider biting me.

As the evening went on, feeding the horses and goats, showers and then getting the ribs off the grill. We had a nice dinner on the deck watchig the local fireworks off in the distance and watching the Pigeon Forge fireworks show way off in the distance. I often felt more swelling in my palm Oh I did for get to mention that when I lshut up the garage for the night and went in the house I told my wife that I thought I had been bitten. She gave me three bynedryle.

We sit and watch the fireworks for several hours and went in to watch a movie about 2230 I could feel a little more pain the the finger and the palm area and the right outside area of my forearm from hand to elbow. We turned the upper light on to take a look and then I could finally confirm a spider bite. I called the Er just to see if I should come in. Sheesh the girl on the other end was rude and had no answers for me. I came and then pulled up a search on the Brown Recluse . Well it sure looked like what I saw. I had the discoloration and bruising like affect in the outside and bottom area of the finger. I did as the web site recommended. I gathered the left over pieces in a baggie and went to the ER. By the time I got there the actual brusing had spread to the area where the finger joints the hand.

First thing I learned is that the ER doctors can’t confirm the type of bite until 12-24 hours have passed. They couldn’t ID the left over spider parts I brought in. I should have just cut that small area of the wood out when the spider was a little more recognizable. He did express a little concern and went through the questions of any other symptoms. All were negative. By this time thearea in the upper left forarm woould get rigid when it hurt. The doc confirmed the route of the nerve of that finger. He did give a tetenus as recommended in the DDR (Doctors Desk Reference) and a prescription for an antibiotic call keflef or something like that. I never read the prescription form and my wife is getting it filled for me since she went out to do a little shopping. I have some PenVK but the dioc said this was better for this kind of possible infection.

Here it is 24 hours later. I am relieved that there is no signs of any dead tissue at this time. I still have the spider in the baggie as the doc said hang on to it just in case I have to come back. The bruising is still there along with the area that is swelled. It’s nothing major to look at thank God.

So when working around your shop just try to beware of this spider. I’ve seen 100’s of black widows and know their tell tale signs of the web they create and the areas they prefer to live. I’ve seen hundreds of these brown recluse spiders but just never held onto one between a board and my ahnd before. I never felt the bite. So Please beware folks. And if you suspect a bite go see your Doc asap or head off to the ER. Keep in mind what I said about the 12-24 hour windowof identifying the type of bite. In a more populous area your doctors may know as soon as they see the bite.

Sorry for the long read. I know mine can get boring.

-- Jerry

35 replies so far

View lew's profile


12960 posts in 4395 days

#1 posted 07-05-2008 11:40 PM


Sure hope it wasn’t a “brown” the effects can be nasty and long lasting. Not to scare you, but keep an eye on it. I had a student that was bitten on the leg. It took skin grafts to finally get it healed.

As soon as you get back in your shop, I want you to make one of these- the one in the middle-

Then when you see another spider- go Gallagher on him!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View SteveKorz's profile


2139 posts in 4354 days

#2 posted 07-05-2008 11:50 PM

Hey Jerry…

About 3 years ago, my wife was out in our barn, and she got bitten in the back of the left knee. It hurt her, and we kept an eye on it, but did not suspect a spider bite. About 30-36 hours after the bite, she got a huge fever and almost passed out. I looked at the site where she was having pain and thought, “oh God, we’ve got to get her to a Dr.” Lots of antibiotics and some dead tissue later… man what an ordeal. We’ve learned our lesson since then.

I totally agree with Lew…

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4055 posts in 4704 days

#3 posted 07-06-2008 12:15 AM

Nasty little buggers. I took a bite on the upper thigh several years back. There was a zone of necrotic (dead) tissue approximately 1/2˝ in diameter and about an 1/8˝ deep around the bite. It took a long time to fill back in. Jerry – you can Gallagher one for me anytime.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View Sac's profile


268 posts in 4274 days

#4 posted 07-06-2008 12:45 AM

Oh I am keeping an eye on it since the swelling and bruising is still there. I hope it wasn’t a Brown also. I’ll get a couple of pictures when the wife brings my camera home from work.

-- Jerry

View Josh's profile


119 posts in 4578 days

#5 posted 07-06-2008 01:23 AM

I had spider almost get the best of me a few years back. I was at a wedding and when we were leaving I walked into a spider. The thing bit me right below the throat. I didn’t think to much of it. the next thing i know I was puking everywhere. I couldn’t talk and I was sweating something fierce. My wife and sister decided I had to much fun so they took me home for the night. I could hear my wife saying something isn;t right, but i couldn’t say boo.

The next day i had what i called a sheriff badge on my chest. The red and white bullseye type marking was rather large and off to the ER i went. AT the time we weren’t sure what it was that got me. We just hoped it wasn’t a brown recluse because of the skin issue. I guess I was rather lucky it wasn’t worse.

I hope everything works out ok for you.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4414 days

#6 posted 07-06-2008 01:41 AM

A photo is worth a thousand words – here is what this little spider can do (and no, this isn’t me or anyone I know, just something that was forwarded to us). But PLEASE, if you are squeamish, you might want to pass on the pictures . . . not pretty!

Day 3

Day 5

Day 6

Day 9

Day 10

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View jcees's profile


1078 posts in 4439 days

#7 posted 07-06-2008 03:48 AM

I live in Central FL where we have EVERYTHING that crawls, flies, bites, stings or eats you. We’ve had a problem for the past few years with Brown Widows, an African import. They’re just as deadly as their Black kin. They have the same egg sacks that are spikey and white as cotton and NEVER smash ‘em with your bare flesh. The webs are irregular and usually there’s no other sign of her BUT, she’s around and you’d best keep an eye out. The only advantage is that widows are shy and don’t really like attention. Bites are uncommon and usually due to disturbing them in their hiding place.

Widows hunt at night so if you like to putter in the garage in the evening, wear your gloves when turning lumber over and don’t forget to look up. Also, if one is established, you’ll note whitish fallout [fecal matter] around her lair. Sometimes that’s all you’ll see. If you do, look above the fallout for a hiding place, a nook or cranny or some other smallish space large enough for a spider about the size of your pinky to fit in. Hose it with poison and wait. She’ll drop out eventually. Then you can ID her by flipping her over with a stick to see the bright orange to red hourglass on her abdomen. Creepy!

As a side note, I allow Daddy Long-Legs to stay around as they are a natural enemy of widows. Their fangs are too short to harm humans but they have no problem with widows. Other than that, I keep a can of Raid handy.


P.S. Sac, do not suffer fools in hospitals lightly, they have a tendency to bury their mistakes. Seek someone who’ll listen to you and take you serious. Recluse bites aren’t usually fatal but as those pics show, they are disfiguring and can lead to worse conditions like myelitis or MRSA which CAN kill you.

-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Allison's profile


820 posts in 4439 days

#8 posted 07-06-2008 04:26 AM

I don’t want to really get into it, but my husband was bit around 72 hours ago by something on his neck. He was sure, as I was, it was a brown. His neck is pretty nasty but is not bruised. It looks nothing like the pictures on the links here.It happened in bed, he woke up asking me to look at it. The only way I could explain it is it looked like this () A smile and a frown together,that was bright red with a whole bunch of red dots around it. It was no time at all that it looked like connect the dots. It is now this huge scab looking thing. He did not get ill. It’s funny how things happen. I am so thankful for this post, as we were both sure this was a brown recluse that had done this.
Thank you so very much. I also am praying yours was not either. I can not thank you enough for posting this when you did. I myself almost died of a spider bite in 1992. So they can be very serious.
Again thanks. I learned a lot here with the links and all.

-- Allison, Northeastern Ca. Remember, Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

View Grumpy's profile


26018 posts in 4491 days

#9 posted 07-06-2008 05:02 AM

Don’t send that spider down here Sac, we have enough of those nasty critters. On e is called the redback, it likes hanging around in places like wood & outside dunnies. Not necessarily leathal but will make you very sick. another is the Funnel web, a nasty leathal critter indeed. None in my neck of the woods luckily.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View snowdog's profile


1167 posts in 4623 days

#10 posted 07-06-2008 01:16 PM

Who said there are no monsters left on earth ( besides a few crazy humans), they were wrong.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View Sac's profile


268 posts in 4274 days

#11 posted 07-06-2008 01:18 PM

Good Morning folks. It’s been 38 hours now since the bite. the finger is stil swollen and bruised. No skin tissue as of 7am this morning. So it may heal and be done with. I’ll still be keeping a close eye on it. Thank you all for your support and such. Allison the timing of this post was a little uncanny it seems.

My main objective of the post was to just remind folks that there is this danger in our shops.

The home of the Black widows here in TN, well all of the ones I have seen are easily identifiable by the funnel like web leading into thier home/den.

Anyway I’ll keep you all posted if any changes take place.
Thanks again for all your post and information on this hazard in our shops.

-- Jerry

View Myron Wooley's profile

Myron Wooley

226 posts in 4536 days

#12 posted 07-06-2008 06:45 PM

Thanks for the heads up. Here in So Cal we don’t have the Brown Recluse, but Black Widows are everywhere. I’ve taught the kids how to identify their webs, which are just a mess. No funnel or shape, just strands going every which way. I have found them in meter boxes, around the swimming pool, in the kid’s climbing toys, under the picnic table, in the firewood pile, just about every place imaginable.
And then we get to the rattlesnakes…

Stay safe!

-- The days are long and the years are short...

View swied's profile


74 posts in 4402 days

#13 posted 07-07-2008 12:32 AM

I found a black widow in my garage a couple of days ago. Here is my spider removal technique:

- Get a can of compressed air and turn it upside down. Inverting the can causes the air to come out extremely cold and frosty.
- Spay the cold air on the spider. This will paralyze it for a minute or so.
- If you are an animal lover you can put it in a bag, and release it somewhere else.
- If not then you can easily grab it and smush its guts out.

Going after the spider without paralyzing it first can be hazardous. They sometime jump at you, and your neighbors will think you are strange when they see you jumping around the yard hitting yourself all over.

-- Scott, San Diego

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4887 days

#14 posted 07-07-2008 02:37 AM

In northern Michigan they’ll grow to the size of a small tree frog. A few years ago when we were camping in our truck camper in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore the kids found one one night that I swear was as big as a half dollar legs and all. I’m sure it was a brown. They had it trapped under a glass bowl and it had another spider in its jaws darn near as big as it was. I just had the kids get back and I took off the bowl and danced like James Brown for about 2 minutes on both of them then sprayed Raid around the campsite, camper and on the soles of my shoes just to make sure;, those things were hugh!!!

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Sac's profile


268 posts in 4274 days

#15 posted 07-07-2008 04:26 PM

Hello folks, Sorry I haven’t given an update. Lew reminded me to tho. I am 65 hours into the bite. The finger is still swollen and not tender to the touch. The bruising is still along the bite area still extending to the hand joint. It has subsided on the bottom area of the finger. If I push slightly on bite area there is some pain. It is kinda weird since the pain, even as slight as it is,is still there as I type this out. So I am not sure what to think of this swelling and bruising still being here. But as it says about the Browns bite, some folks will heal in time on thier own. With the antibiotics maybe this is the case. I’ve prayed it is. Further up dats in a day or so.

Thanks for asking Lew.

-- Jerry

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