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Posted: March 30, 2016

Spring cleaners, beware: Brown recluse spiders could be lurking in the shadows

Recluse spider or Brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa), Sicariidae. Artwork by Rebecca Hardy. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
De Agostini Picture Library
Recluse spider or Brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa), Sicariidae. Artwork by Rebecca Hardy. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

By Cox Media Group National Content Desk

As if you needed another excuse not to clean your house.

According to KFVS, brown recluse spiders become more active as the weather warms up – just in time for spring cleaning.

Here's what you need to know to identify – and avoid – the unwelcome arachnids:

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1. What do they look like? The nocturnal spiders can be as large as a half-dollar and usually have violin-shaped markings on their upper body. 

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2. Where are they found? According to Live Science, brown recluses live in the southern and central U.S., including the following states:

  • Alabama 
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana 
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Texas

They like "dark, secluded places," such as in closets or under garbage cans, Live Science reports. They might be lurking in boxes, shoes or clothes in your garage or basement, Holly Schwarting, who works for Kansas State University's Department of Entomology, told KFVS.

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3. Are brown recluses dangerous? While fatalities are rare, you definitely don't want to get bitten by one.

"The brown recluse spider's bite can be kind of a nasty one," Schwarting told KFVS. "Their venom contains a material that causes our tissue to break down, so it can create a lesion and a slow-healing wound."

The bite may have a red or purple circle around it, according to MedlinePlus. Bite victims may experience discomfort, chills, itching, nausea, fever and sweating, the site says. Rarely, the bites can cause jaundice, kidney failure, blood in urine, seizures and comas. 

You should go to the nearest hospital, call 911 or contact the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 if you think you've been bitten, according to MedlinePlus.

4. How can I protect myself while cleaning? 

Schwarting offered the following tips to KFVS:

  • Wear leather gloves
  • Shake out shoes and coats
  • Set up glue traps
  • Pay attention to your surroundings

Read more here.

>> Click here to watch the video from KFVS

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