Brown Recluse Spiders Invading St. Louis Homes

"They just seem to be everywhere. There's no place that's sacred."

Brett Blume
July 10, 2018 - 4:30 am


ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - A local pest control expert is warning residents to keep an eye out for brown recluse spiders, whose numbers are sharply higher this summer.

Rottler Pest and Lawn Solutions owner Gary Rottler tells KMOX that calls for help concerning the brown recluse are running about 50 percent higher than normal for this time of year.

"A lot of people are calling and they're finding (brown recluse spiders) in their bedrooms, in their bathrooms, walking across the couch," he explains. "They just seem to be everywhere. There's no place that's sacred."

Rottler says the spiders aren't looking for confrontations with people, and most encounters are accidental.

"You know this time of year, people will clear out their garage or clear out their basement and they get into boxes and stuff that they haven't been into in a long time," he says. "That's when people disturb (the spiders)."

To reduce the likelihood of an encounter, he suggests not having piles of clothes on the floor, storing long-term items in sealed plastic containers, and shaking out any clothes or shoes that haven't been worn in a while.

Rottler attributes the sharp rise in brown recluse encounters to a long winter followed by an almost non-existent spring, and now daily temperatures in the 90s or higher.

He also says the brown recluse seems to be expanding its territory.

"Years ago, we used to just get them in older parts of town like Kirkwood, Webster Groves and University City -- the older houses," according to Rottler. "This year, we're getting them in brand new construction, houses less then five or 10 years old."

Brown recluse spiders are venomous -- bites can cause fever, rash, chills and nausea, among other side effects.

They almost always warrant a visit to a doctor or even the emergency room.