Brown Recluse vs. House Spider Infestations

By proofPest

So, you found a spider in your house, but what creepy critter did you actually see scurrying across your hallway?

While they may look similar, there are many differences between a brown recluse vs. house spider infestation, like their bites and distribution indoors. 

Knowing the distinction between these two pests can protect you from painful side effects, so keep reading to learn about a brown recluse and a house spider infestation!

Differences in Appearance 

House spiders and brown recluse spiders tend to look very similar, but there’s one easy way to tell these two apart. The key identifier of a brown recluse is a violin-shaped marking on the pest’s body. 

Both range in size from a quarter of an inch to over half an inch, with their long legs taking up most of the spider’s length. 

While visually similar from afar, it’s relatively easy to tell these pests apart whenever you inch closer for a better look. Brown recluse spiders are typically one solid light brown color except for the dark brown violin-shaped marking on their heads. 

House spiders are brown with different colors spread across their abdomens. They typically have dotted and striped patterns with white, dark brown, and black colorations. 


House spider roaming through home

Poisonous spider inside residential toilet. Arachnophobia concept, fear of spider. Spider bite or fingering.

Brown Recluse vs. House Spider: Habitat

There are many spider species considered to be house spiders, like the brown recluse, black widow, and hobo spider; however, the house spider is a species found in many of proof.’s service areas. 

As their name suggests, house spiders primarily live in homes or commercial buildings, preferring temperature-controlled spaces over the great outdoors. You’re more likely to see these pests inside than any other species. 

Brown recluse spiders are similarly located inside, but they’re more likely to spend their days in unseen or hidden places inside your home. Homeowners typically encounter brown recluse infestations in their attics, garages, basements, or inside storage boxes. 

When outside, brown recluses prefer to spend their days nestled up on webs in trees or on rocks, wood piles, or lawn debris, according to the University of Kentucky’s entomology department

The common house spider may linger around gardens or spaces in your yard, but you’re more likely to spot these arachnids indoors or in outdoor structures. Many have spotted them around sheds, garages, basements, or in the corners of unused rooms

If you have dusty bookshelves, nooks, and crannies that barely see the light of day, house spiders could use these spots as their new webbed homes. 

Both spider species create webs, but brown recluse spiders also hunt for food. Unlike other spiders relying on sticky webs to catch their next meal, brown recluse spiders creep through your home or yard to acquire the right insect. 

These two share a standard diet too. Like most other spiders, these arachnids feed on any insects populating your home. Here’s a handy list of bugs that these spiders may prey on:

  • Ants
  • Flies
  • Cockroaches
  • Silverfish
  • Earwigs
  • Smaller spiders

Homes with an abundance of insects are typically hotspots for spiders. If you have an uncontrolled insect infestation inside, you may have a few new eight-legged friends hanging around–literally!

Brown Recluse vs. House Spider Dangers

Spiders bites are no fun, especially when a venomous pest bites you. 

In the United States, only two spiders have a medically significant bite. Others, like the yellow sac spider and hobo spider, have been reported as having painful bites, but this isn’t yet proven.

The brown recluse and black widow spiders are the most venomous species across the states. While the black widow can leave you feeling poorly with its nasty side effects, a brown recluse spider bite may land you in a hospital. 

These pests have necrotizing venom, meaning their bites have a chance of causing the surrounding tissue to decay. For spider bite victims, their skin could develop deep and painful lesions that eat away at the surface of their skin. 

While bites like these are rare, they can still cause issues for young children, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals, especially if they develop these severe and often debilitating symptoms.

These bites aren’t often fatal but may leave you with an uncomfortable reminder of the experience. Here are some symptoms you may experience following a brown recluse spider bite:

  • Redness 
  • Burning 
  • Tingling 
  • Fever
  • Itchiness
  • Lethargy
  • Weeping Lesions

The more severe symptoms may take a few days, but you should always visit a doctor if a brown recluse spider bites you. Because of the chance of severe symptoms, getting ahead of potential complications is the best course of action. 

Between a brown recluse vs. house spider bite, house spiders shouldn’t leave you with any lingering effects. While most spiders are venomous and can cause a reaction, not every arachnid is dangerous enough to make you ill. 

These pests are usually less toxic than others of their widespread species. Of course, if any spider bites you, you should visit a doctor to avoid any adverse effects, but you shouldn’t have any problems with a house spider bite. 

Beyond redness, itchiness, and general pain, you won’t experience any other symptoms unless you’re allergic to spider venom. An over-the-counter antihistamine or pain reliever should make you feel better; all symptoms will disappear after a few days. 

Despite their potential danger, neither spider is aggressive, and both are often reluctant to bite. Unless you threaten the spiders or accidentally come in close contact with them, they will leave you alone and stay out of site. 

proof.’s Spider Elimination Services

What’s worse between a brown recluse vs. house spider infestation? While both can catch many nuisance insects, we understand that not everyone wants a bunch of creepy crawlers living it up in their home!

Unless you have a severe insect infestation, it’s unlikely you’ll have multiple spiders in your home. However, some species, like the brown recluse and wolf spiders, can infest many residential spaces. 

Thankfully, proof.’s trained technicians can easily handle any problematic infestation and protect your family from these eight-legged pests. Plus, if you sign up for our Pest-Free Guarantee service, we visit your house seasonally, removing cobwebs and applying indoor and outdoor pest control treatments. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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Call proof. pest control at 888-291-5333, or send us a message online.