Brown Recluse spiders are non-aggressive and prefer to hide and run rather than attack humans. Most bites occur accidentally when rolling over in bed, gathering wood, putting on clothing or shoes, emptying out boxes, cleaning out closets and other undisturbed areas and when taking a bath or shower.
Brown Recluses cannot negotiate the smooth surfaces of sinks, bathtubs and shower surfaces. This is because have pinchers at the end of their feet to grab things as they walk. If there is nothing to grab onto, they have no way to move.
This is helpful knowledge in preventing Brown Recluse bites. They cannot climb up the smooth surface of the feet of most bed framing. However, if you have ruffles on your bed or if the bedding material is in any way touching the floor during the day or at night, they can easily climb up and you are more likely to suffer a bite when rolling over at night.
It is also very important that you keep the bed away from the wall. They can climb some walls if there is a rough enough surface area to them. Then they could get on your bed via the wall and crawl into your bedcovers. Bites occur when people move around in their bed at night and accidentally crush the spider.
Another consideration is that Brown Recluses tend to like certain kinds of ceiling light fixtures. They can crawl inside the fixture through the attic/ceiling, escape the fixture and then drop down below.
If your light fixture is directly above your bed, this is another possible way they could enter your bedding area. You can check your light fixture to see if any Brown Recluse spiders may have gotten caught inside the bulb cover. If so, that's a sure sign that they are entering in this way. You can also try to seal the area around the light fixture if possible.
Thomas J. Martincic
Brown Recluse Response Team