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Brown Recluse Control

Set a monster to catch a monster
 
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Brown recluse spiders are common house inhabitants in my area. A friend of mine discusses catching a dozen of these spiders in one day, with the help of his kids. The problem with these small spiders is they like to take up residence in clothes, especially clothes left on the floor or undisturbed on a shelf for some time. My grandfather was bitten by a brown recluse in an old pair of pants and it very nearly killed him.

One can employ all the usual toxins, sprays etc - but the bottom line is that they will come back unless you maintain your house as permanently poisonous. I propose that he scutigera house centipede be introduced as biocontrol for brown recluse spiders. Scutigerans are voracious predators of anything smaller than themselves, including spiders. They do not bite or otherwise harm people. Several large scutigerans introduced into the house might be expected to clean up any spiders or other house dwelling insects. The scutigeran population would then decrease to levels sustainable by the occasional spider trying to enter the house and get established.

In the tropics, people welcome house geckos roaming about because they devour house bugs as well. They are willing to put up with the occasional lizard dashing around, pooping in the sink, nibbling the peanut butter. Scutigerans could be the temperate world's answer to the gecko!

bungston, Jun 06 2003

Scutigeran biology http://www.the-pied....co.uk/th11d(5).htm
[bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Horrifying brown recluse photos. http://www.brownreclusespider.net/
[bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Spitting Spider, may be useful against the Brown Recluse. http://www.floridan...pecies=Scytodes_sp.
This will take care of your spider problem. Just a little service we provide. [Amos Kito, Jan 27 2008, last modified Jan 28 2008]

[link]






       If Scutigerans aren't native to your area already, I think it'd be a mistake to introduce them. Introducing species naturally alien to an environment can have unexpected, not to mention disastrous, consequences...
saker, Jun 06 2003
  

       They are already introduced just about everywhere. I think they may have difficulty traveling from house to house in harsher climates.
bungston, Jun 06 2003
  

       Are brown recluse spiders the ones who's bite causes recurring sores that never heal? If so, I've heard that you can be in pain for the rest of your life and bits of your body i.e., whole fingers can fall off. Scary. Where do you live, btw?
sild, Jun 06 2003
  

       Keeping pets to contain pests is hardly a new idea. We've been doing it since we had pets.   

       As it happens, we've seen a couple of those beasties in the States, though we always assumed they were pests (and promptly clobbered them).
DrCurry, Jun 06 2003
  

       Releasing insects for control of other insects brings about the Law of Unintended Consequences, it is an experiment, with few succces stories. One is the dung beetle in Austraila, brought over from Africa to the cattle grazing areas, it promply found a happy home and set about burrying millions of cow pies, restoring nurtients to the soil and reducing the fly population that lay eggs in the dung. A win-win. Couple years ago, they released ladybugs throughout the region where I live to combat an aphid problem. In the late fall, my window sills would fill up with hundreds of hibernating ladybugs, thinking they were beneath tree bark or something, never happened before that. A potential win. And in a case of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing, scentist's are now experimenting with releasing aphids to control a runaway Purple Loosestrife (weed) problem. A potential tie.
ty6, Jun 06 2003
  

       UB: we made sure to bring some beer out to his cardboard box at least once a week. So lets not have any more talk about compassion. As regards the whole introduced species - the scutigera are widely naturalized and so I think this plan would be most analogous to the ladybug vs aphid deal. As regards keeping pets to contain pests: not sure many would consider centipedes to be pets, though I must admit I have a captive one right now. I came up with this idea after finding it had quite an appetite for spiders.
bungston, Jun 06 2003
  

       Good, especially if scutigera are indeed native to your region. One thing, though: they do have <calvin>poison pinchers</calvin>, so even though they don't bite, don't provoke them, because they might.
galukalock, Jun 06 2003
  

       Geckos, which can climb where spiders hide, might help. You'll also want birds, more lizards -- and large, harmless but territorial spiders.

//a brown recluse in an old pair of pants //
I almost forgot the most important one: a trouser snake.
Amos Kito, Jun 06 2003
  

       I want a house where nothing moves but me and the dogs and the cats and the washing machine.
po, Jun 06 2003
  

       And the fan.
The brown recluse is dangerous but clumsy. They can't climb glass. They often get curious about a glass container that is next to a surface they can cling to, venture down onto the smooth surface, then are trapped. You should get a Spitting Spider. They eat Brown Recluse's for breakfast.
thumbwax, Jun 06 2003
  

       fan! yes, that too!   

       is this just a ruse to lure blissy back?
po, Jun 06 2003
  

       I know this isn't relevant information, but my friend's dad - in the course of the last 2 months - has been bitten by both a black widow and a brown recluse, the latter having discovered the joys of biting a human male on a particularly "pouchy" area.
AfroAssault, Nov 24 2004
  

       I have geckos (gecko, geckoes, gecki?) in my house and I love it when a cockroach scuttles through the lounge with a gecko in hot pusuit. Soon after they disappear under the sofa, I hear a satisfying crunching sound.
marklar, Jan 27 2008
  

       //My grandfather was bitten by a brown recluse in an old pair of pants and it very nearly killed him.//   

       <Groucho Marx voice> "One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know." </ GMv>   

       Oddly enough, a colleague of mine was bitten by a tropical centipede. It fell from a tree down the back of his neck as he was getting into a taxi. Within two seconds of setting off, he started thrashing around violently and then screamed with such vigour that the taxi nearly crashed. I'd be hard-pressed to choose between venomous centipedes and venomous spiders. I think I'd probably just move.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 27 2008
  

       The scutigera is the creepy-looking House Centipede that is endemic to homes in the US. [Bungston] is absolutely correct - they're both carnivorous and harmless to people and pets (unless your pet is a spider).   

       I have a few brown recluses, mostly living in the backside of my basement, which is half-finished. They're actually harmless to humans unless you crush them - notwithstanding the Shaquille O'Neal exemption, their teeth aren't strong enough to penetrate human skin and deliver their necrotizing toxin.   

       When they DO penetrate, though, one needs to find the nearest hospital quickly.   

       We have house centipedes, which keep the recluses in check just fine. My wife is freaked out by them, I just grab them and move them. It also helps to put up some cedar blocks on doorknobs - these keep insects away if sanded annually, and recluses/scutigera both won't stick around where there's no food. Since we have no insects in the living areas of our house, we have no spiders.
shapu, Jan 27 2008
  

       Cedar oil is an effective insect repellant (hence the use of cedarwood in making clothes-drawers, linen trunks etc.).
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 27 2008
  

       Aha. Well, the same question would surely arise wherever they were put, no?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 27 2008
  

       [UnaBubba] - I believe the odor diffuses effectively enough from the block that it might as well be right on top of the insects in question. Hanging it from the doorknob was just the easiest way to set up a chemical barrier.
shapu, Jan 27 2008
  

       <THUD>   

       Yes.
8th of 7, Jan 27 2008
  

       House centipedes are the most disgusting, vile creatures I've ever seen. I cannot vote for this idea.
phundug, Jan 28 2008
  

       Can those centipedes climb walls? It's not something I ever noticed them doing.
Ling, Jan 28 2008
  

       Yes, house centipedes climb well, even along the ceiling. They seek hiding places, which is why you don't see them often on bare walls. It's tough to catch them -- they're fast, and delicate as a dust bunny.
Amos Kito, Jan 28 2008
  

       Plus, if someone reading this is inclined to catch one, they will dessicate and die in less than a day if you do not have something moist in with them. If you keep them with some wax paper or plastic with a few droplets of water you might see one sidle up for a drink.   

       I once went in a greenhouse at night that had many immense cockroaches prowling around, and also a few of the largest scutigera I have ever seen. Real monsters, longer than a finger, traversing the ceiling above my head. I wonder if they can eat cockroaches too, or if their spider prey was just not as obvious that night.
bungston, Jan 28 2008
  

       I suppose that centipedes can really kick-ass?
Ling, Jan 29 2008
  
      
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