There are no Brown Recluse Spiders in Southern California.

Contrary to all of the recent hysteria around Brown Recluse Spiders and the danger Brown Recluse Spiders pose to humans, people in Southern California do not need to worry about the Brown Recluse Spider. Brown Recluse Spiders simply do not live in Southern California (Palm Springs, Coachella Valley, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Marcos).


We do, however, have Desert Recluse Spiders in Southern California. Bites from Desert Recluse Spiders are usually not life threatening. However, the Desert Recluse Spider does eat away at tissue, so you will need immediate medical attention to prevent the loss of tissue. The Desert Recluse Spider is generally a little larger than a penny.

Southern Californian’s don’t have to worry about the infamous Brown Recluse Spider. However, in Southern California we also have Brown and Black Widow Spiders. Brown and Black Widow Spiders are, in fact, life threatening, especially to a young child or elderly adult. If bitten by a Brown or Black Widow Spider, you should go to the emergency room immediately for treatment. Both the Black and Brown Widows can be identified by the distinct red markings on their backs as shown below. Including the leg span of the Brown and Black Widow, they are generally the size of a quarter to half dollar.

Black Widow Spider

Brown Widow Spider

How do you protect your family from the Desert Recluse, Brown Widow or Black Widow if you live in Southern California?


Remove debris like yard trimmings, trash, and wood piles away from the home (they love wood piles!).

All spiders, including Brown and Black Widows and the Desert Recluse, are fond of spaces like covered barbecues, covered patio furniture, and the inside of garden shoes that are often stored outside or in a garage.

It makes sense to show extra care when uncovering patio furniture or turning on the gas to the barbecue to make sure you’re not also grabbing at a Brown or Black Widow or a Desert Recluse Spider.  And if you store any shoes outside the house, make sure that you shake them before slipping into them.

There are professional treatments that can help, but never forget that perhaps the best way to rid yourself of a particular spider is a swift whack with the bottom of a shoe.  And don’t worry if you miss the first time.  They won’t chase you. We promise.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, March 15th, 2012 at 11:43 am and is filed under Pest Control Tips, Spiders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

16 Responses to “There are no Brown Recluse Spiders in Southern California.”

  1. I guess these spiders inhabits the south and south-central states from Georgia through Texas and north to Wisconsin. As I am also living in California so I am happy that I don’t have to worry about this dangerous creature. Brown Recluse spiders are one of the 3 poisonous spiders in US that can produce a really nasty bite that can be painful and can cause a really bad infection and wound.

  2. What about Los Angeles? That is a small county that is not mentioned. :)

  3. Hi there and thanks for the comment. The same goes for LA. No brown recluse spiders there either!

  4. I’m a little confused by this since I recently had 2 recluses that I found in my bathroom. They didn’t have the rope-brown look of the desert recluse, and were significantly bigger (about the size of a quarter with the leg span). It was a very dark brown with light brown patches at the end of it’s leg segments. I don’t believe it to be the extremely dangerous Brown Recluse, but I know it’s part of that family. Are there other spiders that have a similar description?

    I also know that there are white violin spiders (part of the same set of recluses that the brown recluse belongs to), I captured it but didn’t take a picture, I know they’re extremely dangerous.

  5. Actually there are several spiders that superficially look like the brown recluse or one of it’s relatives. The only way to determine if it is one of these dangerous spiders is to look at the eye pattern. This usually requires magnification or a very good photograph.

    Thanks for reading!

  6. I just found a spider in my bathtub. I captured it in a jar, and went online to compare it to pictures to see what it is. It looks like a brown recluse (it looks nothing like the desert recluse above). Is there anyone that can help me identify it? I don’t have a strong magnifying glass, or really good camera, but I have the spider (still alive). Is there some place I can take it for identification?

  7. Email us the best picture you can of the spider to attention James. Thanks for reading the blog, we are happy to help.

  8. I was bitten by a Recluse-type Spider in the Santaigo Canyon area during my move to the beach area 4 weeks ago. I’ve required surgical excision of the black necrotic (dead) tissue three times and it’s still 1/2 cm. deep I didn’t feel the bite bite but saw the fang marks after cleaning out a baseball sized pustule on the back of my knee. These are nasty and per my MD, transmit MRSA. The new house DOES have Brown Widows and the previous Tenants were slobs, who happened to visit then move to AZ.My Service Dog has a baby Brown Widow bite on her snout. I’ve seen the egg sac (irregular surface vs smooth) as well as the red hourglass. I’ve hung fly traps, cutting off the food supply, and have Extermination.

  9. Wow looks like you’ve been through a rough time. Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-223-2847 and we will see what we can do for you. Thanks for reading the blog.

  10. I am being over run by spiders in my house. I know most are harmless but I just killed one that looked a little strange. The front end was reddish brown and the back end (the bulbous part) was milky white. It was about the size of a nickel. When I smashed it, all the white stuff spurted out but its front end kept moving. I mean it actually started running away. I’ve never seen anything like that! It was pretty fast too. I finally killed it completely. About 5-10 minutes later a smaller spider, about the size of a dime or a bit smaller, without the white bulb came running out. When I tried to squish it, it ran away really fast. I finally got it after 2 misses! I couldn’t believe how fast it was. This was the weirdest experience. Now, I feel like I have spiders crawling all over me. Anyway, do you have any idea what kind of spiders they were and if they’re dangerous? I have a small cat,less than 10lbs, a kitten, about 3 lbs, and a dog, 65lbs. Are they in any danger? Thanks in advance for your help.

  11. Hi Kim, it doesn’t seem to be a poisonous spider (assuming you are in Southern California). We have a handy reference for the spiders that you should avoid in Southern California here:

    Many of our customers are concerned about the safety of their furry friends when it comes to poisonous spiders and other pests — and we treat their homes to make sure they are safe.

    Send us a picture and we’ll get you an official identification. Attn: James

    Thanks for reading the blog!

  12. I hate spiders and they all scare me. I don’t know what is poison or what is not. My daughter found a brown recluse in my garage and I live in Ontario, CA….Souther CA. Now she won’t let the girls play in my backyard and I take care of them alot.

    Is there a way I can spray for spiders inside and out? What is best to use? I have a small inside cat.

    I won’t go in my garage now either. We rent and the owners have tons of stuff in there. We don’t use the garage for car. My husband goes in there to get things and I don’t like that.

    Thank you.

  13. Lloyd Pest Control power sprays the perimeter of the home to create a general pest barrier. We will also treat the eaves and window sills with compressed air sprayer applications. We want to make sure you and your family is safe. Give us a ring at 1.800.223.2847

    Also here is a link to a handy printable guide that illustrates and gives a description of the four arachnids to avoid in Southern California

    Thanks for reading the blog Linda. If you need help identifying whether the spider is poisonous or not email us the best picture you can of the spider to attention James and we will help you out.

  14. I once asked my kid’s Pediatrition, “What would happen if my 2 year old got bitten by a black widow?” He replied, “not to worry, there are no black widow spiders West of the Mississippi [river].” In fact, there ere are zillions of BWs in our suburban California Bay Area property; I gave him a pass as he was such a good doctor in other areas (admittedly not the wisest decision I ever made, but I was a young new mommy and what did I know?) He never did answer the question about black widow spider bites.

    Everyone I related this to, without exception, noted that if there’s a plane, moving van, truckload of ANYTHING that spent 24 hrs on a dock or in a warehouse, that traveled from one area to another, then the potential for any critter that could survive the trip, means his kind eventually could become endemic to the new area (of course it helps if he brings a few girlfriends as well).

    I feel this is the same for the Brown Recluse spider, and that people need to keep in mind that every time someone moves from the Bay Area (definitely have them here, family friend bitten many years ago) to an area not known to have a certain bug, spider, vermin etc., there is potential for it to set up housekeeping in the new area.

    There’s supposed to be a law against transporting tan bark, for example, from Marin County to other counties, due to spores causing Sudden Oak Death. However, there’s no way to enforce this policy, really, and people may not understand that if they’ve tossed some tan bark into the compost pile, and later transport that compost to a new home outside the county, they are also bringing that tree disease with them. I mention this scenario to illustrate how people might see bringing their old woodpile along to a new address (could be lumber or firewood when saying woodpile, which your article pointed pot spiders love, as has been our experience). Add to the mix the many new US citizens who may not know how things are –or should be– done here, and it’s easy to see how things can go against plan. (Think bedbugs! They are literally everywhere, or have potential to be, as long as a single person who lives in an infested abode travels to one single hotel. It’s how things go from endemic to epidemic. Everyone who visits that one hotel, invariably travels to another hotel, thereby bringing and dropping off bedbugs everywhere he visits. And on and on.)

    So, my general point to this –very long– post, is simply, “Never say ‘Never’!”

  15. There is a possibility that these arachnids can travel to new areas via numerous means of transportation. We encourage everyone to be cautious and aware of poisonous arachnids when participating in any activity whether it be moving or stocking a wood pile. Thank you for reading the blog.

  16. One spider repellent method is to rid the home or severely reduce the number
    of bugs in and around the house. They are in interesting lot,
    which includes sand flies and midges. The Hobo spider’s bite is like that of the Brown Recluse, but slightly less dangerous.

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