Bug Blog

How The Two Most Dangerous Spider Species In The US Differ

When it comes to dangerous spiders in the US, two species sit at the top – the brown recluse and the black widow. Let’s take a look at how these species are alike and where they differ.

The brown recluse

The brown recluse is the less-well known of the two spiders but it is just as common in home infestations as the black widow. This spider is brown in coloration with a “violin” marking on its abdomen that is slightly darker in coloration. In terms of shape, the brown recluse resembles the wolf spider or tarantula but it is hairless.

The brown recluse carries a flesh-eating venom that creates blisters, open sores, and in some situations, disfiguring wounds which may require medical attention. Bites however are rare, and they are almost always done in self-defense, usually when a person invades the personal space of the spider. As the name suggests, these spiders are very reclusive, preferring to stay hidden, and building their web inside the clutter or hidden space that they inhabit.

The black widow

The black widow is famous for its shape and the red violin on its abdomen. It has a shiny black coloration, with a bulbous abdomen and long, skinny legs. When it comes to its venom, the black widow has a neurotoxin, which causes muscle aches, nausea, headaches, blackouts and seizures, and a bite may require medical attention, but it rarely results in death. However, this spider is also reclusive and will only bite in self-defense. Most bites usually happen when the spider is hiding in clothes or inside shoes.


The two species are controlled using similar methods, and if either of them is present in your home, it’s best to work with a pest control specialist in order to have them removed. A pro will start by removing any spiders and nests that are out in the open, or hidden, but easy to find. Then the pro will move on and start applying residual insecticides. These insecticides will create a long-lasting toxic barrier against spiders and other insects in areas of the home that are often frequented by these pests, areas such as wall voids, the basement and the attic. Contact us today if you are dealing with one of these two species or if you have any questions about how they are controlled.