Is it true that there are brown recluse spiders in Florida?

Is it true that there are brown recluse spiders in Florida?

That depends on your definition of ‘here.’  No breeding populations of any species of recluse spiders (Loxosceles laeta, Loxosceles reclusa, and Loxosceles rufescens have all been found in the state), has been found in any Florida county in a native habitat. A few verified samples (about 20) have turned up in Florida, but all records are from buildings or vehicles.  These typically are brought in by travelers from Midwestern or Mideastern states (the brown recluse, Loxosceles reclusa), cargo shipped to warehouses  that was brought in from other states or Europe (the Mediterranean recluse, Loxosceles rufescens), or international shipments from tropical America (the Chilean recluse, L. laeta).  By the way, this is a good time to point out that it’s unwise to transport firewood, live plants and other plant materials from one state to another, because you may accidentally transport brown recluse spiders and various pest arthropods.

Here’s our take on the question “why do so many people in Florida THINK they see brown recluse spiders?”  The brown recluse is a rather plain-looking spider, especially to the casual observer. It’s brown or yellowish brown with dark brown marks, adults have a leg span about the size of a quarter to a half-dollar, and isn’t usually seen in a web.


Figure 1. Detail of the carapace of the brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa Gertsch and Mulaik, showing the dark fiddle-shaped marking often used to identify this spider. Photograph by James L. Castner, University of Florida.

There are other spiders found in Florida that share some characteristics with the brown recluse – the same approximate size and color, similar habits. Here’s one example — Kukulcania hibernalis, the southern house spider, aka crevice spider, aka that brown, hairless-looking spider that comes charging out of your car’s doorframe or windshield wipers when you try to drive to work in the morning.   The lighter colored males are especially superficially similar to a recluse spider in appearance.

So it is not unreasonable for a person to err on the side of caution and assume that any medium-sized brown spider in a dark, quiet place could be a brown recluse and leave it alone.  The first thing to do once you get a good look at it is to compare what you saw to an online information source.  Remember that it is unlikely that you will find a recluse spider in Florida.  However, if you have compared your spider to the online pictures,  anyone who still truly believes that he or she has found a genuine brown recluse in Florida should contact Dr. G.B. Edwards with FDACS-DPIPlease attach a good digital image of the top of the spider for identification.

Also, you can read more about venomous spiders in this Pest Alert from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.


For more BugWeek information and activities, visit the website.

If you have questions that weren’t answered by the FAQ, contact us or contact your local Extension office.


Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman

Extension Scientist and Featured Creatures Editor at UF/IFAS Entomology & Nematology Department
Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman is a UF/IFAS Extension Scientist (80% Extension, 20% Teaching) in the Entomology and Nematology Department. Her Extension program focuses on the development and utilization of educational material for county Extension faculty and agricultural and urban clientele. She is the Featured Creatures project coordinator and editor. Her ancillary projects include activities relating to olive pest management, community sustainability, agricultural biosecurity, landscape IPM, and school IPM. She is responsible for teaching three courses: Grant Writing, Landscape Integrated Pest Management and Insect Vectors of Plant Pathogens.

Rats in the attic, how they got there and how to get rid of rodents.

Getting rid of rodents in your attic

Many of you this time of year have heard noises in your attic. It sounds like an elephant but rest assured its only rats in your attic. Many people wonder just how they got there. One of the key areas to inspect is the line set cover of your air conditioner outside.

life n the rats hole - rodent entry

This is a view from underneath the line set cover. The opening is large enough for any rodent to gain entry. There are several ways to seal this type of rodent entry. If you discovered that you have such a rodent entry and plan of sealing it yourself, remember that there is a very strong possibility of trapping rodents in your attic.

Trapped rodents in the attic can cause more havoc. Rodents are cannibalistic by nature and if trapped with no source of food…they will turn on their buddies for a quick snack. Trying to sleep during “rat fights in the attic’ is far worse than just hearing a few bumps in the night.

The rodents may also decide to find other ways out of their new found prison by chewing through the ceiling or a wall and running about your nice home while looking for another way out. Now you have more problems.

Nothing is more embarrassing than having family or friends over and suddenly having rodents performing several Olympic events in front of very shocked audience.

You may be lucky enough to convince your visitors that you have playful “Kitchen Squirrels” in your home and not a dreaded rat infestation.

So before you plan on how to get rid of rodents in your attic, create a strategy for success and have the correct tools to do it.

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Beucher & Son has a long history of successful rodent control

Contact Us NOW for your rodent control issues!

Crews begin tenting St. Petersburg home infested with rats.


Crews begin tenting St. Petersburg home infested with rats.

Posted: Jan 28, 2015 9:14 AM EST Updated: Jan 28, 2015 1:14 PM EST
By: FOX 13 Tampa Bay Staff
FOX 13 News


Clean-up efforts are underway at a local home that was once infested with hundreds of rats.

The house, located on 10th Avenue South in St. Pete, had an estimated 700 rats living inside for the last three years.

Florine Brown, who lived in the house, adopted pet rats back in 2012. Those rats multiplied. She considered each of them to be pets, and before she knew it, she had an unmanageable problem on her hands.

The rodents and their waste began to smell so badly that late last year neighbors complained and the city got involved. Plans for the cleanup process have been in the works ever since.

Brown is now living with her twin sister as those plans get underway. She returned to watch the crews tent her home Wednesday morning.

“I have very mixed emotions. I know there are still some rats that are in the home,” Brown said.” I’m just going to have to think positive. I want to come home. I have not been able to come back yet.”

Two Citrus County pest control companies have teamed up to provide fumigation services for free. Tony Winebrenner reached out after seeing the FOX 13 news coverage.

“I feel like if you’re able to help somebody, you should,” said Winebrenner of Citrus Pest Management.

Winebrenner coordinated with Ed Williams of Accurate Pest Management to help. The two competing businesses work together at least three times a year, donating fumigation services to those who cannot afford it.

Cliff Smith works for the City of St. Petersburg. The city estimated fumigation costs at $1,850 dollars for a home this size.

“We have been working with the family for three to four weeks to get rid of the rats. We had our rodent control division in trapping the rats, but there are some still there,” said Smith. “The final phase is to have it fumigated. The family could not afford to do that, so this is huge. Without Citrus and Accurate…we would still have the rats in the home. It’s a big deal to us and to the family.”

Brown told FOX 13 she adopted her first pet rats after a relative’s death in 2012. The rodents served as a coping mechanism for her grief.

“They kept me going. They loved me. They brought me joy, even when I was down. I looked forward to coming home despite how the home and the condition was,” said Brown. “I tried. I tried to get help. Everyone is afraid of rats. I was just on my own. I just felt strong as a person.”

Another business, Spaulding DeCon, has donated cleaning services. They plan to begin cleaning next week, after the fumigation process is completed.

New app grades cleanliness of Florida restaurants

New app grades cleanliness of Florida restaurants
Jarrett Hill
6:14 PM, Jan 23, 2015

We talk a lot about the cleanliness of the restaurants we love here in the Bay Area – and a new app is actually helping with knowing the dirty details of restaurants across the state!

Watch the video above for details, then

get the app here


– as seen on The Now Tampa Bay, weekdays at 4pm.

Pest control products and German cockroach control. (Must See Video)

Maxforce IMPACT Cockroach Bait Taste Test on German Cockroaches

Beucher & Son Termite and Pest Control constantly researches new products to help deliver only the best quality products for a successful pest service on your home. When a new product comes out, free samples are generally provided to pest companies in hopes to buy and use the product.

The new product of today is Maxforce IMPACT roach bait. I carried this product around for a week, just waiting to find just the right place to test it out. That day finally came!  A property was about to be rented and the owner wanted the home serviced for German roaches. I was advised that the refrigerator was to be replaced. I noticed two German Roaches on the handle of the refrigerator…just sitting there, watching me. I applied a small dab of the new product in front of them and the experiment was initiated.

Maxforce has been around for a long time, its products have always delivered great results.

As you can see in the video, those little roaches are hungry. They are observed eating the bait…walking away a short distance and returning several times to eat some more.

I would definitely say that the Maxforce IMPACT cockroach bait taste test was a success for German cockroaches pest control products and German cockroach control.

Just for your information as to what cockroach bait is:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Roach bait is a modern pest control used for the extermination of cockroaches at indoor locations. The effectiveness of this method of pest control exploits the cannibalistic, coprophagic, and emetophagic tendencies of cockroaches.


Cockroaches live in nests. As such, killing a few roaches that happen to wander into a trap is an inadequate means of controlling the pest. Even if all adult roaches outside the nest are killed, some live eggs will remain in the nest and eventually hatch, leading to exponential growth.

Cockroach infestations

The main problem with controlling infestations of cockroaches is ensuring that enough insecticide gets to a sufficiently large proportion of the population to effect control. Cockroach infestations have been treated with insecticidal sprays, dusts, gels, sand baits, etc. Cockroach bait may consist of simple poisons, killing from direct feeding only, to the latest insecticides which use delayed transferred toxic action, which can reach a sufficiently high proportion of the cockroach population to achieve effective control in a short period of time.

Secondary transmission of toxic baits

Cockroaches eat the feces of other roaches and they feed on each other. After consuming a lethal dose of a residual bait insecticide known to have delayed toxicant activity, cockroaches return to the harborage where they excrete feces. The insecticide-laden feces, fluids and eventual carcass, can contain sufficient residual pesticide to kill others in the same nesting site. As the roach staggers around for hours or even days, it infects other roaches in the nest, with toxicant transfer through feces,[1] which then go on to infect others. This secondary transmission occurs through direct contact with, or ingestion of, traces of baits dispersed in the environment by contaminated cockroaches. These traces were either deposited by “trampling” in the environment or on dead contaminated cockroaches.[2] The cascading effect goes on to wipe out whole colonies from indirect exposure by contact with the corpses, feces, or harborages of cockroaches previously exposed.[3]

Such nests, when contaminated with sufficient residual pesticide via faeces, secretions, exuviae, or corpses provide an important reservoir of pesticide, which would be available to infect co species. Residual pesticides by virtue of their efficacy against cockroaches, their deployment in secure bait stations, and the way in which the active toxicant is transmitted to cockroaches that have not fed on the baits, offer an effective and environmentally compatible way of controlling cockroaches.[4]