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  • Writer's pictureAndy Hemmer

Diatomaceous Earth for Brown Recluse Spiders

Updated: 14 hours ago

brown recluse spider

Brown recluse spiders, or the violin spider, known to be a venomous spider with a venomous bite, can be a significant spider problem for homeowners. While chemical pesticides, essential oils, sticky traps, and spider repellant are often the go-to solution, they come with potential health risks and environmental impacts. Enter diatomaceous earth—a natural, non-toxic alternative that effectively kill brown recluse spiders without the drawbacks of conventional pesticides.

How to Identify a Brown Recluse Spider

Before diving into how to combat brown recluse spiders with diatomaceous earth, it's essential to know how to identify them accurately. Misidentification can lead to unnecessary panic or ineffective pest control measures. Here are the key characteristics to look out for:

  1. Size and Color: Brown recluse spiders are typically between 6 to 20 millimeters in size. They have a light to medium brown color, though some can appear slightly darker.

  2. Distinctive Markings: The most notable feature of the brown recluse is the violin-shaped marking on its back. This dark marking starts at the head and extends down to the back, with the neck of the violin pointing towards the abdomen.

  3. Eyes: Unlike most spiders, which have eight eyes, the brown recluse has six eyes arranged in pairs (dyads). These pairs form a semi-circle at the front of the spider's head.

  4. Legs: The legs of a brown recluse are long, slender, and uniformly light brown, without any spines. This feature can help distinguish them from other common house spiders.

  5. Habitat: Brown recluses prefer dark, undisturbed areas. Indoors, they are commonly found in basements, attics, closets, and under furniture. Outdoors, they hide under rocks, woodpiles, and debris.

  6. Webs: Unlike many spiders, brown recluses do not use webs to catch prey. Their webs are irregular and used primarily for retreat rather than hunting.

If you suspect a spider in your home is a brown recluse, carefully capture it for identification or consult a pest control company to help identify. Proper identification is crucial for effective control and ensuring the safety of your household.


What is Diatomaceous Earth?

diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a fine, powdery substance made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. It’s composed primarily of silica, a natural abrasive, making it an effective pest control agent. DE works by physically damaging the exoskeleton of insects and arachnids, leading to dehydration and death. Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to us and pets but super deadly to crawling insects like brown recluse spiders.


How Does Diatomaceous Earth Work Against Brown Recluse Spiders?

  1. Physical Barrier: When applied in areas where brown recluse spiders are active, DE acts as a physical barrier. The abrasive particles stick to the spider's exoskeleton, creating tiny cuts that lead to dehydration.

  2. Environmental Impact: DE is non-toxic to humans and pets, making it a safer alternative to chemical pesticides. It doesn't pollute the environment or cause harm to beneficial insects when used correctly.

  3. Long-lasting: Unlike chemical sprays that need frequent reapplication, DE remains effective as long as it stays dry. This means a single application can provide long-term protection.

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Brown Recluse Spiders

  1. Identify Infestation Areas: Brown recluse spiders prefer dark, undisturbed places like basements, attics, closets, and behind furniture to lay their egg sacs. Identify these areas to target your DE application effectively.

  2. Apply Diatomaceous Earth: Lightly dust DE in areas where spiders are likely to travel. Focus on cracks, crevices, and baseboards. Use a duster or a fine brush for even application. Remember, a little goes a long way. Its always helpful to apply around the outside foundation of your home as well. Spiders get in by every crack and crevice on the outside of your home. Be sure to seal cracks and crevices along your doors and windows with caulking.

  3. Safety Precautions: While DE is safe, it’s still a fine powder that can irritate the respiratory system if inhaled in large quantities. Wear a mask and gloves during application, and avoid creating clouds of dust.

  4. Regular Monitoring: Check the treated areas regularly. If DE gets wet, it loses its effectiveness, so reapply as necessary. Additionally, monitor for spider activity to ensure the problem is under control.

Benefits of Using Diatomaceous Earth

  • Non-Toxic: Safe for use around children and pets.

  • Eco-Friendly: Does not harm the environment.

  • Effective: Provides a long-lasting solution to spider infestations.

  • Cost-Effective: Affordable and widely available, making it accessible for most homeowners to get rid of brown recluse.


Diatomaceous earth offers a natural, effective solution for dealing with brown recluse spiders. Its non-toxic nature, combined with its long-lasting effectiveness, makes it an ideal choice for those looking to avoid chemical pesticides. By understanding how to use DE properly, homeowners can tackle spider infestations safely and sustainably, ensuring a safer living environment for all.

Whether you're dealing with a minor spider issue or a more significant infestation, diatomaceous earth can be a valuable tool in your pest control arsenal. Give it a try and see the natural difference it can make in your home. See some diatomaceous earth we offer for insect control that works well against brown recluse spiders.

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