I have a real website now rather than a blog. Though I will keep this one open for a while, I will no longer keep this one up. My new site, "USA Spiders" is not fully completed but getting close. I made sure to get the Michigan page finished first. :o) Please use
USA Spiders in the future and if you find any problems with the site, please let me know so I can fix them.

Spiders verified to be here in Michigan are listed on the left sidebar. On the right sidebar, are the spiders of which pictures have been sent in to me.

The BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER! - Rick Vetter, the worlds top expert on the Brown recluse has published a book on the infamous Brown recluse spider. Learn the truth behind the worlds most misunderstood spider. (BUY IT HERE!)

My Disclaimer
My Knowledge and Why I am Not an Expert

Spider Questions and IDENTIFICATION Requests
My EMAIL can be found in the above link. I am always happy to help identify a spider, but please do us both a favor and read this before emailing me. Thanks.

Describing your Spider ..... Photographing your Spider

Your Fear of Spiders
........... Spiders in your Home?


Beyond Spider Dome - Where two spiders enter and one comes out.

Spiders and Drugs - Documentary video about the effects different drugs have on spiders.

Play with a computerized spider
- (flash)

Spider Diagram. - Basic anatomy of a spider.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Myth of the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow Spiders

Brown Recluse - It seems that everyone knows someone who was bit by a Brown Recluse here in Michigan. I have had several comments here from people saying they were bit or knew someone who was bit by the Recluse. I have had several e-mails stating the same thing. So let me start this off by saying... "The Brown Recluse does NOT live here in Michigan!"

If you do not wish to believe me, try checking this page from the DNR itself.... DNR on the Brown Recluse Spider

The problem, in my opinion, is two fold. First, you have some infections like the MRSA infection that acts and looks very, very, similar to the Recluse bite. There are also some allergic reactions to spider bites that can have similar looking symptoms. Second, you have doctors who go to school, or do clinical portions of their studies, down in the southern states where the Recluse is actually indigenous. They are taught about the Recluse bite and so when they come to Michigan and see these same looking symptoms, they assume they are Recluse Spider bites. They, like most Michiganders, do not even realize that the Brown Recluse is not even in Michigan.

So you have doctors seeing these things, and misdiagnosing them as Recluse bites. The more doctors who diagnose infections and reactions as Brown Recluse bites, the more people spread the false rumors that the Recluse lives in Michigan and how they were bit. The more they spread the rumors, the more people who believe the Recluse is here in Michigan and so new doctors hear this and believe it as well. And the vicious circle continues....

According to the DNR, there has only been one confirmed sighting of the Brown Recluse here in Michigan ever. I have had two other experts tell me that the Brown Recluse is not in Michigan. I have found no documented cases to say otherwise.

If you are ever diagnosed here in Michigan by a doctor saying you were bit by the Brown Recluse, please tell them they are mistaken and to check for infectious diseases like MRSA or possible allergic reactions. It is my belief that, too often they treat people for Recluse bites and the infection does a lot more damage than it would if they treated for the correct thing to begin with.

Black Widow - I find it funny how everyone believes the Recluse is in Michigan and the Black Widow is not, when the exact opposite is the truth. Most people will tell you the Black Widow is not in Michigan. They are in fact here in Michigan.

It is far more common for the Black Widow Spider to be found along the Western coast of the lower peninsula of Michigan, but they are found in other areas as well, if more rarely. As a child, a found two spiders that I do believe were the Black Widow, in Madison Heights. Just this year alone, I have had several people tell me they found them and some of those people sent me pictures to prove it. So far the sightings that have been brought to my attention, have been along the West Coast as far North as Sleeping Bear Dunes. I have had reports from Gaylord and another place a little East of that (sorry, I cant remember the name of that place).

It is important to know that not all Black Widows are all black with a red hourglass underneath, like you see on TV all the time. The Northern Widow can have a red spotted stripe down its back. Some will have yellow or white markings on the sides of the abdomen and some can have red on the legs as well. It is important to learn more about the different looks of the Black Widows so you can recognize them if you ever see them.

To My Readers: The information I have put in this article is backed up by facts and evidence. I feel I have seen sufficient proof that the Widow does in fact live in Michigan, and sufficient proof that the Recluse in fact is NOT indigenous to Michigan.  If you do not agree with this information, you are more than welcome to state your case, under this guideline..... Your statement must be backed up by some kind of evidence. Documents, an official expert getting in touch with me, an official news station doing a story on it, etc... However, if any new comments are left, stating the opposite of what I have displayed here, AND there is no kind of evidence given to back up the claims, the comment will be deleted.

It is too important to me that my readers can come to Michigan Spiders to get the truth. If my information is wrong and evidence is put forth to back that up, then I will change the information accordingly. But I will no longer allow comments to continue to be left to spread fear when there is no proof to back it up.  All evidence (at this time) says the Recluse does NOT live in Michigan. No evidence says that it does. If it did, I would display it so because I believe the people should be aware of dangers rather than kept from the knowledge of them. That is why I let everyone know the Black Widow is in Michigan. But in the case of the Brown Recluse, there has yet to be any evidence put before me to say it is here in Michigan, therefore, I see any statements saying otherwise as nothing more than comments to create fear that is not called for.

If you wish me to change that stance, give me evidence as a reason to do so. Hearsay stories is not good enough. If you do not have evidence and just wish to argue, please feel to argue through e-mail. Convince me I am wrong, and I will change my story here.


  1. The brown recluse absolutely does too live in Michigan. I am from the UP and took an entomology class. We got samples of these spiders from under a home with a leaking flowing well...they turned out to be brown recluse (as identified by my entomology professor).

    The DNR are morons. We have known for years that there are cougars here in the UP and finally got concrete proof via a photo and yet the DNR claim that they "do not actually live here they are just passing through". Do not, I repeat, do not put faith in what the DNR "knows".

    1. I was going to say that also - I'm from the UP as well and there have been cougars up there since I can remember. Passing through, my right foot, they live there. The DNR just does not want to deal with them.

    2. You are absolutely right there about the cougars! Lucky for us down here under the bridge a few have been caught on people's tracker cameras! Yay, now the dumbasses as DNR have to deal with it! Had an acquaintance lose a horse to a cougar attack, DNR tried to say it got caught in barbed wire.

  2. This information is not based on what the DNR says alone. The fact that you would call them morons because you believe they have their facts wrong only lends to discredit your opinion.

    I did not believe the Black Widow was in Michigan. Someone sent me a link to a video of the news in their area doing a story showing the Black Widow here in Michigan. I have had several different people, from different areas, send me pictures of the Black Widow. So why is it, there is no news stories on the Recluse? Why can't I find any official documentation on the Recluse being found in Michigan? With so many people sending me photos of spiders almost every day, why hasn't even one of the recluse been sent to me?

    You say you took an entomology class and found proof the Recluse is in Michigan. Who are you? I don't mean to be rude, but I have had two experts, one of whom I know is an entomologist for over 20 years in Michigan tell me the Recluse is not in Michigan. The DNR (whether you believe them morons or not) say they are not here. None of my readers have sent me a picture of one. All of this tells me they are NOT in Michigan.

    Why should I believe they are here in Michigan? I have had many people tell me they knew someone who was bitten by one. None of them actually had the spider that bit them identified. Most never actually saw a spider at all. They were only diagnosed by a doctor. I have stories of people who I believe are misinformed with no documentation or proof of any kind.

    You say Michigan has Recluse Spiders. Look up the Recluse and there are many sites that state the fact that the Brown Recluse cannot live in temperatures below 40 degrees, I believe it is. Even Ohio, which is south of us, says they are extremely rare to find one. So how is it they live in the UP where the winters are so cold? Your statements don't support the facts in my opinion.

    I am not saying it is impossible. I am saying that I have many reasons to believe there are no Brown Recluse spiders in Michigan. I have many ways and experts backing that up. I have no experts saying they live in Michigan, and I have no documentation and no proof. Just opinions and stories. No offense, but the "Recluse does NOT live in Michigan" side heavily outweighs the "Does live in Michigan" side.

    I will state this here and I am going to add this to the article above as well.... To all who believe the Recluse is in Michigan. However sure you are that the spider is here, please, do NOT leave comments arguing they do unless you can back it up with some kind of evidence. Stories of someone saying they are here or someone was bit is not good enough. Show me an article from an expert or an official news story. Please do more than tell me a story that is nothing more than hearsay.

    My belief is on the side of ALL of the evidence. The Brown Recluse does NOT live in Michigan. I will push that belief and try to snuff out the myth and fear by so many who believe it does live here. Trying to straighten this myth up, I will no longer allow people to leave stories about seeing them if they cannot back it up with evidence. All such stories will be deleted. If your argument is backed up with some kind of proof, then I will let it stand because it is not about what I believe or what you believe, but what is important is the truth. But unless evidence is brought forth showing otherwise, the truth will stand that the Recluse cannot live in our cold winters and therefore is not indigenous to Michigan.

    1. i think u went to the wrong website because we do have brown recluse in michigan and the dnr do have it posted on their page so u went to the wrong site ...


    3. Your address leads to a general front page for the DNR and doesnt even mention the Brown Recluse. I believe this is the URL you meant to leave....,4570,7-153-10370_12145_12204-36491--,00.html

      Which is, by the way, the one I did go to, and you will notice the very first paragraph says....

      Because the brown recluse cannot live in temperatures below 40°F, Michigan is not high on its list of vacation hotspots. In fact, the brown recluse is extremely rare in Michigan, having been documented here only once. In this case the spiders were found in a heated building and were probably introduced in materials shipped from the southern United States.

    4. Why wouldn't anyone think that they could travel here to Michigan in someone's luggage or similar?

    5. I just read an article on the MSN extension page that says they are here. You really should read it since you seem to know everything and are so rude about it. Honestly, people aren't gonna listen to someone that isn't open to even listen to anyone. You're hard headed and in my opinion you choose to be ignorant about it.

    6. I just read an article on the MSN extension page that says they are here. You really should read it since you seem to know everything and are so rude about it. Honestly, people aren't gonna listen to someone that isn't open to even listen to anyone. You're hard headed and in my opinion you choose to be ignorant about it.

    7. I am from Flint MI. I caught a spider in my home. It is secured in a pill bottle. Numerous people have told me that it is a brown recluse spider. If there is a nest in my home somewhere, what is the best way to get rid of them.

  3. Not sure what your standards are exactly as to what is 'credible enough' or not, or if you would deem this info from Michigan State as sufficient proof, with facts to back up what they're saying, but I am curious to know your thoughts about this, from MSU:

    And to Anonymous - right there with you on your views on the DNR's "knowledge", or at least, their lack of public sharing; of what we already know. No cougars...uh-huh... Except for the one in our photos. Yeah...'passing thru'. Don't want to spread fear...or the truth.

  4. Ok, now this is what I like to see! :o) So here is my thought on this information....

    According to this article, there have been three documented findings where nobody in the families had taken any trips down south.

    This is not saying the Recluse has migrated here. It is only saying that they are living in those specific locations. Consider this possibility.... A truck that had been down south is driving along the road with a recluse on it somewhere. The spider finally moves to the wrong area and the wind catches it and tosses it to the ground. As the fall sets in, the spider is drawn to a warmer location, which is inside the house or building. As long as that building never gets below 40 degrees, the recluse will live in it. But the Brown Recluse will not migrate and become indigenous to Michigan because it cant survive the winters. The people within a location do not necessarily have to be the ones who went down south.

    So as soon as I get some time, I will amend this article to say that it is possible for the recluse to be brought to Michigan and live within a dwelling as long as that dwelling does not get cold. If anyone is afraid of having recluse spiders in their homes, all they need to do is allow it to get below 30 for a day in the Winter and they will die. Problem solved.

    But consider this as well..... As of July 2011, there was almost 10,000,000 people in Michigan. Since 2009 (3 years) there have only been 3 recorded sightings (according to that article). Lets say some have not been recorded. Say there are 9 sightings total. That would be 3 per year among 10 million people. This is just my opinion, but I would definitely say that this hardly warrants saying we have the Brown Recluse in Michigan. I still see this as saying we do not have the recluse except for the extremely rare occasion when some are brought in and dwell within a single location. They are not indigenous to Michigan and they are not Migrating here. The odds are truly about 1 in a Million chance of seeing one.

    But until more information comes in, I will concede that it is at least possible (1 in a million chance) to see one. It is in no way, something we need to fear in Michigan.

    I do thank you for the article though. That is exactly the kind of stuff I am looking for. Articles written by a reputable source is always good. :o)

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. As I said I will do. I deleted a comment about someones nephew being bitten by a Recluse in Sterling Heights. Another story of someone knowing someone who was bit, but not offering any real evidence. That only does one of two things. It means that either, the story is made up, or that the doctors made another misdiagnosis.

    Please, email me official medical records. Give me the names of the doctors and where they are located. Email me their numbers. Show me recorded proof the spider was actually verified as the Recluse. Do something other than tell me another story!

    Why is it that there is only proof given to me of two or three confirmed sightings ever in Michigan but everyone seems to know someone who was bit? If so many people were really bit, the recluse would be the most common spider to be biting people in Michigan. Therefore, we would have to be seeing them enough to have dozens of confirmed sightings. The numbers just dont add up!

  7. Sir, I am no expert on spiders, but as a child many years ago I did quite a bit of research on them. This was back in the late seventies or possibly very early that time I found an article in my encyclopedia(remember those?) which had geographic maps outlining areas of the United States where various spiders were supposed to be indigenous. That map clearly showed Michigan as being an area where the Recluse spider was habitual.(World Book Encyclopedia, 1974 edition). I know this doesn't mean much, but I also remember the clear definition of what areas where likely to allow such a spider to survive. Simply put, they are called a Recluse for a reason; it is not uncommon for them to live inside the walls of houses, in attics,or under piles of material that has been left stagnant for years. Being as how you have obviously studied this, I'm sure you already know, but I also remember reading that "a person may live their entire lifetime of over 50 years or more and never have seen one" which means to me, you're simply not going to just go up in some old house and find one in anywhere, USA. That having been said, I am a bit skeptical about there existence here in Michigan, although I do believe it to be entirely possible. As for the story of the species supposedly not being able to survive cold weather, consider this; hundreds of species of spiders are found in the southwestern states, and most may not survive in this region, but nearly all of them still have to deal with extreme cold as desert climates can easily reach below 30 degrees at night down there year round. And there are literally millions of black widows to be found in the corner of every abandoned shed down there to prove it. I would also venture to guess the Recluse is probably one of them. My two cents worth.

  8. well homie the dnr is full of shit and heres a couple case in point the dnr says theres to turkys in chippawa yet i ran one over with my truck just weeks ago and they also say theres no wolfs in the kincheloe area yet my indian freind just shot one last mounth and it had a dnr tracking collar so dont belive what the dnr tells ya also i own a cabin around the clare area and i just had to spider bomb it becouse of a recluse infestiton so research more b4 u back the dnr and try and dissprove myths with there bs knolage

  9. I will let these two stand for a short while before I delete them for examples of why I delete these comments now.

    The first tells me how he/she remembers reading about them or seeing a map in an encyclopedia. To this, I say, "Find that encyclopedia and show it to me". Every map I see shows their region as far north as lower Ohio only. As for the deserts getting to 30 degrees every night. You are right. Now please tell me what desert is supposed to have the Recluse. There are millions of Widows down there. I state the Widow is here too. It is the Recluse that is not here (or in deserts).

    Here are some URL addresses to different sites showing a map where the Recluse's region is. I notice many use the same map, but they all show very near the same region....

    Now I challenge you to find me a map on-line by a reputable source that shows different.

    At least he/she was polite. Then I have the second comment, starting off with cutting down the DNR and swearing, and once again ONLY telling stories, but offering NO documentation to back it up, while telling me I should do my research. Running over Turkeys that are not supposed to be here and shooting a Wolf that isn't supposed to be here? Those both sound like they would have been noteworthy for news. Should have been documented. Why weren't they? Again, I don't like calling anyone a liar. Maybe these instances happened. Maybe they killed the only one of these animals to move into Michigan. Maybe they are getting second hand stories from people talking up a storm. Simply put, Stories don't prove anything. Offer some documentation or story from a reputable source. However much you don't like the DNR, they are still far more reputable than you spewing off a story.

    You just had a recluse infestation? Send me one. Call the news and show them the recluse so they can show that they do live here. But coming on here and telling your stories does not prove anything.

    As for me needing to research more? I have read probably near a hundred articles from different sources. I have traded email with one Entomologist and spoke to another from MSU on the phone. I have challenged the readers to send me or show some proof that the Recluse has actually been sighted here in Michigan. .... So far I have been told and read over and over that the Recluse is NOT indigenous to Michigan. I have only been given one article about two sightings ever in Michigan. The DNR states there is one sighting. I have done my research and the readers have not proven that research wrong.

    Now I would advise anyone else, to please, do your OWN research before you leave a comment arguing with me. If you can only come up with your own stories or memories with no proof, you have done nothing more than make yourself look ignorant. I can find no proof they live here in Michigan other than the extremely rare isolated finding. If you believe they are here, research it yourself and show me evidence contrary to it.

  10. Do you suppose some people mistaken the "wolf" spider found here in Michigan to be what they believe to be a brown recluse spider? Also, and this is a mood point as you have proven yourself tenfold, but it is un-scholarly to cite "Wikipedia" as a credible source. No credible University accepts citation from that website no should the information there be considered completely factual. Otherwise, great article.

  11. Kenneth, thanks for the great info in your blog. I live in Sterling Heights and I found a Black Widow in my basement a couple years ago. At first I didn't believe my eyes because I too thought they don't live here. I actually managed to trap it and take it to Pets and Things in Utica who deals with reptiles and spiders. Keith, the owner confirmed it was a black widow. He also told me that widows live in Michigan, albeit not too common. I thought I had a rare discovery, but he obviously wasn't too surprised. I have pictures of it on my old iPhone, but that doesn't really prove anything because if someone doubted me they could argue that the pictures were taken anywhere.
    Anyway, just wanted to share something positive. Thanks.

  12. Great information, few points I may add. The DNR lists 2 types of spiders found in Michigan... Just 2. Unless I failed to navigate their site, clearly any nature center, walk outside, or 4 year old kid playing with a daddy long leg will have made a new discovery for Michigan's DNR.

    As far as misdiagnosis being the culprit for widespread belief of the Recluse in Michigan, I would agree. However, not without skepticism. This need not be sourced for validity, standard protocol for any physician treating ANY infection calls for taking test cultures and having them sent to a lab. The test cultures are placed on various agar plates where a range of Antibiotics are used to see which will work to fight the infection. I really could elaborate on this much more but the point is....
    WE DONT MESS AROUND WHEN IT COMES TO TREATING INFECTIONS or DISEASES FOR A VERY IMPORTANT REASON... LEFT UNTREATED, THEY WILL KILL US. So I find it hard to believe that physicians are so recklessly misdiagnosing and treating reported spider bites. That's called medical malpractice and Doctors spend a large portion of their income on insurance to protect themselves from the advent that they do actually fail to follow protocol. Which I guarantee you, 99% of the time they are more concerned with protocol than they are treating your injuries. Try asking a RN to remove your stitches without a doctors orders, ask them to clip a hang nail.. They wont/cant.

    So this idea that Doctors with an education from the south are misdiagnosing MRSA infections just doesn't add up. That's simply not how medical practitioners practice their medicine :)

    I don't think its a very good argument to make in support of your belief. It makes as much sense as... well, if there are recluse spiders in Michigan, where are they? You're right I'm sure the culprit is, "I know a guy who had a buddy...". However, its not on a statewide medical malpractice level. Think of the ramifications if an entire State's health care network was to blame for the general public having "common fact" knowledge of the cause for an infectious outbreak.

    Source: I am a MHSA student at University of Michigan School of Public Health.
    Dr. James Gordon of DMC hospitals is North Americas premier specialist for treating infections and disease, he is the one who gave me incite on protocols for handling infections.

    1. You can find it as unlikely as you wish. Doesn't change things for the several folks I know personally who have been bitten and have the tissue scar damage to prove it!

  13. Very well written argument and I will admit that the theory of WHY doctors misdiagnose things is just that. My Theory! But as for whether doctors misdiagnose other problems as spider bites, or other spider bites as Recluse bites, that I am sure of. So wouldnt that be a malpractice suit itself?

    I was bit by a spider twice in my life that I am aware of. One was on the tip of my finger when I accidentally put it down on a Yellow Sac Spider. It felt like a little sting and it was irritated for maybe half an hour and went away. The other time was a different story. I woke up with my foot swollen. Couldnt even put on my shoe. I went to a clinic in Madison Heights and the doctor there looked it over and said it was an infection. He pointed to a small scratch on the opposite side of my foot from where the main swelling was. I even asked him if a scratch on the one side of my foot would cause so much swelling on the other side if it was just an infection. He said yes. He gave me some stuff to put on it and clean it every day. Two days later it was even bigger and hurting. Felt like my foot was going to split open, so I went to Beaumont Hospital. They looked at it for two minutes and said it was a spider bite and showed me the markings. Gave me a prescription and it was better within two days.

    So yes, I do believe doctors misdiagnose things and they do not all follow protocol. They should, but they do not.

    You mention the insurance is so costly. Why is that? Because there are so many cases of Doctors being sued for malpractice. I also believe that for every one case of a doctor being sued for malpractice, there are many cases where the doctors are not sued.

    Just from visitors to this site, I have read several stories of doctors diagnosing recluse bites in Michigan. I have talked to people in person who say they know someone who was diagnosed being bit by a recluse. Yet there are only three confirmed sightings of the recluse ever, that I can uncover. How are so many people being bit, but nobody ever seeing the spider? The DNR states we do not have the Recluse here in Michigan. I have had two different Spider experts say they do not live here in Michigan. I have found several sites stating they do not live here in Michigan. Yet doctors are often diagnosing people with recluse bites from all the stories I hear. So either all of the experts on the spider are wrong, and the recluse spider has some magical powers to never be seen but bite a lot of people, or Doctors are misdiagnosing other problems as Recluse Bites. You be the judge which one makes sense.

    Cops are supposed to defend the laws, not break them, but many do. Engineers are supposed to design things by specific standards, but I often see the easy way out taken by the big three engineers. Teachers are supposed to teach the kids and push them to learn, but many dont care a bit what happens to the students. Doctors are human. They have protocols to follow. They often ignore them. Maybe because insurance wont pay for certain things, so they skip certain procedures and such. I dont know. I do know they do misdiagnose things all the time.

  14. Let me be clear of something here. I do not mean to discredit our Doctors in any way. I have utmost respect for them. I believe most people expect too much from doctors.

    I know people who will go to a doctor and if the doc doesnt know exactly what is wrong after one visit, they are terrible doctors. I think that is ridiculous. Doctors are people with a specific training. They are no all knowing Gods! They can look at the symptoms, diagnose and gather information and then they simply decide what they think is the most likely problem. Often they are right. Sometimes they are wrong and people need to return and say its not getting better. The Doctor can then eliminate that problem and with that information eliminate a few other possibilities as well and choose what it the next most likely cause. Sometimes Doctors can figure it out in one visit, but sometimes they need to work through it, do tests and such and search for the answer. I think that is why it is called a Practice! Because never get to the point they know all of the answers. They have to continue to practice at their jobs to keep learning more.

    But like ANY profession, there are many who are not as good as the others. There are some doctors who simply are not very good at their jobs. Some who dont care as much. Some who think they know everything already and ignore procedures they shouldnt. Some who may be lazy. Some who have grown tired of their jobs. There are also some who assume diagnoses rather than have them checked into. All of these problem Doctors are a small portion of the entire field, but they do enough damage to make things bad for the rest. This happens in EVERY field of work. There are always those who do not match up for various reasons. Often the many are blamed for the actions of the few.

    I have great respect for doctors and I will ALWAYS tell people that if they think they were bit by ANY spider and it shows adverse reactions, to get to a doctor. But I am not a fool to think that every doctor follows protocol and does his best to have everything checked out right. It would be wonderful if they did. They all do not.

    This is strictly a guess, but we likely have several thousand doctors here in Michigan. If there are a hundred who do not follow protocol and misdiagnose infections as recluse bites, it would still be a small percentage of the doctors that make those mistakes. Yet it would still be enough to keep the widespread myth of Recluse Spiders being here in Michigan alive.

  15. Since I am on a roll with this subject right now, I will go ahead and make one other statement....

    I love sports. I listen to 97.1 the Ticket, Sports Talk Radio quite often. Right now, my favorite show on the Ticket is the Jamie and Wojo Show in the early evenings. I listen to them every day on my way home from work. I feel they have a fresh and enjoyable personality to the show. They have a silly humor that is fun rather than sarcastic, mean or angry.

    However, Not too long ago, Wojo was talking about how he was putting on some pants and a huge spider fell out of the pant leg onto the floor. They got into talking about spiders and Wojo made the statement that he does know that there is one spider in Michigan that is deadly, and that is the Brown Recluse. Well, I grabbed my phone and started searching the contacts for the number and was about to hit dial, when I remembered something. I am going through hard times right now, and had to let my phones get turned off, and was carrying it strictly out of habit!

    I cannot tell you how upset it made me. I get around a thousand people looking at my site every day. Likely only a small portion of them will read much about the Recluse. So I can only do so much to fight this myth. Then I hear Wojo say that on the radio with their gazillion listeners and that one statement did a hundred times more damage than I have been able to repair.

    I emailed him that night, but he never responded. I am not upset with Wojo, as he is just another ill informed person, but my God he is an ill informed person with a lot of power behind his words! lol


  16. Very sorry to hear about you missed chance!
    Malpractice happens constantly. In fact thats how i met doctor Gordon. I was being treated for an infected wound which landed me in the hospital. The ER doctor did not take a culture, nor did the attending physician who was assigned to me. And after 4 days of being stuck in a hospital on constant IV antibiotics there was no sign of the treatment working. I fired that doctor called in a favor and Dr. Gordon came to the rescue. He was shocked to find that the ER did not do a culture right off the bat. I did 2 days on the strongest antibody known to man which made my head burn! It was either do this or lose my hand, then arm, and eventually die.

    This was a dog bite...

    Infections are serious, thats why I dont see how its possible for a doctor to outright claim a recluse bite and treat it accordingly. However, as you said, those 100 doctors that do, their patients tell their friends who tell their family who tell their friends.. Boom pandemic. As well with infections, doctors do as you said trial and error treatment. Write you a script for a standard antibody come back if it gets worse. They dont go straight for the powerful medicine because the more you are exposed to it, the weaker your immune system gets and more likely the bacteria will adapt as well.

    I guess a recluse bite isnt a serious enough infection to warrant proper protocols if standard oral antibiotics do the trick.

    Last bit, medical malpractice does happen. However to have a legal case, physical harm must be present, MORE IMPORTANTLY.... Financial loss has to equate to enough for a lawyer to take his time to hear your case. So it happens, and often. However, my $15,000 worth a hospitalization for 3 days being improperly treated for my injuries isnt near worth Figers time :)

  17. I am not a professional in any means, but all I can say to support recluse in michigan is that all forms of life have adappted and evolved to the environment it has been placed, therefore why is it that a little insect, that has been around longer than man itself, can't overcome a change in temperature

  18. The Great White Shark will never be found in Lake Michigan. Why? Because it is a Salt Water Creature and not a Fresh Water animal. Polar Bears are not found in the tropics. There are simply things that each creature cannot adapt to. The Brown Recluse does not adapt to cold weather. It needs warmer weather to survive. As our Winters get below freezing, it is too cold for the Recluse to survive. So the only way it can possibly survive here in Michigan, is if it is brought in and kept in a warm environment. This is the reasons for the very rare sightings we have had. But the cold Winters keeps the Recluse from living outside and thus, keeps it from traveling across the state and spreading and becoming indigenous.

    The DNR does not go in depth about every spider and every bird and every creature that lives in Michigan. Only those that they believe have some importance to make note of. Since there is a wide belief that the Recluse, which is a dangerous spider, is here in Michigan, they list it and point out the only sighting they have recorded.

    Wikipedia is not 100% factual. Therefore I will not list it as my only basis of evidence. However, it is still a pretty decent guide to good information and that in junction with other more reputable sites, does let it lend some weight to an argument.

    1. So they couldn't live in someone's house for the winter weird. I'm pretty sure my house with my wood stove doesnt drop below 80. But it must be impossible cause u say so.

    2. Try reading what I said again before you try being sarcastic. As I said. Copied and pasted from above comment - "So the only way it can possibly survive here in Michigan, is if it is brought in and kept in a warm environment."

      But as I said, the cold winters will keep it from traveling outside. The odds of a spider living a winter in a house, then going out in the summer and finding another home to live the winter in is just too slim for me to believe.

  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  20. How do we email you pics of spiders? I am trying to identify one that has made a huge web around my lamppost, but it is always in the same spot in the day (partially squeezed hidden in the lamp area). At night, it does come out. I know you don't believe the brown recluse lives here, but it looks like it is one to me. I could send you a picture if you send me your email. I can try to get a picture of it, but I'm afraid of spiders and don't know how close to get. It looks like the brown recluse, based on pictures I've seen. I've seen black widows, I live in the country and have had them in wood piles.

    1. The email to send pics to is near the top in every page.

      Though from your description, your spider is not the Brown Recluse. It is one of the many varieties of the Garden Orb Weaver. Instead of going by a description of the Brown Recluse, try looking at the pics of one. They really don't vary very much at all.

  21. Anonymous September 13, this is exactly what he is saying not to do. So YOU, have seen a Recluse. Who are YOU. Do you have an entomology degree? How do you know it is a recluse. Other spiders bite. I have lived in Michigan, and been a interested in entomology my whole life. There are things that bite, and old folks call them a Recluse. Old folks tell us that that's what they are. We grow up thinking that, and that's what we call them. Many people in Michigan, have history in the South. They came up here for jobs, and really thought they got bit by a recluse. It still doesn't make them entomologists. My allergy doctor was telling me that she gets a few old farts a week telling her that if you let a Chihuahua sleep on your chest, it cures asthma. My Dad's a retired electrical engineer. He's brilliant, but he's still very guilty of folk wisdom. If you have so many Recluse,capture one, and get it identified. WITH THESE SUPPOSED SIGHTINGS,THAT HAVE NO SCIENTIFIC BACK UP, YOU ARE CAUSING MORE HARM THEN GOOD. SCIENTISTS, USE FACTUAL INFORMATION TO DECIDE WHETHER, OR NOT THINGS ARE WORTH INVESTIGATING. THIS INFORMATION GIVES A BASES TO DOCTORS, FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL, IF BY READING YOUR COMMENT, SOME YOUNG, INEXPERIENCED DOCTOR TREATED SOMEONE FOR A RECLUSE BITE, AND IT WASN'T A RECLUSE, AND THE TREATMENT, OR LACK OF CORRECT TREATMENT MADE THEM GET WORSE, OR DIE? For gosh sake, the guy running the board said don't post, unless you back it up with proof. I suggest that instead of posting, you take a trip to the dictionary, and look up what proof means.

    1. Thanks, but dont let it get to you. :o) It is amazing how many people are sure they have Recluse spiders in their homes or know where they have seen them and nobody can get one identified by an expert. Everyone has a story of knowing someone who has been bit, but nobody can offer any real evidence.

  22. Well I have a brown recluse in a tank in my house caught in northern Michigan. If I can figure out how to post a pic from my phone I will do so. They do live here in Michigan. So give me a bit and I will show u. I also have a wolf spider about the size of a rose haired trantula spelling? Not as smart as u folks. With ur fancy words.

    1. 1) Looking forward to seeing the Recluse. In your email, when you send it to me, please tell me where you are too. I would be interested in seeing it for real.

      2) The Rose Haired Tarantula gets to be 5" to 6". The Wolf Spider does not get that large. Sorry,, but I need a pic of that too. Please take a pic of it next to a ruler or a quarter or something for comparison.

      3) Fancy words dont make someone smart. Often those who learn a lot of fancy words are trying to make up for their lack of knowledge. Sometimes they are just very smart. But smart people will always investigate for the truth rather than insist they know it without looking into it.

  23. If anyone really does find a recluse in their home, as much as I would love to see a pic of it, that really would not prove anything. After all, how do I know where you really took the pic, or if you actually took it or stole it from somewhere else on the web?

    All experts say the Recluse does NOT live in Michigan. DNR and MSU say there have only been a few sightings ever in Michigan. So I think the news of finding one would be big enough to get it on the news, or get a real entomologist to your location to identify it and document it.

    Now THAT would be proof! And who knows, maybe your own 15 minutes of fame as well.

  24. Hey idiot who wrote this... its Oct. 2012 and reports are flying over the news for the INFESTATION OF BROWN RECLUSES In MiCHIGAN!!! They've been around for years moron... hope u didn't kill any1 by your uneducated rant.....

    1. Alexis J
      Funny how I am the moron when you are the one who cant follow the most
      simplest of directions. All I asked is if there is proof of the Brown Recluse here in Michigan, that someone supplies it. Not to just come on here and rant about a story you cannot or will not back up.

      If there is news flying about an infestation, why cant I find that news? I just did a search for "Brown Recluse Michigan news 2012". Nothing came up that is recent.

      To Everyone else....
      This above is exactly what I am asking you NOT to do. You here news or stories or rumors from others and jump on here and rant like some immature teen, rather than intelligently give a URL to where there is a news article or something showing the Recluse is in Michigan.

      Please understand. If the Recluse is actually here, I want to know more than anyone! I want ONLY to report the truth in this site. But until I see real evidence and not just rumors and stories started by those who dont know a Recluse from a Nursery Web Spider, I cannot say it is in Michigan. Until there is real evidence backing it up, I have to continue to say it is NOT in Michigan. Because right now, ALL evidence is saying the Brown Recluse is NOT indigenous to Michigan.

      So please forgive this Moron for sticking to logic rather than believing stories from the uneducated. It is just the way I was taught to be. ;o)

  25. My father was diagnosed back in the mid-'70s with a brown recluse bite in Big Rapids, Michigan. It had hidden in his boot which was kept in the garage prior to his wearing it. He had necrotizing skin, which had to be removed. It began immediately - not a MRSA situation. While they may not be indigenous to Michigan, they are here, as are many "invasive" species.

    1. No offense, but this is again nothing more than another story. I cannot know you are telling the truth or just making something up. I dont know you and therefore have no way of knowing you are not lying. Or maybe that you just heard the story and it was blo0wn up out of proportion when it was told.

      You dont even say the spider was caught and identified. Just that he was diagnosed with the bite. But as I have stated here several times, many people have been misdiagnosed.

      I do not mean this to be discrediting to you in any way. I just have no way of knowing. So again, this is another story that is once again lacking any evidence to back it up.

  26. I have a spider that i just killed and have been told it looks like a brown recluse. I need help identifying it. Can you help?

    1. If you can email me a clear pic, I may be able to tell you what it is. I should be able to at least tell you if it is a Brown Recluse. But that will depend on what kind of shape it is in now. lol My email is near the top of every page.

      If you can see the eye pattern, even if you use a magnifying glass, that is the best way, but it is not 100%. The Recluse has six eyes total, but they are separated into pairs. All three pairs have the two eyes very close to each other and the three pairs are all spaced apart to make it clear. Sort of like..... ( ** ** ** )

  27. I know there are a lot of people who have been diagnosed as being bitten. I know there are many more who know someone who has. There are many people who claim to have seen the Brown Recluse here in Michigan. But does it not tell you something that with so many people who have been bitten or seen them, that nobody can offer any evidence? That with over a thousand people visiting this blog every day during the warm months, not one person has sent me a picture they took of one they found, or had an expert identify one.

    Why is it that nobody who is bitten ever sees the spider? Ever kills it and takes it to the hospital with them? With the DNR and MSU both stating that it is very rare to ever even see one in Michigan, doesnt it only make sense that if someone saw one, they would call the news or get a hold of an expert?

    Why do we have reputable organizations and entomologists claiming they are not here in Michigan and no real evidence to the contrary?

    Right now the evidence that they are not in Michigan is overwhelming and the evidence they really are, is almost completely non-existent. And the only ones who will argue that they are here, cannot back up anything they say. In any court of law, this would be an open and shut case.

  28. How do i send you a picture of the spider i just found in my house?

  29. My Email is in the third paragraph from the top of every page.

    I prefer the picture as an attachment in a Jpeg format, but will try to accept other ways.

  30. I do think that many people mistake the Wolf Spider for the Brown Recluse. That is actually what brought me to this website. I don't believe in killing spiders and I will either leave them alone or have my boyfriend take them outside. My Mom was telling me that I should kill them because there has apparently been news of increasing Brown Recluse bites here in Michigan and people are having to get their legs amputated blah blah blah. (IMPORTANT: Hearsay from my Mom, I have no first hand knowledge of this news - just illustrating how the myths DO spread unnecessary fear). So I just found a huge ugly spider in my spare bedroom and immediately freaked out thinking it was a Brown Recluse. It wasn't. According to the pictures on this website it was in fact a Wolf Spider. I'm glad I didn't kill it, hopefully it will just go back into hiding! Thank you for this website I feel much better that I don't need to worry about the Brown Recluse now.

  31. Hi my name is Sam I'm from Lapeer mi
    You said in an older post that the brown recluse or any spider isn't known for carrying the MRSA virus but if a recluse bite gets too bad can the infection turn into MRSA? plus this site is great and I agree I think a lot of people mistake the recluse for wolf spiders because they can be brown.
    Why do doctors get the 2 mixed up are they both treated the same way?

  32. Most people really dont know one spider from another. I cannot tell you how many times I have been sent a picture of a spider and asked if it was the Brown Recluse. Orb Weavers, Fishing Spiders, Grass Spiders, Yellow Sac Spiders, they have all been sent to me in fear it was a recluse.

    What it comes down to, I believe, is that most people learn from other people. In the Spider world, that is often a good case of the blind leading the blind. Someone who doesnt know anything about spiders will tell a friend that a Sac Spider is a Brown Recluse. That person, not knowing better, believes them and thinks he/she sees Recluse Spiders all the time when they are really seeing common Sac Spiders.

    As for doctors, I dont believe it is because they are treated the same. In fact, the Wolf Spider's bite is really nothing like the Recluse's bite. Again, I believe it is more of the fear of the Recluse that causes misdiagnoses. Most of the time, if someone is bit by a recluse, the effects are not serious and fade in days. But the occasional serious bite, looks almost identical to some viruses like MRSA, or infections, or even some allergic reactions to bites from other insects.

    In fact, I was once sent a picture of a bite that was diagnosed as a recluse bite. It looked similar to pics I have seen on-line, but something wasnt right to me. So I started looking up images. I found almost identical looking pictures from people who had allergic reactions to insect bites. In my opinion, there was no doubt the picture sent to me was not a recluse bite, but was indeed an allergic reaction. YEt it was diagnosed as a recluse bite.

    Now I am no doctor, but people forget that doctors are also human. They dont know everything and they can even be taught bad information as easy as we can. When a person sees a large swelling area with a gaping sore in it, they automatically think Recluse. Doctors can do the same thing. It is the first impression in our minds. IF they have studied in places or lived in areas that do have recluse spiders, then it is even more expected for them to think Recluse bite when they see the same looking wound.

  33. Oh, and thanks for the gracious comments about this site. :o) Thank you to all of you for using Michigan Spiders.

  34. Once again.... if real evidence can be supplied to prove to me the Recluse lives in Michigan, I would be more than happy to display as much. However, if you cannot offer any real evidence, and instead you can only offer your opinion, please do not clutter the comments with opinions on this subject. I will delete many comments that are nothing but opinions or stories you have to tell.

    Any comments on this subject left in the comments of another spider will be deleted without prejudice.

  35. MSU Extension Office has confirmed the spider in Michigan.
    but says 99.99% of people in MI will never see one.

  36. Yes. I have mentioned as much. It is completely possible for a recluse to be brought into Michigan on a truck or something and be blown off in the wind. It could easily make its way into a home or building and so long as that building stays warm, the recluse can survive. But it cannot spread and stay alive in our winters.

    It is possible for someone to get a baby alligator and when it gets too big, they let it loose. Someone else can come across that alligator. They could say we have alligators in Michigan, but in all reality we dont have them. We have one case that was brought in. It is the same thing with the recluse.

    I know the article says they could not track it to being brought in by someone in the house, but that doesnt mean it moved in by spreading on its own. It was still brought in somehow, they just couldnt track how. Remember, she had seen thousands of spiders sent to her, and only two were the recluse.

    Think about it. seven plus million people in Michigan and in recorded history, only enough documented cases of the recluse that you can count them on one hand? They dont thrive here. They dont spread here on their own. They are NOT indigenous to Michigan. The only chance of finding one is if it was brought in from down south and that is extremely rare.

  37. As many know now, I do not allow posts on this subject to be placed under other areas of my site.

    Anonymous said....
    My boyfriend was bit by a brown racluse in interlochen ; michigan. I will post a picture of the wound which he has had for one year in may. Due to minimal knowledge of the spider here in northern Michigan he hes been suffering in pain for one year. The doctors are more than likely going to amputate his toes and possibly the whole foot.

    1. To which I will reply.....

      Even a Brown Recluse bite should not last a full year. The reason it is not healing may be because he was misdiagnosed and they are treating it according to that. Tell the doctor I assure him the odds of being bit by a recluse in Michigan (since it is not indigenous to Michigan) is extremely slim. Have the wound swabbed and checked for MRSA and other infections.

      If you insist on believing it is a recluse bite, please tell me who identified the spider for him. He did see the spider right? Have him email me the doctors name and location so I can get a hold of him and have him give the doctor permission to speak to me about it.

      If he was truly bit by a Brown Recluse, which is possible, but extremely unlikely, I would be more than happy to see real evidence. A photo of the wound is not enough because as I have said, Doctors very often misdiagnose dangerous infections as Recluse bites, because they look very similar.

      If you dont believe me, email a real entomologist at MSU, or Burke Museum or something and see what they say.

  38. Go to recluse you'll see photo graphic evidence they do ibdact live here in michigan

    1. You might see a photo of a recluse that was found in Michigan. This does not mean they are indigenous to Michigan. Though they are not indigenous, there is still a very very rare case where someone brings one to Michigan from down south in their luggage, or gets one in a package mailed to them or something. Then when they are found people want to think because one was found, they must be indigenous. The truth is, you have a much better chance of being struck by lightning in Michigan than finding one of those rogue Recluse spiders that someone brings over here. A half a dozen positive sightings ever, in a state of around 10 million people. Those sightings are almost all found in places where someone who lives there was down south or received a package from another state.

    Another story with no proof. Don't know who the "experts" were. And nobody saw the spider. But hey, it's in the news. Must be true! Even the photograph (to my extremely un-expert eyes) does not look like a b-r. A little blurry, but I think this one has 8 eyes...

    1. They can test the bite and venom in the body. And it was in fact a recluse.

    2. I agree with most of what you say. However, the spider in the photograph does in fact look like a Brown recluse. Or one of its very similar relatives. There are several different recluse species. But the one Brown recluse I did have in my possession before looked very much like the spider in the pic.And I only count 6 eyes.


  41. 1) I talked to a pathologist from a hospital just over a year ago. He admitted to me that there is no possible way of confirming a recluse bite by a test. He even looked into his computer for information on that while I was on the phone with him.
    2) The article says they never saw the spider and experts confirmed it was a recluse by looking at pictures. This is ridiculous as no entomologist who actually knows about the Brown recluse would confirm it by a picture of the bite. There are too many other insect bites, allergic reactions, infections and diseases that look too much like the same thing. If the expert was a doctor, he is misdiagnosing the wounds the same way many others do.
    3) Let's pretend this article was fact and not mixed up information and bad journalism. They even make a point of how rare it is to find a recluse in Michigan, and how rare it is that a bite from one would cause death. They point out that it is not indigenous to Michigan.

    1. Well I've seen a brown recluse in a box in my house.... After moving back to Michigan from Kentucky. I also seen a small brown scorpion in another box. After working in Florida for two months I found an anole in my garage... I'm pretty sure all three of these were hitchhikers not that they live here. Could it be possible that now there are other recluses here in my house? Sure. Have I seen another one? Nope. Working out in the woods I've seen several spiders that look like a recluse but not quite. As op has written many think they know what they see but don't. Kinda like the guy who gets bit by a mutt and says well it bit me must have been a pit bull. No sorry it's not. Heck I've had "experts" tell me that my dog was a pit because it's brindled with a deep chest. Nope again my dogs not pit. (in fact pits are breeds down from her so technically pits are part her). Look we're all humans. We make mistakes. And the sooner you accept that the better of we will be.

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  43. Of all the people that need to be wrapped up in an orange coat and sent to South Park-You are it Kenny! (God Dammit!)

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  45. How can I go about having you help me identify a spider I found that looks like a brown recluse? It's not the best quality but curious on what it is if it's not a recluse.