Brown recluse spider season is officially here!

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If spiders give you the creepy crawlies, get ready!

Brown recluse spiders are native to Oklahoma and most southern states.

They are active indoors all year long, however, when spring cleaning begins, they literally come out of the woodwork.

Brown recluse spiders like to hide in dark, tight spaces, such as behind bookshelves, between walls and loose baseboards, in shoes, and piles of clothing - eek!

Natural News even recommends pulling your bed away from the wall and never using bed skirts - double eek!

And when you see a brown recluse, there are plenty more that you don't see. reports that brown recluses are very tolerant of one another and can be found in large groupings. Great!

In fact, LiveScience states this fun fact:  "a female brown recluse needs to mate only once to produce eggs throughout her life, and can produce 150 or more spiderlings in a year. Thus, a single female hitchhiking into a structure is all it takes to establish an infestation." Fantastic!

But before your arachnopobia goes into full swing, don't panic.

Despite their creepy six - rather than eight - beady little eyes starring back at you, brown recluse spiders do not want to eat you alive.

They get their name because they like to hide, and are nocturnal, so are most active at night.

Brown recluse spiders are considered non-aggressive and will only bite when disturbed, though their bite packs a powerful punch.

The venom eats away at human flesh, so it's important to treat the bite immediately, especially when a child is bitten.

According to the National Institute of Health, typical symptoms may include:

  • Chills
  • Itching
  • General ill-feeling or discomfort, nausea
  • Fever
  • Reddish or purplish color in a circle around bite
  • Large sore (ulcer) in the area of the bite
  • Sweating

Rare symptoms include:  coma, blood in urine, yellowing of skin and eyes, kidney failure, and seizures, and death for people with poor immune systems.

Most bites can be treated at home by washing the area with soap and water, then repeatedly applying ice for ten minutes on, and ten minutes off until the swelling stops.

However, if the bite looks bad, or involves a child or someone with a compromised immune system, the NIH recommends going to the emergency room, and - if possible - capturing the spider in a container and taking it with you.

You can also call the National  Poison Control Center  at 1-800-222-1222 - experts there even deal with poisonous insect bites.

KFVS-TV shares some preventative tips to avoid a brown recluse bite:

  • Wear thick gloves while spring cleaning
  • Shake out any shoes before wearing them - the same applies to any clothing left on the floor
  • Place glue traps around your home

While spring cleaning is typically the first surge of brown recluse sightings of the year, females lay their eggs from May to July, so another wave of sightings typically happens in the summer months.

Several spiders are often mistaken for a brown recluse.

Click here for a detailed article from SpiderBytes on how to tell the difference.

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