Again, we strongly recommend professional pest control, but if you have reason to believe the infestation is small and you want to try a DIY approach, here are some steps you can take. Remember that before starting any kind of inspection or treatment, put on long sleeves, gardening gloves, and boots to protect vulnerable skin. Brown recluse fangs are small and can’t pierce clothing.
Begin with the prevention methods listed above, then dust and vacuum your home thoroughly. You can lay down sticky traps in areas where brown recluses generally hide, including attics, basements, closets, and garages. There are any number of “natural” products that claim to repel spiders with essential oils or strong scents. However, remember that repelling spiders doesn’t kill them.
You can make a solution out of apple cider vinegar and water and spray it on any brown recluses you see. However, there’s no consensus on whether this works, and vinegar is usually suggested as a cure-all in terms of home remedies for all cleaning and pest problems. Diatomaceous earth sprinkled on a surface will kill brown recluses, but it works slowly, and the spiders have to come into direct contact to be affected.
The most reliable way to kill brown recluse spiders is with an insecticide. If there’s an infestation, some brown recluses will always be able to avoid sticky spider traps and diatomaceous earth, particularly egg-laying females. For your safety and that of your family, the benefits of using synthetic pesticides outweighs the risk as long as you use them as directed by the manufacturer.
Fortunately, many broad-spectrum pesticides like cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, deltamethrin, and lambda cyhalothrin are also effective against brown recluse spiders. These are available in spray, liquid, and dust forms. All of these are best used in targeted areas—that is, sprayed or blown into cracks and crevices where brown recluses are likely to be hiding. Whole-house foggers are rarely effective.
Follow the directions on the insecticide packaging and keep it away from children and pets. Once again, it’s a good idea to start with prevention methods to seal your home and glue traps to determine where to start treatment.