In terms of location, Brown Recluse Spider is found mainly in the midwest midwest to the Gulf of Mexico, particularly in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. Are Brown Recluse in California?
Contrary to popular belief, there is no population of brown loner Loxosceles reclus in California. In fact, less than 20 verified specimens have been collected in this state for several decades by spider experts. On the other hand, black widows are very common throughout the state, causing potentially serious bite injuries. Adult females can be easily recognized by their shiny black body color and red hourglass on their stomachs.
Although the brown hermit does not live in California, four species of native hermit spiders occur in the southern areas of the state and can cause similar medical problems. The most common spider from California is the desert loner Loxosceles deserta. Occurs mainly in the Sonora and Mojave deserts, at the foot of the San Joaquin Valley and adjacent areas of Mexico; most of these areas are sparsely populated by people.
The bronze loner myth was generated and upheld by:
- Misdiagnosis of doctors (where many skin lesions of different origin other than a spider are blamed for a non-existent spider)
- Articles in the media that report terrible injuries after a bite without evidence of spider involvement
- Misidentification of harmless brown spiders as brown habitats by the general public and “authorities” who lack the proper skills to identify spiders
The myth of the brown loner
For homeowners, gardeners and all other people whose job is to tidy up the brown and wrinkled landscape of late summer, this may mean sticking their arms to the elbow in dried weeds, gusts of wind and dead garden plants. Around this time, those of us who work outside hear warning stories about Brown Recluse spiders lurking in this tall dead grass and about the friend of the storyteller (or cousin or ex-colleague) with a scar on his arm the diameter of a softball from an old brown bite a loner who invariably almost killed him.
The popularity of the brown loner
In its native range, the brown recluse is a very popular house spider. One night a colleague from Missouri found 5 in a child’s bedroom, and a person from Arkansas found 6 people living under his spring box in the bedroom while cleaning at Univ. from Arkansas, 52 were found in a science lab that was used daily, a friend found 9 living under one piece of plywood in Oklahoma, a student and I collected 40 of them in a barn in Missouri in 75 minutes, and I’d collect more, but we ran out of vials for their storage. One of the amazing stories is the eighth grade teacher in Oklahoma, who checks how his students eagerly collect material at loose bricks around the mast during an insect trip. In about 7 minutes, 8 students gathered 60 brown retreats, picking them up with their fingers and no children bite.