Overwintering Series: Can the Brown Recluse Spider Survive a Tennessee Winter?

Brown recluse spiders in the winter

Like the mosquitoes in our previous blog, the fiddle-marked brown recluse spider also enters into diapause/dormancy during the winter.

Brown recluses seek insulation and protection from leaves and accumulating snow. They’ve also been known to envelop themselves in a protective silk encasement. By seeking shelter in these types of insulation, brown recluse spiders can keep an average of three degrees warmer than the temperature of the air.

But how cold is too cold for the brown recluses spider? And does it get cold enough in Middle Tennessee to fatally freeze the brown recluse spider?

Short answer: It has to get really cold for a long time. And it doesn’t get that cold here.

Basically, if it was 23 degrees or colder for 30 days in a row, the population of brown recluse spider hiding out in the winter wilderness would not survive. However, even in our chilliest month–with an average low of 28 degrees–that’s not cold enough to fatally freeze all of the fiddle-bearers. And we all know that the weather in Tennessee is often bipolar and probably couldn’t commit to being one temperature for an entire month.

The Brown recluse spider often live in firewood. If you have firewood at your home, store it at least 20 feet from your house and at least five inches off of the ground. This firewood storage rule isn’t only good to keep brown recluses at bay. It also helps to keep termites away from your home.

When it’s time to bring a batch of firewood inside, carefully inspect it. It’s helpful to use gloves when inspecting, as a line of defense against a potential spider encounter. Besides that, who wants a splinter in their finger because they didn’t wear gloves? For some, getting a splinter out may be more traumatic than a spider bite.

Even if you don’t have firewood, brown recluse spiders still hide in low-traffic areas, such as boxes in the closet. Shake out your clothes after taking them out of the hamper. Store shoes, boots and clothing inside of plastic totes whenever possible.

Stay tuned to The Bug Man blog as our series on overwintering continues. If you’ve got a question about a particular pest, let us know. Post a comment, tweet us or post on our Facebook.