How Do You Identify Brown Recluse Spider Bites?

Identify a brown recluse spider bite by observing the spider, determining the pain level associated with the bite, looking at the appearance of the lesion, watching for changes, and then checking the wound over the next 48 hours. See a health care provider immediately upon finding the bite.

  1. Observe the spider

    If possible, observe the spider that bit you. A brown recluse has six eyes, violin markings and a brown body. The body has short hairs, giving the spider a fuzzy or velvety appearance.

  2. Determine pain level of the bite

    A brown recluse bite is usually painless.

  3. Look at the bite's appearance

    Look at the bite. It should have a red appearance that soon pales and forms a dark ring around the wound resembling a bullseye.

  4. Watch for changes

    Watch for the bite to change in appearance. A few hours after the initial bite, the wound looks like it is flowing or spreading downward and starts to blister.

  5. Check the lesion over the next several hours

    Check the status of the lesion over the next 12 to 48 hours. After blistering, the wound sinks down in the center and darkens in color, turning from blue to black. This is a sign of dead tissue.