Brown Recluse Spiders in MD?

Asked June 25, 2015, 4:54 PM EDT

Dear Sir or Madam: I am wondering if the range of brown recluse spiders is changing and whether they are more frequently found in Maryland these days. The reason I ask is that I have heard of 3 people up here in Carroll County who have been diagnosed in the ER with brown recluse bites in about the last 6 weeks. While searching the web, I found some maps of brown recluse range that did not include Maryland. I also found statements that they are sometimes (rarely) seen in DC and Pennsylvania. What I'd like to know is are brown recluses becoming more common as the climate changes and warms? Many thanks, Laura Kelley

Carroll County Maryland

1 Response

The range of the brown recluse spider has not changed. It is native to areas in the southern midwest U.S..
However, travelers can bring them to Maryland and they have been found, for instance, on military bases.

Brown recluses are, indeed, reclusive. They are rarely encountered by humans, even when there are many in the vicinity. We do not know of any verified brown r ecluse in Carroll County. However, infected skin punctures are often misdiagnosed and blamed on these spiders. MERSA is one example of such an infection.

Spider mouth parts have two fangs and leave two distinct marks. If these are not clearly seen at once, then it can't be a brown recluse bite.
You do not need to be concerned about these spiders--though climate change is certainly going to have many unanticipated impacts, brown recluse spiders are not more common in Maryland at this time.