To prove just how rare a brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa) is in Michigan, Rose Pest Solutions is running a contest: Now through Sept. 28, 2018, the Troy, Mich.-based firm is offering a $300 reward, a free inspection and free treatment for any validated infestations found in the Great Lakes State.
According to a press release, in their combined 44 years with Rose Pest Solutions, VP of Technical Services and PMP Columnist Mark “Shep” Sheperdigian, BCE, and Manager of Education and Training Mark VanderWerp have seen only one confirmed brown recluse spider infestation in Michigan. It occurred in a home where the tenants had relocated from Kansas, where the spiders are common.
“While it is possible for a brown recluse to be transported into Michigan via a box or other container, it is not common and even less likely that a structure will become infested,” the release announcing the contest reports. “Suggesting that milder Michigan winters are conducive to a growing brown recluse spider population is unfounded as they aren’t being discovered with any regularity, as well as not being found in outdoor locations.”
This week, I checked in with the Rose team to see whether they’ve received any entries. They noted that there’s an estimated 40 different medical conditions that can be confused with brown recluse bites, so public confusion is a huge factor. Rose launched the contest June 25, and has as of press time received 41 photos.
“No definitive confirmations of the brown recluse have been made,” Andrea Kenski, Rose’s marketing representative, told me. “However, two submissions have been Loxosceles spiders, which is the same genus as the brown recluse. Those who submitted Loxosceles pictures will receive a free inspection. But additional specimens must be found on-site by a Rose employee so that a definitive identification can be made to collect the $300 prize.”
Kenski says that so far, at least 10 different spider families have been sent in as a suspected brown recluse spider. Additionally, a couple of species of harvestmen (commonly called Daddy Long-Legs, order Opiliones) — which are arachnids, but are not spiders — have been sent in.
Rose has also received 15 submissions of large brown spiders from the Pisauridae family, known as fishing or nursery web spiders.
Full rules and disclaimer can be found on Rose Pest Solutions’ website. The challenge ends on Friday, Sept. 28, and Kenski has promised to keep us apprised.
Read more about brown recluse spiders: Paper aids in diagnosis of brown recluse bites