Researcher: Brown Spiders Not Deadly After All

Diane Barger's family had been living in their Kansas home for more than five years when her 13-year-old daughter noticed that there was something distinctive about the spiders she had seen so often in the 150-year-old house.

Many of the spiders had the violin pattern on their backs that is characteristic of the dreaded brown recluse spider, widely believed to be so poisonous that a single bite can cause death. Barger quickly collected a few of the spiders and headed down to the University of Kansas, where her son had just enrolled as an entomology major.

Indeed, the daughter had been right. The spiders were brown recluses. That finding sent Barger and her husband and two child