Brown Widow Spider Identification, the Threat and Control

Brown Widows introduced to California

A new resident has arrived in Southern California. The Brown Widow spider, formerly from Southern Africa has found a new home in the Coastal communities as well as in the warmer East County areas. Like their well known relative, the Black Widow spider, their bite can be very painful, with pain lasting up to a week or more.

Locating Brown Widows

You can find them outside at any time of the year especially in warmer climates such as Southern California. They are commonly found in lawn chairs, children’s toys, garbage cans, BBQ areas, and fence posts. Although they are an outside insect they can be brought inside on clothing, tools, bags, etc.

Identifying the Brown Widow

The Brown Widow Spider varies in color, size and shape but is generally a tan color, with dark brown strips on the joint of the legs. It has a unique orange spot on the underside of its abdomen, and is about l inch in diameter. The brown widow spider is similar to the black widow spider, but the brown widow spider has spiky-like pointed projections around the egg sacks. This is in fact the most identifiable characteristic that distinguishes the two.

Brown Widow – Common Dangers and Warnings

Though brown widow spiders do present a threat, don’t be alarmed. The Brown Widow spider is not an aggressive creature at all, given the chance she will always retreat, almost all bites are of a defensive nature. The venom of the brown widow can be as much as 10 times more poisonous than that of the Black Widow; however, they inject much less venom, so it would be somewhat of a wash. Other symptoms can be cramping, nausea, vomiting, elevated blood pressure and rapid heart beat. The bite is usually more serious in children and elderly people.

How to Treat Brown Widows

Most pesticides are effective if sprayed directly on the spider. However, pesticides are not effective on the egg sacks. The preferred method is physical destruction of the egg sack. A good general pest control treatment of landscapes surrounding the residence will also eliminate their insect food sources.
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