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Brown Widow Spiders

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QUESTION: I have recently bought a new home in Orlando and the back porch screen enclosure has a spider in every corner.  I believe they are black widows becuase they have the distinctive orange hour glass shape on the belly, but they are not black but brownish.  They also have eggs that have spikes on them.   I am concerned for my children if they are black widows.  Any suggestions?

ANSWER: These are Brown Widow spiders.  The spikes on the eggs is the indicator they are Brown Widows.  They are one of five types of widow spiders in America.  The other widow spider eggs will have a somewhat smooth, coarsely woven white to tan surface and is teardrop to spherical in shape.  The egg sac of the brown widow is beige to off-white in color and spherical in shape, but its outer surface has numerous distinctive pointed or spine-like projections like the ones you are seeing.  The venom of the brown widow has been reported as being the most lethal of the five species but on average they contain the least amount of venom per spider. Reactions to humans tend to be localized to the bite site, with systemic reactions restricted primarily to the young.

In order to control spiders, you must treat them directly with a contact insecticide.  I would leave this to a professional.  If you do not kill the spider because of an incorrect treatment, it could send them foraging in the wrong direction…..inside your home.  An initial application will kill all your spiders and then a good preventative quarterly application will keep them away.  Until the bug man gets there, keep the kids away!!!!

Brown Widow Spiders in Orlando FL and surrounding counties

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