Brown Widow Spider Infestation

 

So I’m like everyone else and have all kinds of creatures calling my house / yard “home”. I happen to live in sub-tropical Florida where all kinds of fun little bugs and such thrive which doesn’t bother me too much except when I know they can do some potentially serious damage. Run of the mill palmetto bugs, wasps, lizards, frogs and various other insects frequent my landscape. We all co-exist just fine. I even had a colony of honey bees move into my oak tree out back that have since moved on. Then we fall into the spider category…….

I don’t have a problem with spiders in general but the poisonous ones give me the creeps. Not only do they look scary, a bite can be no joke from what I hear. I’ve been in my house for about 10 years now and never had a problem with dreaded Latrodectus geometricus until a few years ago. I honestly think they came in with the busy hurricane season we had in 2004. If you haven’t studied your Latin lately I’m referring to the Brown Widow. No typo there, I had only ever heard of the famous Black Widow until I started doing a little research. My infestation is definitely that of the Brown variety. There are two easy tell-tale signs:

1. They are not jet black

2. They have very recognizable egg sacks

As you can see in the picture they are much lighter in color and have the light / dark segments on their legs. They do also possess the famous hourglass on their underside which is another dead give-a-way. I’m not sure if it’s just me but they also just have that “look”. I see lots of spiders and 9 times out of 10 they just don’t have that horror movie shape that invokes a sense of fear. These little guys definitely do have a style that can induce Arachnophobia. The biggest confirmation though comes from the egg sacks. I started noticing them after running into some spider webs that were much stronger than I was used to coming across at my house. Curious, I followed the webs to where they came from under the window sills and there I saw the spiky, off-white egg sacks. While fascinating, they are also intimidating in the looks department and from what I’ve read they can contain between 200 – 400 little baby Brown Widows each. That’s a lot of spiders! As I stated, the webs are much stronger than your typical web and don’t clean up easily. They are also not attractive like most typical webs that follow a nice geometrical pattern. They are usually just a few straight lines that collect all kinds of leaves and trash with a spider and some eggs up at the top. Basically they are just a mess.

If you’ve read my other Hubs you know that I’m the proud Daddy to a beautiful baby girl. She’s still too young to be crawling all over the place but that day is coming like a freight train! I can’t have lots of poisonous spiders right down there at baby level so they have to go! From the research I have done, they are every bit as poisonous as their famous cousins and produce a very painful bite followed by flu like symptoms that can last for some time. Usually they are not fatal (which is somewhat comforting I suppose) because they do not inject as much of their toxin as the Black Widow. While they may not be fatal I don’t particularly feel like allowing anyone in my house to get bit. Time for them to go.

I originally would grab a stick, clean up the webs and squish the spider and eggs. Honestly I couldn’t ever get the web completely cleaned up started getting frustrated. I then happened upon a plumbers sweating propane torch on sale at the hardware store and thought that might be a great way to remove them. The good news is it works like a charm! The webs disintegrate instantly and the spiders and eggs don’t stand a chance. Typically once a month or so I’ll take a half hour or so and go all around the house and check all the eaves, windows, recycle bin (they love to live right where you put your fingers in the little handles) and patio furniture and have a torch fest. Amazingly within a matter of a few days and no more than a week I start noticing the webs again and sure enough another widow has moved into the same place! Where are they coming from??? I then decided to try run of the mill bug spray and hope it will deter them from moving back in. No luck there either. After reading the label closely it states in very small print that it works on all spiders EXCEPT widows! Bummer. Back to the internet I go.

After seeing countless message boards where others are having the exact recurring problem that I am, I happened upon a story where someone had called an exterminator and were told that a product called Demon WP works wonders on them. Needless to say I immediately found this magic elixir and placed my order! I just received an email saying it has shipped and should be here next week. I can’t wait to mix it up and go spray crazy! Supposedly the residual effects last for a few months so I am excited to see. Hopefully I have the same luck others have had and I can get a little reprieve from the pests that refuse to leave. Might keep me from burning my house down too! I’ll be sure to update on the outcome in a week or two!

Comments 14 comments

Esmeowl12 profile image

Esmeowl12 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

Wow. I'd never heard of these either. I'll definitely keep a lookout for them. I appreciate the valuable info. Voted up and very useful.


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 5 years ago from Holly, MI

OK these are definitely creepy looking. Have you tried eucalyptus oil? My house gets spiders bad but now I buy just plain eucalyptus oil and mix about 20 drops in a spray bottle with water and spray my interior and exterior. It even keeps them from accumulating on my wrap-around covered porch where they love to build their webs. I'm only suggesting it because you have a new baby.....I have dogs (not quite the same thing) and I'm very strict about not using any chemicals in my house.

You might want to try it....it keeps my house spider free about two months. As soon as I see one, I know it's time to spray again. Of course....I don't have this type of spider though but we do have northern black widows here.


Regular Dude profile image

Regular Dude 5 years ago from Florida Author

I love a good hippie remedy! I'll shop around and give that a shot too. We've also got a mini dauchsand and I'm sure a bite to her wouldn't be a good thing either. Anything to get rid of them is cool with me. Thanks!


fashion 5 years ago

This is very informative article.I'd never heard of these before this hub.Thanks for useful work.


foodfancy24 4 years ago

I live in Gainesville, FL and just discovered I have the same problem as you with brown widows. I was having morning coffee on the porch and noticed a spider web near the doorstep nearby. The spider was in the web so I decided to take a closer look. I immediately noticed it had a red/orange hourglass on it's abdomen. I knew the black widow had a red hourglass but this was clearly a brown spider- I shrugged it off as one of the bazillion types of spiders in Florida. Shortly thereafter I began noticing a lot more spider webs on my porch with the same ugly spider. I decided I better find out what kind of spider this was. After a few Googles I quickly came to learn there are BROWN widow spiders and I had lots of them living with me! I've since vacuumed numerous egg saks and spider webs off my porch but I'm really struggling with how to control the problem. I'd heard of Demon XP and sprayed it on the porch- it has only been a few days and seems to have helped but I am very concerned about my pets being on the porch now due to the poison AND the spiders. I'm sure a bite from one of these would kill a small animal like a cat. Also, being that this is a porch the poison gets moistened by rain and dew. In addition, I can't enjoy my porch anymore. I found brown widow webs under the very chair I sit in. Do you have a porch and how how you dealt with that area? I am going to chaulk any and all access points I can in hopes of keeping them out but something tells me they will still find their way in.


Like2tri 4 years ago

I also live in Gainesville Florida and have been battling with the Brown Widows outside my house and even in my garage. I will take a shop vac and suck up the webs and spiders. I am noticing them in my house. We have pest control once a month and even go around with store bought bug spray. They just won't go away. I don't even want to go outside and lay by the pool. When I flip over the patio furniture there are a bunch of big ones and the egg sacks. I'm so fed up. I don't know what else to do


Louisiana girl 4 years ago

We noticed egg sacks about a week and half ago. Since then we have found hundreds and hundreds of them. Mostly tiny babies! We are slowly going through everything outside, the places we have already sprayed, I see them coming back=( This is like a horror movie! I have chickens, ducks and goats..haven't really searched all their hang outs yet..but I know there will be many more. Seems like every new place we search there are hundreds of more babies. Haven't found many egg sacks, maybe 10..probably because they all hatched! I even found around 20-30 living inside my front screen door! We have the demon spray and my husband is using it. Haven't found any inside, but I will keep checking!


Ryan 4 years ago

I had an issue with these when I was going to school in Florida. We had an infestation of these in our window directly outside of our apartment front door.

It got to the point where they covered the window and moved on to the ceiling. A simple can of Raid honestly did the trick. I sprayed the entire area where they were nesting. Luckily it was fairly isolated to specific locations. By morning they were all dead. Didn't have any more trouble after that.


Kristy 3 years ago

Did the Demon stuff work?


Tina 2 years ago

I was wondering if that demon stuff worked also? We live in Monrovia , California and our street is INFECTION WITH BROWN WIDOWS and their egg sacs. Termites as well.


Regulardude 2 years ago

Demon did work well! I desperately need to order some more as they are back in full force...


NaturallyLiving 2 years ago

Save yourself and your family the toxicity of the pesticide, especially Demon, it's a potent one. You can kill them (or any spider) with dish soap (make sure it's dish soap specifically- any dish soap should work, but I go with Dawn as it's especially thick) and water in a spray bottle. It suffocates them. They don't die instantly, but they will die if left after doused, or it stuns them and then you can squish them. I add peppermint oil to my mix too, because it is a spider deterrent. You have to go out often and keep spraying this mix, but you'd have to do that with pesticide too. Brown Widows tend to make 3 eggsacs at once, vs a black widow that makes one at a time, so they multiply like CRAZY. Pour straight pure dish soap on the eggsacs- pour away. I've battled them for years, but if you keep at it, this works better than pesticide and it's so much less toxic to you, especially with a little one around.


NaturallyLiving 2 years ago

Go out at night to get the widows, it's the only way to get them all... Though their eggsacs are easier to see in the daytime


RosemeadCA 2 years ago

My property is full of them i use a water hose to hose the egg sacs from the roof and oil spray with a torch to roast them at night. They are all over the place. I have noticed there are less since I've been constantly monitoring their presense.

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