- Education and Science»
- Life Sciences»
- Spiders & Arachnids
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!