Brown Widow Spider
Did you know that there are four types of Widow Spiders in Florida? They are the Northern Black Widow Spider, the Southern Widow Spider, the Red Widow Spider, and the Brown Widow Spider which will discuss in more detail below.
Although the venom of these spiders is not as toxic as the Black Widow, they are still very painful and can cause serious injury if not treated.
Because brown widow spiders (Latrodectus Geometricus) can vary from light tan to dark brown or almost black and may have different markings such as white, black, yellow, brown, and even orange on the back of their abdomen, they are tough to recognize! The picture below is of the red widow spider.
Brown Widow Egg Sac
You’ll notice the hourglass marking on the bottom of the abdomen, colored yellow or orange. The Egg Sac of the brown widow spider is not the same as other widows and has pointed projections, much like the old sea mines.
If you have pictures of this spider or believe a Brown Widow has bitten you, please post your comments below and send the photos to the email address at the bottom of this page.
I’m in Torrance, CA and these little bastards are EVERYWHERE.
If I take a flashlight and walk around my house at night I can count hundreds…literally every two feet. They hang upside down in their web which is usually about a foot off the ground, connected from the ground to the side of the house.
They are in trashcans, patio furniture, child toys, underneath cars…EVERYWHERE, and they are here to stay!
I’ve just learned to live with them because there is nothing you can do. Kill em?? Hundreds are waiting to take up the vacant spot. By far, the most prolific spider I’ve ever encountered.
I live in Carlisle PA in an old farmhouse and just killed a Brown Widow outside my front porch. I am not a happy person at the moment.
There are 4 different widows, Northern Black Widow, Southern Black Widow, Brown Widow, and Red Widow. Black Widow’s venom is 10 times more deadly then a rattle snakes venom. But because widows are so small they are incapable of injecting enough venom into you to kill. They are dangerous to people that may have health problems. These spiders have been living with all of us for years; you have just now noticed them. Mostly they stay outside, that is where the food is. Generally they like to build their homes in places where they won’t be bothered, like under picnic tables, under grills, and outside furniture.
I went out today and caught these two beautiful ladies to take to school with me. I have had spiders for years. Mostly I have tarantulas. Here in the United States none of our spiders are aggressive. Widows will retreat; they will even abandon their egg sacks. You may think they are acting aggressive but they are not. An aggressive spider will stand up on it back 4 legs and show their fangs. They will even slap at you with their front 4 legs. I have a Brazilian Bird eater she is 8 inches in diameter, when she gets pissed off at me for having my hands in her tank she lets me know. If you go on Youtube you will find great videos of aggressive spiders. The more you learn about them and understand them; you will be able to deal with them. Like I said I take spiders into schools and teach children all about them.
It never ceases to amaze me talking to children and showing them all the different things and yes even the bad and dangerous things that live with us every day.
Well I had 2 pictures of widows that I have but I don’t see how to post them. I hope that I was able to help. Spiders are an amazing thing and they are very important to the environment.
Just found one in the kitchen cabinet. I noticed the orange hour glass shape on the abdomen but it was brown with stripes on the legs, did an internet search and now I know.
Culver City, Ca
We first encountered brown widows a couple years ago when we mounted a bug light in the back yard to keep bugs away from our pool. Big mistake, the bug light attracted bugs AND 15-20 brown widows. I became suspicious when I noticed the orange hour glass shapes on the bellies. After some research I came back armed with several cans of bug spray with those “shoots 10-15 feet nozzels. They might be less poisonous than the black widow, but because we had so many, wasn’t risking multiple bites. Turned out they were not only on the pole near the bug light but we also had some hiding under every Rubbermaid chair we had in the yard. They love those little cubbies on the bottom. Most were killed quickly, however one very large one sitting on her egg sack behaved pretty aggressively when I hit her eggsack and actually ran across a chair right at me. I was a couple feet away, but the reaction was so surprising it scared me a bit. But after a steady stream of wasp killer she eventually gave up. I never used that bug light again however having all the spiders centralized did make it easier to kill them all.
My son found the brown widow and an egg sac under a plastic patio chair. Based on some of the other comments I read, sounds like they like it under the chairs. I am going to do a sweep of all the chairs now. We have found a few black widows over the years in the surrounding 20 miles, never heard of a brown widow, before, their coloring is amazing. Seems like they are all over the world.
Bye, Bye, brown Widows!
Just saw one and thought it was a regular garden spider, till I saw the hourglass. Looked under the windowsill saw five egg sacks, strange looking things. Smashed her before she gets me or dogs, then smashed egg sacks one by one between my fingers. I was surprised at how strong the nest was, covered in slime that won’t wash away with the hose. Diatamacious earth is what I will spread around.seems to work. Haven’t done it this year, maybe that’s why there’s so many insects this year. Get those things before they get you! That’s what I think. Especially poison spiders. No thanks. Spider bites suck.
saw my first one taking down fake Halloween webs today. she was on the antique plow in our yard. scary thing was her egg sacs, she had 9 of them. they have very thick and sticky webbing.
We just had our frame home treated for termites (subterranean, non-tenting with orange oil).
Today I found a brown widow spider under the lip of my laundry room window. I picked it up with tweezers, but it got loose after I looked at it under a magnifier lamp and rode a silk down to the floor where my husband promptly stepped on it. Sorry, no pictures. I am going to clean the room from top to bottom in case any more linger. I’ll use the vacuum cleaner before moving anything! We also had just sprayed for ants in that window area yesterday, so the ant spray does NOT kill them (at least not right away).
Nancy in St Pete FL
My friend just caught one here in pleasant grove, UT.
My brother thinks that he was bitten by one. He rode on a Greyhound bus and it smelled like they had sprayed with raid. A few days later, his finger was swollen and he had to have it lanced to draw out the puss. Why would they have sprayed like that and not have taken it off the road it is a total mystery.
I found 2 brown widows in my back patio. they had brownish but close to red hourglasses on there abdomens and the bottom of the spider was black, i first thought it was a black widow and i know from experience that they are not that aggressive until you really start messing with them.
i thought nothing of it because i knew they would not mess with my dog. When i came about 2 weeks later 1 was gone and the other was turned over and i saw that the spider was brown and thought that it was a new spider and the old ones died. I failed to realize that the spiders laid eggs and by the end of the month i had 8 brown widows and about 22 or so eggs. I freaked out, got a lighter to burn them out of there webs and then finished all of them and their eggs with a bb gun. its been about 2 1/2 months and i haven’t seen any spiders since.
Don’t expect an answer but sure hope someone will find time to answer this email, while stationed aboard the USS LASALLE AGF3, in 1974-76 in Bahrain, my wife was bitten on the back of her right by what the Navy doctor said was a brown recluse spider and to this day my wife still gets a quarter size rash on the same spot that the spider bit her 37 years ago, is this possible. I say it was a brown widow spider but 37 yrs and still returning rash.
Anyone have a answer!?
Just found one here in NYC!! I caught it in a soda bottle, I used to live in SW Florida so I know what they look like. Besides, it looks exactly like the pics… Didn’t know they were here too..
I caught a brown widow a couple days ago in my house in Washington State, i cant post any photos of it but i took it to my biology teacher at college, and they told me to dispose of it quickly because its dangerous, it is a very light tan color when in the light, and has white markings on its back with a red stripe down the middle of the back on the white, and a red hour glass on its abdomen, and the hourglass is edged with white, its very interesting
I noticed a ladder-like web on my car this summer that was widest at the bottom. I really didn’t think anything of it. Then I saw it again last week in a different place- attached to the back bumper. Today I opened the rear hatch of my Subaru and saw a medium-sized spider with swirly tan, orange, and brown markings on the abdomen and I thought…hmmm… I’ve seen that before….juvenile black widow?
I chased her out of a plastic crevice with a a grass stem and she took off through the long grass (not on my property). I don’t think she had access to the car interior- she was just in a spot that is protected when the rear hatch is closed. Having read all the posts here I now think that it was a brown widow spider. I just went out to the car with bug spray and treated the areas I can’t see into. I REALLY hope there is no egg case in there. The last thing I need is a couple hundred baby brown widows in my car.
Just found this site as our house in FL suddenly got a bunch of brown widows a year ago, we’d never seen them before and have been here for 11 years. As we’re from the UK – which has no venomous or even large spiders – this came as a shock although seems they have become a lot more common all over the US recently. A quick spray or two of Home Defense kills them almost immediately and they don’t seem aggressive. We don’t have any crickets by the house so I’m not sure what is attracting them.
I have brown widows at home and at work. My garage always has them and the pointy egg sacs. I occasionally use insect foggers in the garage. Two or three of foggers at once kills about everything, including brown widows. When I see a live one in the garage, I bomb it again, seems like I need to about every six months. Thank fully, I have not had them in the house yet, but they like my cars.
At work, we have an exterminator in about every month. I see no brown widows inside, but they are outside on chanlink fences.
I was working on a tractor in Roseburg, Oregon and when i removed the dash to do some electrical repair, the dash area had several of these with sacks. this was the first time had come across this type of spider and i didn’t recognize it. looked like a black widow but was brown and had stripes on it’s back with a hour glass on the belly. having to put my hands into the dash area was a bit scary. this was back in 1997. haven’t seen any up until now.
Saw my 1st one in January 2011 and have since found em all over our yard on roof eaves, and fences. One was almost nickel sized but was very lethargic in the day when I poked at him. Must be 10 individuals around the yard right now.
Just found a brown spider sitting upside down on its web in my garden with an hour glass; one of my customers told me to watch out for Brown-Widows. I found one, so I used Raid’s Ant and Roach killer on it. I sprayed it and it fell off of its web and walked around in circles. I don’t like to kill spiders as they eat the insects that prey on my crops, but I don’t like to be poisoned either….
Chatsworth, San Fernando Valley, L.A., Calif Oct. 7, 2011
I have found three brown widow spiders….one on trash barrel handle; one under plastic patio chair; one in garage. I used a LOT of ant/roach spray. I put one in a bottle but it went moldy. I froze the second one, and just found the third a few minutes ago. I had sprayed under the chair and she was hanging from her web. I thought she was dead, and put her into a plastic bottle when I saw her move. I’m freezing her now. What do we do to get rid of them?
I live in Ormond Beach which is on the east coast of Florida. I have lived in my house and have never seen these spiders, until now. They are everywhere! There is one in my car! It keeps making a web on my gas and brake pedals. I keep knocking it down but it reappears. They are around my front door and under the patio chairs. I don’t want to get bitten.
I found one in my backyard! Here’s the video of it:
Brown Widow Spider!
I live in Bahrain, an island-state in the Persian/Arab gulf. A month ago we moved to a new house with a very big garden. A week after we moved, I discovered an adult widow spider on the door of the garage. Not sure if it’s a black or a brown widow (the hourglass marking was more orange than red). It was the first time i see one, and it scared the heck out of me! I checked the outdoor furniture and toys and found some more widows and egg sacs (the brown’s pointy ones).
I’ve put powder all over the garage and had pest control spray the garden twice. But during a routine check last night, I have found some more spiders and eggs inside the house (underneath furniture, but fortunately not underneath beds). The discovery made me very nervous … spent the night spraying pesticide.
All the stuff I’ve read says that there is no way to get rid of these things (that i really hate) for good. Any miracle solution???
We are in Orange county and after reading different post, I too am concerned about spraying for these stupid spiders.I see them often but really its the webs I see more than anything and their egg sacks. They come out at night, my husband goes out at night and sprays them . They like to hide by the garage. It seems they stay low to the ground, we have a almost 3 year old and I worry for his sake and mine.I hate them! I want them to go!!
Found this brown widow and four egg sacs at work yesterday in Luling, Louisiana.
I have to say I am freaking out. After living in one home the last 19 years in San Pedro. Ca, I never saw a Black or Brown Widow before(Thankfully). We had a huge yard with trees, bushes, flowers etc. Never saw a Widow. We moved a year ago to Culver City and I feel like I am in another world!
It started with the invasion of cockroaches (ie. water bugs for southerners)! I mean everywhere. You cannot walk around the city streets without stepping on them. City cleaned the sewers and the population dropped though growing again. The HUGE invasion are crickets. They are everywhere and they hop through my house like it’s a super highway. Gave up try to get rid of them UNTIL NOW!
I am truly freaking out! Out of the blue we have been invaded with Brown Widow Spiders. The first was just hanging there along the cat’s water dish in the middle of the day. Scared the pee out of me. Killed it. Next day another right over the cat’s water dish. That was it. Got the flashlight out that night and ended up killing 48 of them all over our plastic chairs, the house walls, the swing, the chair I sit on every day and each night and my daughter’s bike she rides every day.
I am just blown away. Bad enough I have a fear of spiders, but to know they are right outside my backdoor (patio is concrete too) gives me hebeejebees and I am having nightmares now.
The cricket population is too ingrained here to do much about them, but I am worried as my daughter is allergic to insect bites, son has bad allergies, asthma and lower immune system & I have allergies and autoimmune issues too. I fear one of us getting bit with the Brown Widows right outside my door.
Ortho Home Defense clearly states that it does not kill or repel Black Widows or Brown Recluse. I have several containers always on hand!
Time to find a way to control cricket population first & foremost and……
Any proven way to get rid of them?
we have a lot of these now in our garden (brown widows) which is quite large space and in our patio area…….we used to have more black widows…….lots………but since these have shown up we have seen very few black widows……if the the brown ones are killing or somehow taking over the black ones…. this would be good for us …..as the black ones are far more deadly…..anyway we just got the browns two years ago…… we live in southern California ……inland empire area
I found some with my brothers. They were everywhere in plants and trash cans. Once we found a egg sack in the trash can in chula vista, CA.
I have found two in different locations in Redding, CA. So they have traveled pretty far north. Of course black widows are very common up here as well.
Found a bunch of these Spiders and egg sacks on my scooter in Darwin Australia we have never known what they where your web sit helped heaps thanks Kym.
I just found a bunch of these spiders as well as 6 of the strange looking eggs. Especially the kids bikes and outside toys are full of the thick and odd looking webs. The strangest web goes from a tall bush up in the air across to a big tree.
It’s like a 15 feet long web up 10 feet in the air. I noticed it since a huge dragonfly seemed to be floating in air when in fact it was caught in this odd really long spider web. It’s time to get some poison and get this cleaned up. Lot’s more black and brown widow spiders than last year – wondering what’s that’s all about.
I live in La Mesa, CA. I awoke with a stinging upper lip…within a few hours it was swollen and burned. Could feel and see the two holes about a mm apart. Had flu like symptoms the rest of the day. Two days later I squished this big spider on the bedroom wall by the closet. This morning I spotted a large female (abdomen 1/2″diameter) suspended about 8ft. off the ground between the fence and a tree, a good 15 foot span. Captured her and tried to identify it….ended up here.
I just found the 2nd of these spiders. The first one was inside the water hose reel – along with it’s spiky egg sac. The second one was on my back porch – fat and aggressive. They both died with a heavy spray of ant spray. (I have a picture of the 2nd one but don’t see a way to post pictures)
I’m in Southern California.
We live in Kelowna, BC in Canada and we have got black widows here. Apparently we have brown widow spiders too as I see in the photos. I kill them every chance I get because if you let them live, they will lay those eggs and then more come.
They tend to enter our garage when the nights start to get cold. One year we had 16 come into our garage. Our way to kill them… a hockey stick! I crush those buggers with a vengeance and the tip the hockey stick is great for the tight spaces. My momma bear comes out with those stinkers as I’ve got two boys and don’t want them or my husband and I bit by those things.
We tend to bring in our shoes that hang in the garage during the fall months. And check the garage corners and around door ways to kill any who may have entered during the night. We had a bug guy come that made recommendations and one of them was to get rid of as may rocks as possible. At that time we had a rock boarder around our backyard. Now all that has been removed and replaced with grass. It has made a big difference.
…me again. No exaggeration, i’ve killed at least 35 Brown Widow Spiders in the last 4 days!! However, I just spoke to the Western Exterminator man who services the building where I work and he asked if I have a lot of crickets, and whatdoyouknow, I DO! He said, “they love crickets. Get rid of the food source and you get rid of the problem.”
He suggested Ortho Home Defense bug spray to kill both the spiders and the crickets. He showed me to spray the cracks around the foundation of my home to kill the crickets and to hit the spiders directly and their egg sacks, which I’ve already been doing. (deep sigh) Let’s hope this works.
I live in Stockton California. I recently killed two of these brown widow spiders in my back yard. There has always been a relatively large population of the black widow spider in my area but they seem to be more shy. I see them only when I move an outdoor umbrella or garbage can or if I disturb some sort of hiding place.
The brown widows I have spotted have spun large, very strong webs that extend out into the yard and they tend to hang out there where they are very visible. They are as big as any of the black widows I have seen. Some of my neighbors here have also seen them and my friends in the bay area are seeing them as well.
I found a brown widow spider with 16 egg sacks in my grandma’s garage. The egg sacks look like spiny sea creatures.
I live in Huntington Beach, CA. Last Fall I noticed a brown widow spider near my garage door on the outside of the house. I’d never heard of these before and got a little freaked out. I went online and read that they like to hang out in trash can handles and anything cast iron. Sure enough I found a brood of them there including their spiky egg sacks.
Since then they have rapidly multiplied. I can go outside any given day and kill 10. It’s easiest to find them at night though since they come out to find food. I find that any old spider spray works, but plan to try dish soap & water in a spray bottle as was suggested in another post. In the past week i’ve noticed them moving closer to my doors!! Augh!
DID I MENTION I HATE SPIDERS? Got bit by a widow when I was a kid. No fun, let me tell you. The poison travels through your body & exits some random place in the form of an enormous painful boil preceded by terrible sickness! None have made it indoors yet, thankfully. Praying it stays that way till someone finds a way to curb the population.
I just submitted a blog about a suspected brown widow spider in my townhouse. What I forgot to mention is I live in what we call *Northern* California, near Sacramento! (Tallahassee, FL is my birthplace!) Thanks.
Around 3 this morning (Sun. 9/18/11) I discovered a brown spider hanging upside down in my townhouse. Under the guest bathroom counter cabinet near the floor is more specific.
She is almost as big as a small full-grown black widow, yet she is still medium brown. She could be a cupboard false widow (Steatoda grossa) spider. However, the shape of the abdomen looks more like a true widow’s. Additionally, she seemed too out-in-the-open in my bathroom, despite it being a dark part of a dark house at that hour, to be a black widow.
Slamming the cabinet door a dozen times today will hopefully chase her next-door to a vacant townhouse. Its downstairs guest bathroom is there too. When I find out how to reach it’s owner, I get to warn him/her/them!
I live in Orange, CA I was in the porch with my mother when she pointed out this huge spider building its web I’m not as terrified at spiders as my husband is but I had the urgency to kill this spider one because it was so big like nothing I had seen before ( that it gave me the creeps) and two we have a pet and a 1 yr old daughter…
I went out caught it with a tupperware and we where very curious on seeing it up close so we sprayed hairspray and degreaser ( that was my husbands idea) n eventually killed it we took pictures n I will post them…I thought that our was the only one around until last night we were walking into our home n my brother spotted ANOTHER ONE hanging from our front door…I’m scared of leaving the Windows open now because I’m afraid they might crawl in!!!!
I have already killed around ten Brown Widows and about sixty egg sacs in Denham Springs, Louisiana all over my front porch
I returned from NY to find Brown and Black Widow spiders had taken hold of my Florida garage. I called my pest control guy and he said they have to make direct contact with the pesticide to kill the spider. Since he isn’t going to stay in the garage, he swept all the corners and the back of the garage door and suggested I get a spray bottle and add 1 part vinegar to 1 part water and spray them directly when I see them or use cheap hairspray. He also suggested I change my exterior garage lights to the yellow colored bulbs as the regular bulbs are what has likely attracted them in the first place as the spiders like to catch and eat the insects flying around the lights.
I found this lovely (sarcasm) brown widow right at my back door yesterday. I live in Lake Forest, CA. We get a lot of spiders here, actually, and especially black widows, but I was surprised to find a brown widow. I didn’t even know such a thing existed!
The poor lizard in the pic is alive and I did rescue it after killing the spider. Sad, I know. But, the last thing we need is a poisonous spider right by the door and the possibility of one of us or our animals getting bit. Honestly, we have a widow problem here at the house and it scares the be-gee-bees out of me :P I’m a Texas girl so I’m used to tarantulas, but not sneaky stealth deadly spiders like this. EEK GAD!
We have had black widows for several years, just found my first brown widow here (used to get them at work in Orange County). All widows are easy to control without toxic insecticides…just mix water with dish soap (orange scent / essence seems to work best), and put it in a sprayer. A few spritzes will kill the spiders, and it also works to bring them out of hiding if you only find their web.
It can sometimes take a few minutes to work, but they cant breathe when the soapy water hits them. After they die, just rinse with a hose and your pets and kids are safe.
i was washing dishes one day and felt something on my leg i felt a sting right before i slapped it off my leg i thought i got bitten but i didn’t have any marks or side effects i took a pic of it but my phone was to close so the flash made the background blue but u can see the markings on it perfectly.
We live in Whittier, CA and this afternoon my son and I found what we think is a brown widow spider. It has the classic widow body and the orange hourglass. The body looks exceptionally large so I am wondering if it is pregnant…do they get “bigger” before they make an egg sac in a web?
This one was just on our driveway and not in a web. I don’t recall seeing anything like this before, but the I think I have seen their spiny sacs. We are in an old neighborhood with lots of large trees, established foliage and open hills not too far away.
This makes me very uncomfortable because I hate spiders (although I have this bizarre fascination about them at the same time LOL) and with pets and a child, I worry about a bad bite.
I told my son we are going to do a thorough spraying this weekend and get some quotes for pest control services.
Got bitten six times by a Brown Widow moving into our Sarasota, FL rental.
I haven’t heard of anyone else being boneheaded enough to get bitten repeatedly by a brown widow, so I thought I’d post my story and symptoms. I was unpacking boxes in our garage and felt a prick under my armpit (mid-morning), which I dismissed as my imagination or a mosquito, so I just let it go.
I had recently put my shirt back on after leaving it laying around and I had also walked through a very strong/sticky web. A while after feeling the prick, maybe an hour or two, I wasn’t feeling well, so I called off moving day and drove my family back to my mom’s house, over an hour away. By the time we arrived (early afternoon), I had a bad headache and was feeling rather ill.
This developed into a severe headache, strange and uncomfortable hot/cold flashes, and nausea. I felt like I couldn’t really move my face b/c it just hurt too much and I didn’t want to. I recall my 2 year old climbing on me and feeling helpless to get him off of me. I’ve never felt something just take over the way this took me over. Not knowing what had happened, I took 4 Excedrin Migraine pills (I’ve never had a migraine so thought it might have been one).
They didn’t help at all. Almost an hour later, I was vomiting (not due to the pills). I took a double dose of someone’s migraine meds (Fioricet), slipped into a very deep sleep for a few hours, and woke up feeling substantially better – like I had an almost normal piercing headache. I took 4 Ibuprofen, which helped a little. A few hours after that, I started feeling close to normal again (late evening). Then over the next few days, I found these unexplainable bite marks under my arm that seemed to develop slightly in severity.
I’ve been bitten by mosquitoes, chiggers, no-see-ums, wasps, and ants, and the bites were just not quite like any of those, although I’d say they were closest to my experience getting stung by a wasp or fireant (but I didn’t get stung by a wasp or ant –I would have noticed that). There were 6 distinct bite marks within about a 6” radius. I suspect it was from one trapped spider, as they seemed to range from more to less severe (in order, down my side). I tried various treatments and found witch hazel to be most soothing.
Fortunately, the bites never became infected and they went away after a little over a week, first coming to a firm head, but never actually popping or oozing (I resisted the urge to fuss with them). Anyway, a few days after the symptoms, did some research on spiders, went back to the house and found the web I had walked through, which had a Brown Widow and egg sacs around it, and I found dozens of other Brown Widows and egg sacks around the garage. They were mostly in the overhangs among the aluminum garage door panels and around recycle bins.
The widows and their egg sacks were unmistakable once I knew what to look for. I killed them all with pesticide and expect to have to make another round again shortly.