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Brown Widow Spider

(Laterodectus geometricus)

Appearance

Brown widows are gray to brown in color with white and black markings on the top surface of their abdomen. The hourglass marking on the under surface of the abdomen is yellow to orange, and the legs have dark bands.

Size

Mature females are 1 to 1 -inches in length (with legs extended).

Behavior

The female brown widow will lay 10 to 20 egg sacks in her lifetime. Each sack contains approximately 250 eggs. The egg sac is white to tan in color and is covered with pointed projections, much like the seed of a sandspur. The egg sac is 1/2 inch in diameter, and is found attached to the web of the female. Young spiders hatch in approximately 14 to 21 days but remain inside the egg sac for 4 days to one month. After a short time, the spiderlings move away from the nest by ballooning; drifting on the wind by a silk line.

Habitat

The brown widow spider is very common and is often found in urban areas. It may be found indoors, but favorite outdoor hiding places include the crawl space beneath homes, piles of stacked lumber, hollow blocks, abandoned vehicles, and storage sheds. Within the home, the brown widow may be found beneath tables and desks, behind shutters, in the angles of doors and windows, and in stored clothing.

Interesting Facts

The bite of the brown widow spider has been described as causing an initial pain comparable to the prick of a needle and leaves two red puncture marks (caused by the two fangs). This is followed by sharp pain which may lessen or persist for a number of hours. The pain moves from the site of the wound and settles in the abdomen and legs. Other neurological symptoms include nausea, vomiting, faintness, dizziness, tremors, loss of muscle tone, shock, speech disturbances, and general motor paralysis. However, death is rare.

Control

Do you live in South Florida and think that this spider may be invading your home? Hulett Environmental Services offers specialty pest control treatments designed to control and eliminate this pest!

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