Currently viewing the category: "Black Widow"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this a Dangerous Spider – Sure looks like it to me
Location: West Los Angeles
July 10, 2017 5:39 pm
Hi Bugman,
As much as I love butterflies, I don’t get along with spiders. Can you please let me know if this one is dangerous?
These are the best pics Icould take, but if you enlarge them the spider is quite visible.
Thanks,
Signature: Jeff Bremer

Brown Widow and Egg Sac

Dear Jeff,
Both the Brown Widow Spider and her egg sac which are pictured in your image are quite recognizable.  According to BugGuide:  “The brown widow is highly variable in color. It may be almost white to almost black. Typically, it is a light to medium brown, with an orange-to-yellow hourglass marking on the underside of the abdomen; the coloration of the hourglass often is a good indication of this species. The leg segments are banded, with one half of each segment lighter in color than the other half. The back often has a row of white spots (rarely orange or light blue), and there are a few white stripes on each side. Darker individuals lack these markings and are difficult to distinguish from black widows. If an eggsac is present, this is the best identifying characteristic. Brown widow eggsacs are tan, spherical, and have many small tufts of silk sticking out from them. They resemble a ‘sandspur.’ The other widows make white, smooth eggsacs that tend to be pear-shaped. ” BugGuide also provides this information:  ” Widow Bites:  NOTE: It is recognized that this particular species of widow is most likely not medically significant (not an immediate medical concern to those who are bitten). The brown widow produces clinical effects similar to that of the black widow but the typical symptoms and signs being milder and tending to be restricted to the bite site and surrounding tissues. (Print Ref 1)  Brown widow spiders usually curl up into a ball, and drop to the ground as a primary defense. It is highly recommended that people leave this spider alone; observe, but don’t touch.  The brown widow is an extremely timid spider which has rarely been reported to bite.”  The Brown Widow is a non-native, introduced species that has gotten quite common in Southern California as well as the entire southern portion of the U.S.

Thanks Daniel,
It’s hard to know when to be worried and when not.
Jeff

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Found in grapes
Location: Southeast Michigan
June 1, 2017 7:28 pm
My wife was bitten in the finger as she was packing some grapes in a bag. We live in southeast michigan but not sure where the grapes come from
Signature: Bill Lowry

Brown Widow Spider

Dear Bill,
This sure looks like an immature Brown Widow Spider,
Latrodectus geometricus, to us, but viewing through the plastic bag is somewhat distorting.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.  The Brown Widow is a recently introduced species According to BugGuide:  “World wide in the tropical zone. It was introduced in Florida and has since been observed moving north through Georgia, and into South Carolina; it has also been officially recorded in California, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas.”  If the grapes were imported from California, it is entirely possible that a Brown Widow was imported with them.  BugGuide also notes:  “Widow Bites:  NOTE: It is recognized that this particular species of widow is most likely not medically significant (not an immediate medical concern to those who are bitten).  The brown widow produces clinical effects similar to that of the black widow but the typical symptoms and signs being milder and tending to be restricted to the bite site and surrounding tissues.   Brown widow spiders usually curl up into a ball, and drop to the ground as a primary defense. It is highly recommended that people leave this spider alone; observe, but don’t touch.  The brown widow is an extremely timid spider which has rarely been reported to bite.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Australian Redback in Louisiana?
Location: Leesville, Louisiana
May 4, 2017 8:35 pm
I’ve found several of these spiders over the last two years. They have red markings on the back unlike black widows that have a red hour glass on the abdomen. I also noticed some white markings as well. Curious if this could be an Australian Redback???
This one was released back to the woods this evening. May the 4th be with him.
Signature: Thanks, Lee

Immature Black Widow

Dear Lee,
This is an immature female Black Widow Spider.  When she matures, she will lose the red and black markings on the upper surface of the abdomen.  She should still have the red hourglass marking on the ventral surface.  Your confusion regarding the Australian Redback Spider is understandable as they are in the same genus as the Black Widow.  P.S.  Is your town named for you?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Spider ID please
Location: Cochise County, Arizona
April 25, 2017 4:55 pm
Hello Bugman,
I found this spider in a space between a door and the screen. It is shiny and I first thought of black widow but it doesn’t have the red hourglass on the abdomen. What it can be? I appreciate your help so that I can open that door again.
Signature: Kana

Immature Western Black Widow

Dear Kana,
This is definitely an immature Widow, probably a Western Black Widow.  Here is a matching image from BugGuide.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for your quick reply. I have never seen a black widow spider and wanted to know where they live (to avoid them). Never imagined they live so close!
Kana
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: good or bad spider?
Location: southern indiana
November 15, 2015 12:42 pm
Southern Indiana. November 15. In the house.
Signature: Niki

Immature Northern Black Widow

Immature Northern Black Widow

Dear Niki,
We don’t really like to think of spiders as good or bad, but without waxing philosophically on the matter, we can tell you that this is an immature Northern Black Widow, and that the bite of a Black Widow Spider is considered to be potentially dangerous, especially to young children and the elderly.  According to BugGuide:  “Caution: This spider is venomous and can harm people. However, the female injects such a small dose of venom that it rarely causes death. Reports indicate human mortality at well less than 1% from black widow spider bites. While Latrodectus variolus is not aggressive and does not have the instinct to bite, her venom is neurotoxic, which means that it blocks the transmission of nervous impulses. If the spider bites, most likely it has been pressed against human bare skin, and this causes a natural reaction, a bite in self-defense. For the most part, the black widow’s bite may be felt only as a pin prick, during which the spider’s fangs inject a minute amount of highly toxic venom under the skin. The severity of the victim’s reaction depends on his or her age and health, and on the area of the body that is bitten. Local swelling and redness at the site may be followed in one to three hours by intense spasmodic pain, which can travel throughout the affected limbs and body, settling in the abdomen and back (intense abdominal cramping, described as similar to appendicitis), and can last 48 hours or longer. Elderly patients or young children run a higher risk of severe reactions, but it is rare for bites to result in death; only sixty-three having been reported in the United States between 1950 and 1959 (Miller, 1992). Other symptoms can include nausea and profuse perspiration. If left untreated, tremors, convulsions and unconsciousness may result. When death does occur, it is due to suffocation.”  There should be a telltale red hourglass mark on the ventral surface.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What Spider Is This
Location: South Africa
February 5, 2015 2:05 am
Hi There,
Hoping you are able to identify this spider? – Wanted to know it it is poisonous to humans as some one at work got bitten by it?
Signature: Spider

Possibly Immature Widow Spider

Possibly Immature Widow Spider

Dear Spider,
This looks to us like an immature Widow Spider in the genus
Latrodectus.  You can compare your individual to this image posted to iSpot.  Some species of Widow Spiders are considered venomous and potentially dangerous to humans who are bitten.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination