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

Subject: Daniel – Baby Orb Weavers?
Location: Hawthorne, CA
December 4, 2012 2:01 pm
Hi,
There are many, many, many of these little babies on the wheel barrow this morning. Are they orb weavers?
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Brown Widow Spiderlings

Hi Anna,
The appearance of these Spiderlings and their presence on a wheelbarrow caused us to speculate that they were hatchling Brown Widows.  This image from BugGuide confirmed that speculation.  BugGuide states:  “Found around buildings in tropical climates.(1) However, it is an introduced species and is the most human-adapted of the species occurring in the South Eastern US. Its webs may occur anywhere there is sufficient space to make one. It may be extremely abundant on houses and other man-made structures (e.g., barns, fences, guard rails, bridges). It reproduces frequently and disperses rapidly, making it nearly impossible to control.”  They are not as dangerous as the Black Widow, and BugGuide notes:  ” 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). (Net Ref (4)) 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.”

Oh, my.  Thanks very much.  They’ve now dispersed, but I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for them!
As an aside, I just counted 16 Monarch caterpillars.
Anna

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Please help! Fast!
Location: Southern New Meixco
October 25, 2012 3:27 am
Hello! I am curious to know what this spider is because it is in my Jeep and it crawled on me the other day. I am hoping its not piosionous because I have two small children who ride in my vehicle as well and I. Please help me in identifying it and what I need to get rid or it
Signature: Galen G

possibly Male Black Widow

Hi Galen,
Your photo is quite blurry and lacking in detail, so a definitive identification might be impossible.  With that said, this appears to be a male Black Widow.  The good news is that while females are considered the most venomous and dangerous spiders in North America, according to BugGuide:  “Adult males are harmless. The male’s abdomen usually has red spots along the upper midline and white lines or bars radiating out to the sides. (The number of bars can indicate which species.) Males almost exclusively wander in search of females.”

Thank you. Yes I know it’s not the best picture but I snapped the picture and realized I should have just killed the darn thing cause it crawled fast away after the flash turned on. But again thank you! I will rip apart my jeep until this guy is found.
-Galen

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

25 June 2012
Yesterday while cleaning off the patio furniture, we uncovered this Brown Widow‘s Lair under the rear right leg.  to be continued …
We did not realize she was there until a spray from the hose onto what we thought was an abandoned cobweb caused her to scuttle along a stand of silk revealing her orange hourglass marking.

Brown Widow’s Lair

The Brown Widow, Latrodectus geometricus, is also known as the Geometric Button Spider or the Brown Button Spider according to BugGuide, which lists its identifying features as:  “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.”  The little lady we uncovered had several egg cases.  BugGuide also notes:  “Found around buildings in tropical climates.(1) However, it is an introduced species and is the most human-adapted of the species occurring in the South Eastern US. Its webs may occur anywhere there is sufficient space to make one. It may be extremely abundant on houses and other man-made structures (e.g., barns, fences, guard rails, bridges). It reproduces frequently and disperses rapidly, making it nearly impossible to control.”

Brown Widow

Though we see Black Widow’s with some degree of frequency around the offices, we haven’t noticed any in recent years.  We can’t help but wonder if our local species is being displaced by this recent introduction.  While the Black Widow’s bite is often regarded as potentially dangerous to sensitive individuals, the Brown Widow’s bite is generally not as serious.  Here is BugGuide‘s assessment:  “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). (Net Ref (4)) 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.”  We would still caution readers to avoid Brown Widow as the bite might still be unpleasant if not dangerous.

Brown Widow

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Black Widow spider
Location: Barnegat, NJ
May 9, 2012 10:10 pm
We have found many Black Widows in our back yard, and even though we have 2 medium sized dogs, we are not concerned at all with the spiders since we learned how much they just want to be left alone and are not aggressive at all. It seems like you mostly have to be looking for them in order to find them (under rocks, logs, etc.), and even when they are discovered, they have to have their lives threatened before they’ll bite. Otherwise, they are incredibly docile.
The 1st Black Widow spider we found was still a juvenile, and still had the red dots down its back. We kept it in a container for just one night before we released it into the woods far away from the neighborhood the next morning. In just that one night, it shed its exoskeleton! We kept the shedding in the container.
About 2 months later, right around Halloween, we found a very large mature Black Widow spider, and did the same thing — kept it in the same container as the 1st one before releasing it into the same woods later on that day. Before releasing both spiders, we (of course) took pictures.
The picture I’m attaching is of the 2nd, larger spider, with the shedding of the younger, smaller spider dangling above it. We were fascinated to see how you can easily see the outline of the fangs on the shedding!
We have since tried to let people know how these spiders get such a bad rap for unfair reasons, but not many are convinced. Fear has been ingrained deeply in some!
Hope you enjoy this macro shot for your wonderful site!
Signature: Thy Cavagnaro

Northern Black Widow

Hi Again Thy,
Thank you for sending in your photo of a mature Northern Black Widow.  Like your previous submission, we are tagging this with the Bug Humanitarian Award.  You are correct.  Black Widows are docile spiders that rarely leave their webs and they are not aggressive.  They are feared and reviled by so many folks who would much rather exterminate than learn anything of their habits.  We once had one living near an outdoor light outside of our Los Angeles office and the spider would hide by day and come out at night where she fed on moths and other insects attracted to the light.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Easter Egg Spider
Location: San Fernando Valley, California
April 25, 2012 3:33 am
This little lady – I’m assuming its a lady – interrupted our Easter festivities. After a good deal of floundering and some heebie jeebies (I don’t have a good relationship with spiders) we managed to shoo her off into the garden. We’re curious to what she is, though, she almost looks like an Easter Egg herself. I have not tried searching the internet because I am arachnaphobic.
Signature: Cautiously Curious

Brown Widow

Dear Cautiously Curious,
In our opinion, this is a Brown Widow, an introduced species that might bite, though it is not considered as dangerous as the Black Widow.  See BugGuide for additional information.

Thank you for the quick response. There was an orange hourglass on her side – one of us wondered if she was an albino black widow, but that didn’t seem right. I’d never heard of brown widows before – looks like we’re lucky she put up with our efforts to move her, even if she’s not as lethal as a black widow.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Male Northern Black Widow?
Location: Greensboro, NC
April 10, 2012 12:40 pm
We found this guy in the windowsill at our house in Greensboro, NC. After a few hours googling and much deliberation we decided it must be a Male Northern Black Widow, any chance you can confirm it for us?
We could never get a very good picture of it’s underbelly but could tell there was a red mark, just not sure the shape.
Thanks for the help!
Signature: Not 100% sure

Male Widow Spider

Dear Not 100% sure,
This is a male Widow Spider in the genus
Latrodectus, and it is most likely a Northern Black Widow, Latrodectus variolus, based on photos posted to BugGuide.

Male Widow Spider

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination