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The Brown Widow Spider in California; Simple Steps for Protection

By: Susan Fries

Did you know there is a spider twenty times more common than the black widow?   Latrodectus geometricus, otherwise known as the brown widow spider, is a non-native cousin of the infamous black widow. Since its discovery in Southern California in 2003, it has since spread from Torrance to Ventura, Western San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Although the spider’s bite is not nearly as toxic as the black widow, this foreign species is invading your local habitat at a rapid rate. They are able to deliver 120-150 eggs per sac and can produce up to 20 sacks in a lifetime. That’s up to 3,000 eggs per spider!

What can you do to spot the problem? There are simple steps you can take to discover an impending infestation in your home. Look for spiked egg sacks similar in appearance to WWII ocean mines. The spiders come in variations of brown, and have orange coloring on their abdomens. You are likely to find black widows and brown widows in two different environments. Black widows live in dark places including: drain pipes, under clutter, in garages and near vents. Brown widows are fond of urban settings including: homes and parks. They like sturdy surfaces and can hide in the crevices of lawn chairs, and maintain their population in dry areas and green vegetation.

Because of their tendency to nest in exposed locations, these spiders have a greater potential for human interaction. In order to better protect your family and your home, be sure to educate others about the spiders’ physical appearance and habitat. If you do see them and are unsure of what to do, consult a professional to handle the infestation in a way that is safe and simple for you and your family.

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