|Order: Araneae (ah-RAY-nee-ee) (Info) |
Genus: Latrodectus (lat-roh-DEK-tus) (Info)
Species: geometricus (jee-oh-MET-rih-kus) (Info)
This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:
La Mesa, California
San Diego, California
Cypress Quarters, Florida
De Land, Florida
South Daytona, Florida
New Orleans, Louisiana
North Vacherie, Louisiana
Saint Martin, Mississippi
|By GSkinner |
|Neutral ||Fires_in_motion ||On Jan 12, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA
(Zone 9a) wrote:
They're instantly recognizable by their black-striped legs. The bodies are quite variable, but usually light tan; the ones in the current DG pics are darker than the ones I see around here. They have become quite common in the Gulf South, allegedly spreading as hitchhikers on RVs and other vehicles. I used to go into immediate Terminator mode upon finding them, but now, after observing their habits, I have come to see them as peaceful coexisting critters in my world. Yes, their venom is as strong as (some scientists say much stronger than) that of the Black Widow. But they inject less of it, and it really would only be dangerous if you're a kid or an elderly/sick person. I've noticed they tend to only form webs up high (say, 8 feet or above), where they catch annoying buggies like mosquitos, flies and gnats. In other words, they stay well away from humans and do a good service for us. I rarely spray these spiders anymore, unless they get big and start to lay egg cases, which look like the cotton tips of Q-Tips.
A year or so ago, I found a Brown Widow in a pot for sale at the Home Depot in Laplace, LA. I alerted their head horticulture specialist, and proudly explained to him how toxic they are. He took one look at the ignoble beast and nonchalantly squashed it onto the side of the pot with his thumb, whereupon a gross whitish goo came out. I think he just wiped it off onto his pant leg and went over to help another customer.
|Negative ||Texas_Sun ||On Feb 19, 2013, Texas_Sun from Huffman, TX wrote:
Beware!! These spiders will take over your home, garage, & any other sheltered place.
We had quite a few black widows in the summer of 2010, but the spring/summer of 2011 was months of repeatedly searching & spraying.
In April of 2011, I noticed a tons of cobwebs on my patio, and then my garage and bicycles. We have dogs, and dog hair was in the webs, so it really looked nasty on my patio. I never saw a spider, but I did see the star-burst shaped egg sacks in several places. Notably under the seats of the bicycles. Never saw a spider.
By the end of May, I was knocking down webs every day, but they were being rebuilt during the night. Some webs maybe a foot wide. The webs were a disorganized mess with dog hair, leaves & whatever else got stuck in the web. The webs are very strong & make popping sounds when you knock them down.
I knew the webs were not regular brown house spiders because they stay in the middle of their web during the day & have a round egg sack. Spraying didn't affect the web building.
One night walking to my garage in dime light, I brushed my leg on a web with a large, fat, dark spider, who immediately ran for cover in a crack in the fence. I thought it was a black widow, so I started researching & came across the tell-tale egg sack. At this point, I knew I had brown widows.
I started spraying all crack, crevices, undersides of everything on my patio, garage, etc. They ran out of their hiding spaces. Once out, they were easy to kill. This went on for 2-3 months. Every time I found the tell-tale web, I sprayed until the spider came out of hiding.
I can tell a widow web at a glance now. We still have a few blacks & browns, but I can keep them under control when I spot a web.
I was lucky, they didn't get in my house. The major difference with the black & brown widow, is the brown is so prolific. At midpoint we started saving the dead ones in jars of formalin and we have 3 jars full.