Louisiana Brown Widow Spiders Becoming a Problem
Many people don’t know that there are actually 32 different species of “widow” spiders, aptly named because the female spider often eats the male after mating – thus making her a “widow”! Most people are familiar with the most famous of the “widow” spiders, the black widow, which is easily recognized by the unique red hourglass shape on its abdomen and generally feared due to its highly venomous bite.
In Louisiana we have been living with smaller populations of black widow (or southern widow) spiders for years, but now, according to recent reports, the brown widow spider is invading parts of southern Louisiana.
A new pest to become familiar with
AgCenter officials from Louisiana State University first spotted these poisonous spiders in the Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, but they are believed to be moving across the entire state of Louisiana. Hurricane Katrina and the following mild winters are thought to likely be the cause of the increased number of brown widows in the Louisiana area. And with spiders on the march, it is time southern Louisiana residents learned a bit more about how they can steer clear of these dangerous pests.
What to look
The brown widow spider, similar to the black widow, is equipped with very powerful venom that is a neurotoxin. The venom of the brown widow spider is believed by some scientists to actually be stronger than that of the black widow, but
he brown spider typically does not inject as much venom per bite. If a brown widow spider bites you, you may not notice the bite right away, but symptoms of the toxin will begin to slowly manifest.
The symptoms of a brown widow spider bite include:
- Trouble breathing
- Cramps in the legs and abdomen area
All brown widow spider bites should be treated as soon as possible by a physician, and can be most dangerous to children, the elderly, and anyone who has a compromised immune system.
It is quite easy to identify a brown widow. They are typically between one to one and ½ inches long. These spiders can range in color from tan to dark brown, but the underside of the spider usually has a bright orange pattern, and the legs of the spider have black stripes. If you spot the spider in a web, the eggs of the spider will look like small balls with spikes on them.
What can you do to help control spiders around your home?
The best way to make sure your home and family are safe from these spiders is to have a qualified pest control specialist come to your home, identify any problem areas, and make suggestions or apply treatments that will prevent any spider infestations. It is better to take action now than to deal with a poisonous spider bite later.