When you think of dangerous, venomous spiders, odds are you are thinking of the black widow or the brown recluse. While these two species are certainly the most infamous venomous spiders, they aren’t the only concerning spiders out there. In fact, even amongst the widow spider species, of which there are 31 identified kinds, there are other spiders with venom equally potent to the black widow.
One of those species, the brown widow, could be hiding in or around your home!
What are brown widow spiders?
The brown widow spider, known by some as the house button spider, is a member of genus Latrodectus, which includes all widow spiders. This makes them a sort of “cousin” to the black widow. These spiders are slightly smaller in size compared to black widows, and they have a tan or brown body coloration. Like most widow spiders, they can be identified by the large “hourglass” found on their abdomen. In the case of the brown widow, this hourglass shape is usually orange in color.
Brown widow spiders live solitary lives. They are quite timid and prefer to stay out of the way of humans when possible. Generally, brown widows are accidental invaders, entering your home in pursuit of prey.
Once inside, however, that story may change. Since brown widow spiders prefer to live in seclusion, they may take shelter in secluded parts of your home and build webs to catch prey. Typically, they will take up residence in garages, sheds, wall voids, or other areas that provide them with sufficient cover.
Female brown widows may even lay egg sacs in your home, which can contain up to 100 spiderlings. If the eggs hatch, the new spiderlings may spread further throughout your home.
Should I be worried about the brown widow?
Though brown widow spiders are less aggressive than the black widow, their venom is of the same level of toxicity. For this reason, you should be extremely cautious if you encounter a brown widow. While they are typically very timid, they will bite if threatened.
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