Most people are very aware of the Black Widow spider and the dangers it can present. However, were you aware that the Brown Widow, a cousin of the Black Widow can be just as deadly? Louisiana Residents are starting to become aware of that fact as the Brown Widow is showing up more frequently. The Brown Widow is actually more venomous than its cousin, but passes less venom with its bite. Like its cousin, while it ranges in colors of gray to browns, it has a yellow to orange hour glass mark on its abdomen and can tend to have banded marked legs.
It is shyer than its cousin, less prone to bite, although it will bite when coming in contact with human skin. While the Black Widow can be found in some of the Northern States, the Brown Widow is found primarily in the southern states. For a long time it was restricted to specifically the Florida Peninsula however since the year 2000 has been showing up in other southern and Gulf Coast states. It can be found in from Florida to South Carolina and From Texas to Georgia, and even been found in Southern California.
While there is confusion on where it originated from, it is believed to have come from Africa, yet first descriptions of this spider came out of South America. While it does pass less venom with its bite, it can be very painful and treatment should be sought. There are a few cases where the victim has died from the bite of the Brown Widow. It is estimated that only one out of twenty die from the bite of a brown widow, typically it usually will only be really painful, especially in the first 8 hours.
As fast as they are spreading through the United States, they are defiantly a species of spider you should be aware of in case of an encounter. They prefer undisturbed areas such as empty cans or flower pots, dark crawl spaces and wood piles or brush piles. Some areas may have a mixed population of Brown Widows and Black Widows as they like the same type of habitat. If an infestation occurs, it needs to be taken care of and a reduction of what is drawing them to your area of residence. Reducing their habitat around your living quarters goes a long way for controlling these dangerous and toxic pests. I am sure we will be hearing more
It is most likely the Brown Widow can thank travelers for their rapid spreading, hitching a ride out of Florida with them. Awareness needs to be brought to this cousin of the Black Widow as it spreads into new States and within a short amount of time establishes fairly large numbers. I am sure that within a few more years we will be hearing much more about this spider and it will be a common household name just as its cousin has been all these years.