Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Any Amateur Arachnologists Out There?

The area where I live has always been a favorite habitat for black widow spiders. I must admit that I hate the damn things and I work hard to keep them under control. As I am too cheap to pay a  pest control service to come and spray once a month, keeping them under control means that once a month I take a flashlight and a can of Raid and go on spider patrol.

For spider patrol to be effective, it has to be performed after dark. It consists of first walking the perimeter fence, using the flashlight to spot the offending arachnid and the can of  Raid to kill it. After the fence is cleared, the same procedure is performed on the exterior walls of the house. It works pretty good, but must be performed regularly if it is to remain effective.

Up until the last year or so, Black Widows were the predominate spider followed by Daddy Long Legs. The Black Widows were always killed, depending on my mood, the Daddy Long Legs were sometimes allowed to live. I have nothing against Daddy Long Legs, but their webs are pretty messy.

After we moved back into our house last fall, I noticed that there was a newcomer living in some of the nooks and crannies of our back yard. It had many similarities of the Black Widow, in fact other than being light brown, they were almost identical. I didn't think much of it until recently, when I realized that they have taken over my yard and seem to be rather prolific.

This one was one of the larger specimens, it was residing on the side of the house between the deck box and the spare propane tank. Click to enlarge, it is kind of a pretty spider.

Despite it's beauty, I killed it along with 15 of it's neighbors.

A little web research revealed that the Brown Widow was first spotted in SoCal in 2003 and has spread like wildfire. I found a L.A. Times article on the Brown Widow, apparently I wasn't the only one to notice.

Frankly, this thing skeeves me out. Number one son received a nasty spider bite on his belly a few months ago, I have no way of knowing whether it was a Brown Widow or not. It was bad enough that he had to see a doctor about it and the discharge from the wound was disgusting enough to put on You Tube. ( If I ever find it, I'll embed it).

Maybe it's time to rethink the pest control service thing.

Thanks to the Saint I Am Married To for holding the flashlight, allowing the above photos to be taken. Thanks to you for reading.



  1. You can buy the same chemicals the pro's use online. I'm using the same $35 bottle I bought several years's highly concentrated. Walk the base of the house, doors, windows a few times a year and you'll be good.

  2. From what I've read the Brown Widow is not really dangerous. The bite is painful but the toxicity level is very low, sort of like a bee sting.

    The Daddy Longlegs that we have around my home is not dangerous at all and does not spin a web. It's otherwise known as a Harvestman spider. I'd guess you have something different around where you are.

    Eradicate the Black Widow spiders around your home and consider it your good deed for the day. What really scares me is not the Black Widow, but the Brown Recluse. I've seen the results of a Recluse bite and it is really frightening. A coworker was bitten on the joint of his thumb and it looked as though he was going to lose his thumb for a while. After that I shook out my clothes and shoes before I put them on, and I checked everywhere before I sat down at the table. That bite was serious.

  3. Alan - Thanks for the tip. You wouldn't happen to remember the name of the stuff would you?

  4. What I'm using is called Permethrin TC (technically a termite mix) but you'll see it under a lot of different names. Demon, Cypermethrin, etc will all do the job.

  5. Thanks Alan, I'll check on the stuff. Ya gotta love the internet!