The brown widow spider makes its home in warm climates. It can be found in the Southern United States, particularly Florida and New Orleans. It often resides in abandoned buildings and sheds, as well as under rocks and wood piles. The female is typically 1/2 inch to 1 inch long, with a body that's nearly solid chocolate brown or a mottled combination of browns, tans and whites. Both color types feature an orange hourglass shape on the underside of the abdomen, plus brown and black banded legs. Unlike most species of spiders, brown widow spiders are venomous to humans. A brown widow's bite affects the nervous system, causing muscle cramps, shortness of breath, sweating and nausea. Handle brown widow spiders with extreme caution.
Things You'll Need
Sealable plastic bag
Purchase an appropriate pesticide from a hardware or lawn and garden store. Some pesticides are labeled for use by homeowners; others can be purchased and used only by licensed professionals. Consult store staff or a licensed pest professional to ensure you purchase the correct spray for use on brown widow spiders.
Inspect with a flashlight areas where brown widows have been spotted or where they might live. Wear leather gloves to protect from bites. The best time to see brown widows is at night when they are most active.
Spray pesticide on the brown widow spider. Also spray the affected area to prevent future brown widows. Wait 24 hours to remove the dead spider with a vacuum. Again wearing gloves, place the vacuum bag with the dead spider in a sealed plastic bag, then discard in a secured trash container.
Use extreme caution when trying to kill brown widow spiders. Widow spider venom is poisonous and contains neurotoxin, which affects the nervous system.
Contact a pest management professional to inspect and treat the area to ensure there aren’t additional brown widow spiders invading the space.