Brown Widow Spider makes its home on Gulf Coast

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Dark Knight, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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    As if the West Nile-toting mosquito isn't enough to worry Mississippians, add the poisonous Latrodectus geometricus to the state's list of creepy-crawly creatures.


    Dr. Jerome Goddard, entomologist with the Mississippi Department of Health, said the poisonous Brown Widow spider that is a cousin to the well-known Black Widow, is now calling the Mississippi Gulf Coast home.

    "The tropical Brown Widow spider .... has recently been captured in many locations along the Mississippi Gulf Coast," Goddard said in a news release Tuesday.

    He said his office has been receiving many phone calls reporting buildings and grounds heavily infested with this type of spider.

    "This spider is in the same family as the Black Widow, and is poisonous to humans," Goddard said. "I first heard of a collection of this spider at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi in early 2005 and figured it was probably just an isolated incident."

    The Health Department said the Brown Widow can grow to 1 1/2 inches long. It is brown or grayish-brown instead of black and has an orange-to-yellow hourglass design on its underside, as opposed to the familiar red hourglass design on the Black Widow.

    "That's a dead giveaway," Goddard said. "When the hourglass design is yellowish or orange, instead of deep red, you know it is a Brown Widow."

    He said there is a positive note — the Brown Widow is not as aggressive as the Black Widow. And although some scientific reports claim the Brown Widow is twice as poisonous, Goddard said that was doubtful.

    More at link:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061004/ap_on_sc/brown_widow&printer=1



     
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  3. GlitchWizard

    GlitchWizard Reprobate

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    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    OH MY GOODNESS!
    My daughter showed me a spider the other day on my porch that looked like a black widow, but since the colors were all wrong, I told her to feed a cricket to it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    This is in Crawfordville, Florida, not Mississippi - so, I'm calling someone to report it. It might be more widespread than they think. It's still on my porch, so they can come verify it.
    Okay, so now you think I'm weird for not killing spiders on my porch, and instead, feeding them. I don't have an explanation that anyone would find rational - lets just say I think they look cool.​
    Oh my. I had no idea it was poisonous, I am wide eyed and freaked now that I know I sent my kid to go feed it. Of course, I was bitten twice by poisonous brown recluse spiders and didn't die from it, so it's probably not so bad...​
     
  4. kgeaux

    kgeaux New Member

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    This is such a coincidence that you posted this article! My son came to visit yesterday evening and told me that he had killed six black widows at a construction site he was working on. Each had an egg sack nearby!
    They have a very distinctive type of web, in addition to the markings on the spiders body.

    He told me about some brown ones he'd found that resembled black widows but the coloring was wrong.......the brown ones were all dead. I'll have to call him to tell him to watch out for those brown ones too!
     
  5. KrisNine

    KrisNine New Member

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    I have never seen the brown ones, but we have a ton of black widows out here. For the most part I leave them alone. I've never had one in my house, mostly in the garage or in the front flower beds.
     
  6. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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    A Brown Widow spider, displaying the famous red hour glass marking under her abdomen, guards her egg sacs in this 2004 file photo near Archer, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin, FILE)

    [​IMG]
     
  7. GlitchWizard

    GlitchWizard Reprobate

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  8. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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    DISTRIBUTION
    In Florida, however, there are three other venomous widow spiders (Southern black widow, northern black widow, and, the red widow) in addition to the brown widow. The most commonly encountered species of the group that people are finding around their homes and work place in Sarasota County is the brown widow spider, Latrodectus geometricus. In the mid to late nineties there seems to have been an outbreak of brown widow spiders. Sightings have been reported from the barrier islands to I-75. At one time the brown widow, which was introduced into Florida, was most abundant in coastal cities of southeastern Florida. It now seems to have spread throughout the state and reports of sightings have been received from Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina. Why are they so common? Perhaps, the milder winters of the last few years have contributed to their expanding range and increased presence. It could be there are more insects for them to feed on as a result of the milder winters. Along with the weather, however, another important factor is transportation by vehicles. The Extension Office has received increasing email and phone calls asking how to control brow widow spiders in and under cars and recreation vehicles.

    http://sarasota.extension.ufl.edu/IPM/BrownWidow.htm
     
  9. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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    lol, you'd be hard pressed to get me to admit any spider is cute, lol. Just don't like 'em.
     
  10. GlitchWizard

    GlitchWizard Reprobate

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    Next time you see one, toss a cricket into it's web and watch what a cool display it is.

    My inmate pen pal has a "pet" spider that lives in a toilet paper roll taped to his ceiling. It's a female and he says when he is sitting in front of his fan to write to me, the spider senses the "breeze" of the fan, and sprays her web like silly string all over his head!
     
  11. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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    Did you ever determine if you were feeding a Brown Widow?
     
  12. GlitchWizard

    GlitchWizard Reprobate

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    It wasn't. It was a http://woodypest.ifas.ufl.edu/rdwidow.htm red widow spider. The body shape is exactly like a black widow (and brown) but the color is all wrong, I thought. I had no idea it was a poisonous spider and had never heard of anything other than black widow and brown recluse spiders as poisonous around here. I've been bitten by brown recluse spiders, two of them, and it's nasty business - but not as bad as I had assumed it would be.

    The red widow from my porch has been transported to the Apalachecola National Forest - NOT on any trail. She is currently residing under a fallen tree that is dark and cosy. There wasn't an egg sack with her, and she had just eaten the cricket - so she should be fine there.

    The "all wrong" colors are the legs and stuff - check out the photos.
     
  13. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    Spiders are good luck, y'all!

    I grew up with a colorful mother who was constantly on the lookout for black widows and red ants. And we seemed to have tons of both in our yard!

    I have always been fascinated with black widows...just like I am with most things that could cause me harm. They are very cool-looking, those spiders.
     
  14. KrisNine

    KrisNine New Member

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    My grandmother was the same way with spiders. She would never kill them, so I suppose that's why i don't. I don't kill anything, except fleas!! I have a spider rescue kit which is either a broom for them to crawl on if they are big enough and I'm too scared to get close to them...or a plastic cup and a piece of thick paper to slide under it :)
     

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