Brown Widow Spider


Actual Size: 3-7mm

Characteristics: Black or dark brown. Like black widow spiders, brown widows have an hourglass marking on the underside of the abdomen, but their hourglass is typically orange or yellow. There is a geometric pattern on the upper side of the abdomen.


  • Brown widow species have poisonous venom, though it is rarely fatal. It is much less toxic than black widow spiders.
  • Brown widows are generally non-aggressive. Most humans are bitten after squeezing or pinching a widow spider.
  • These spiders prefer to nest near the ground, in dark and undisturbed areas.
  • Brown widows may be more aggressive toward black widows, displacing them in certain locations throughout North America.

Brown widow spider habits

Brown widow spiders can be found on every continent with the exception of antarctica. Within the united states, they are most common in the southern and western areas of the country, though they can be found in all 50 states.

Brown widow spiders are typically brown or dark black, with yellow or orange markings on the underside of the abdomen. Unlike black widow spiders, they also have a geometric pattern on the upper side of their abdomen, and their legs have black and white stripes. With age, the color variation can fade or disappear altogether.

Brown widows prefer to build a web close to the ground, in undisturbed and dark areas. Widow spiders build irregular webs with sticky areas, resting in a small central area while waiting for prey. Outdoors, they spin webs underneath wood piles, boards, and outdoor furniture. They also spin webs inside irrigation boxes, behind shrubs, and within wood siding. The brown widow does not prefer to enter buildings, but they may do when the need arises.

Problems with brown widow spiders

The obvious problem with brown widow spiders are their bites. Although they are non-aggressive and will only attack when continually provoked, their venom is toxic to the nervous system. Their venom is less toxic than the black widow spider, and typically only produces reactions around the site, and not in the entire body.

Prevention of brown widow spiders

There are some basic steps that can be taken to prevent brown widow spiders. Because brown widows feed on other insects, regular pest control should be employed to limit a food source for brown widow spiders. Always use gloves when gardening or performing lawn maintenance, especially within garages or outbuildings. Reduce clutter in these outbuildings. Keep any stored items off the ground, stored in plastic, and away from the walls. Outdoor equipment and furniture should be inspected regularly for brown widow spiders, webs, and egg sacs. Trim any plants or vegetation from around the home, seal any foundation or wall cracks, and remove any yard debris. If brown widow spiders are discovered, a professional pest control professional should be called before an infestation can result.

Exterminating brown widow spiders

Because brown widow spiders are poisonous, a pest control expert should always be consulted upon discovery. If an infestation is suspected, a professional will be able to inspect, treat, and prevent future brown widow spider problems.