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Widow Spiders in Florida

Most of Florida’s spiders aren’t dangerous to people, but female widow spiders are one of the exceptions. There are four types of widow spiders found in Florida: three are native, and one is introduced. Apex, the Orlando pest control company, has prepared a helpful guide about these spiders.

Southern Black Widow

Southern black widow spiders are shiny and jet black. Their bodies are round and 8 to 13 millimeters long (about the size of a pea). On the undersides of their abdomens, they have a reddish hourglass marking.

These spiders take shelter in a variety of undisturbed places, such as wood piles, crawl spaces, or dark garage corners. While they aren’t aggressive, they may bite people who disturb their hiding places. Their venom is neurotoxic, and people who are bitten can experience symptoms like pain, nausea, muscle cramps, and raised blood pressure within one to three hours. An antivenom is available, so if you’re bitten, see a doctor right away for treatment.

Northern Black Widow

Northern black widows look very similar to their southern relatives. However, their markings set them apart; Northern widows have incomplete or split hourglass markings on their undersides. They can also have red dots or white stripes on their abdomens.These spiders like to hide in the same sheltered locations as southern black widows, and their bites have similar effects on people.

Red Widow

These spiders have round, black abdomens, red heads, and red legs. On their abdomens, they have one or two small red marks instead of the hourglass marking seen on other widow spiders. The neurotoxic venom can cause sustained muscle spasms.

Fortunately, these spiders have a limited range in Florida. They’re found in the pine scrub habitats in the central and southeastern parts of the state. If you’re hiking or camping in one of these areas, steer clear of palmetto shrubs. Red widows often hide in unopened palmetto shrubs, and they’re hard to spot.

Brown Widow

These introduced spiders may be native to Africa or South America, but they’ve been found in Florida for decades. Their bodies are tan and brown and their legs are banded. On the undersides of their abdomens, they have an orange hourglass marking.

Brown widows tend to build their webs in open containers like mailboxes or buckets. They can also be found living underneath outdoor furniture and may bite if they’re disturbed, but their bites are minor compared to bites from black widow spiders. The two main symptoms are redness and pain at the site of the bite.

These four species of widow spiders can be harmful to people, so you don’t want them in your home. If you need help controlling spiders, call the Orlando pest control experts at Apex.

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