The Brown Widow leaves its mark on Montecito Heights

Photo from UC Riverside

The brown widow spider,  Latrodectus geometricus, is not as well known as its cousin, the black widow.  But the tan and black spider – which sometimes sports a streak or spot of orange – has  rapidly spread across Southern California after first being spotted in Torrance in 2003.  Now, the brown widows seem to have discovered Montecito Heights, where five residents needed to be treated for spider bites within the past month, according to a story in Patch.   Roy Payan, who sits on the Arroyo Seco Neighoborhood Council, reported the spider bites during this week’s meeting.  Here is how one man was bitten:

Once incident involved a man who was stricken by dizziness and nausea after bitten by a brown widow that was trapped inside his sock. Payan said that doctors were only able to determine the source of the man’s symptoms after locating the crushed spider inside the man’s sock.

Some studies have shown that brown widow venom may be as toxic as that of a black widow. But a brown widow bite may not be as dangerous “because the brown widow does not have or cannot inject as much venom” as a Black Widow, according to The Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside.

Have you spotted a brown widow in your sock or underneath a patio chair? UC Riverside is collecting the spider egg sacs for a research project. Click here for details.


  1. I killed one of these near my front door not sure or not if it was indeed a brown widow. I guess I was right. Scary.

  2. i been jogging in debs park sense the early 80s and all the black widows are disapearing i am seen more of the brown widows. looks like the brown widows are takeing over the black widow is been killed off . be careful when u put your hands under the small park benches that used to be the black widows hideing place know its the brown widows there taking over”

  3. They’re all over our property here in Angelino Heights. I’m constantly scared my daughter’s tiny fingers are going to find their way into one of the many crevasses where they’re living. Their webs are easy to spot — messy and abandoned looking, like the black widow. But the spiders themselves stay pretty much out of sight until nighttime (or early morning). Then it’s like a freaking horror film! Ugh! What are their natural preditors?

    I’m finding lots of drywood termites in their webs now that it’s swarming season. Probably why they’re everywhere around the house these days (exterior only so far, thank god).

  4. I just moved to Pacific Palisades, and have killed two within a few days of each other. A huge one near my back door, and one in my bedroom window sill. I’m afraid! I see TONS of webs in this thicket area outside my back door. What to do?

  5. I’ve been told that house centipedes eat spiders.

  6. I’m one of those live-and-let-live freaks so it’s brown widow spider central over at our place. There was one on the inside of the garage door tending numerous egg sacs for a looong time (but since the video below either died or moved out):


    And another by our back door that killed a baby lizard.

    I think they’re cool.

  7. i haven’t seen them yet…. YET! Oi, vey!

  8. My garden is sick with them. I was plucking some chard today and brushed one with my finger. I found three in my compost bin and three more in my garage. That doesnt even count the black widows I already have.

    Look for their egg cases, round spiky white or beige balls, and crush ’em good, or there will be more than you know what to do with.

    I have a baby daughter on the way and I may say to hell with an organic garden and at least start targeting the brown and black widows…

  9. In his sock? That’s my worst nightmare. I’m going to have to start living in a zip-loc bag.

  10. We live in La Crescenta…found two in the garage and one inside the house. All three are now in spider heaven.

  11. i live at the entrance to debs on evadale…..ive got 4 (maybe more) that spin webs on my deck every day/night. been there all summer. now i know what they are. wow.

  12. There were dozens around my apt, one nearly jumped on my face as I was clearing another one from my door jam. Huge dark brown ones, with orange hourglasses. tons of the spiky egg sacks

  13. Saw one in Sherman Oaks last night!

  14. I killed about ten of these in my yard last weekend, and I’m in Echo Park… they’re nasty little things (or not so little sometimes) but they seem to have simply replaced black widows in the yard as I haven’t seen any black ones in a long time, so I’m not terribly scared they’ll be taking over our lives any time soon… and at least they’re prettier than black widows…

  15. 4 huge ones have spun webs right above the entrance to Debs park at Sinova/Latrobe.. they’re HUGE!

  16. Huge ones spotted around Orange County. They make for great pictures-beautiful but dangerous. Just in time for Halloween! Be careful if you have little ones.

  17. So my husband just caught one for the study but it seems they’re finishing up and don’t need any more. Not sure what to do with it now.

  18. That’s why I don’t usually wear socks! Anyway, when you’re going to look at the danger that can be imposed by brown widow spiders, they’re more dangerous than black widows. You can take a look at this site to know more: brownwidowspider.net

  19. My daughter who is 20 months old was put on antibiotics on sun cause she was bitten by one of these spiders and we live in ny

  20. I have a huge web above my sink in my kitchen and I took a pic and looked up the type of spider and it matches the brown widow

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