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What West Palm Beach Property Owners Ought To Know About Dangerous Spiders
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What West Palm Beach Property Owners Ought To Know About Dangerous Spiders

Black widow spider

According to the University of Florida IFAS extension, there are five species of spiders that are considered to be venomous in Florida. You could also use the word poisonous, or the term "medically important" to describe them. While all spiders have fangs and venom, only a few have venom that can present a serious medical threat. The species to be concerned about in our West Palm Beach service area are the southern black widow, northern black widow, brown widow, red widow, and the brown recluse. 

Did you notice anything about this list? That's right. Widow spiders are plentiful. And a widow spider isn't always easily recognizable. 

Let's take a look at widow and recluse spiders and discuss a few things you should know most.

Widow Spiders

Brown widow spider

These venomous spiders prefer to be outside and are not prone to be interior pests. You're most likely to find them in a crawl space under your home, or underneath an external structure. But on occasion, they do get in. So it is important to be cautious, especially when going into secluded areas of your home.


A widow spider, whether it is black, brown, or red, has a large, bulbous abdomen. It will also be shiny and hairless. 

These two characteristics are the most important to look for because of the variety of colors and markings these spiders can have.

  • Some widows have a red hourglass on the bottom of the abdomen, but not all do.
  • Some widows have spots, but not all do.
  • Some widows have one spot on the bottom of the abdomen.
  • Widows may be jet black, red and black, or brown.
  • Brown widows have noticeable black banding on their legs.


The threads of a black widow web are strong, and can make a noise if you snap one. These webs will usually be found near the floor or ground, but they can also be in high locations. It depends on the insect activity in your home. These webs will not look like the pretty circular webs you see a lot during Halloween. Widows create tangled webs because they subdue larger bugs and invertebrates. They're also known to take down small animals.


  • Be cautious when working in your yard.
  • Wear shoes in your yard.
  • Wear gloves when working in your yard.
  • Be cautious in storage areas or when going into voids under your home.
  • Shake shoes before wearing them.

Brown Recluse Spiders

These are the most feared spiders in the United States, but much of that fear is uncalled for. While the venom of a brown recluse spider can lead to a wound with spreading necrosis, this is rare. Most bites will not amount to more than a raised welt with a rash and an ulcer in the center. When we add to this that brown recluse spiders are extremely reclusive and rarely come in contact with people, it can help to ease your fears. But don't ease them too much. These spiders can do quite well inside a home.

Some homes in the U.S. have been found to have thousands of brown recluse spiders in them. It is essential to quickly address a brown recluse infestation.


These are some of the most misidentified spiders. There are many spiders that are brown. 

Look for these characteristics to tell brown recluse from other spiders.

  • A brown recluse isn't hairy.
  • A brown recluse is only slightly larger than a quarter when it has its legs stretched out.
  • A brown recluse has a tiny brown violin mark on its back. Due to its size, it might be difficult to clearly see this mark. Look for dark coloration around the head and a line running toward the abdomen of the spider.

Brown Recluse Prevention

  • Be cautious when taking items out of storage.
  • Shake shoes, clothing, towels and other items before using them.
  • Turn your bedding down before getting into bed.
  • Remove skirts from beds.
  • Make sure bedding doesn't touch the floor.
  • Pull beds away from the walls if you know you have a recluse infestation.
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