Black Widow Spiders & Brown Widow Spiders Control in Port St Lucie & Stuart

Both Black Widow and Brown Widow Spiders are common pests in South Florida. While the Southern Black Widow is a native species, the invasive Brown Widow has become the more common spider in Port St Lucie, Palm City and Stuart. In this article we will cover how to identify them, where they are most commonly found around homes, and why their unique anatomy makes professional pest control more important for spiders than for other pests.

Most people are not particularly interested in the detailed minutia of a termite’s diet or swarming cycles. As a homeowner, you simply want to know whether your home is at risk of damage. With that in mind we will boil it down to the most important concepts to understand regarding termites in St Lucie and Martin County.

Widow Spiders

Widow Spiders are an infamous genus of spider known for their poisonous bite and for exhibiting a behavior called sexual cannibalism – some female spiders will kill and consume their partner after mating. There are 5 species of Widow Spider in North America. The Northern Widow, the Southern Widow, the Western Widow, the Red Widow Spider, and lastly the invasive and increasingly common, Brown Widow Spider. Among the 4 native Widow Spiders in North America, the Red Widow is unique in that it is endemic only to Florida.

Where Black and Brown Widow Spiders Live and What Can Be Done

Unfortunately, Black Widow Spiders and Brown Widow Spiders are widespread in Port St Lucie and Stuart. They prefer dark and somewhat secluded areas. Cluttered areas of a garage are a prime habitat. The framing around a patio screen kick plate, in the top corners of a front door entryway, and along the bottom trim board in a garage are a few other examples where these spiders are commonly found in Florida.

There is an irony to where Black Widows often choose to make their home. While they prefer darker areas, their food is most abundant in areas that are lit up at night. This is because prey for these spiders is usually attracted to light. Building a web around a frequently lit exterior light fixture is a lucrative business for a Black Widow Spider. Leaving exterior lighting off at night can have a huge impact on spider populations around a home. It will also save you money. We recommend installing motion sensors on exterior light fixtures so that they turn on only if someone approaches the property. Leaving exterior lights on at night literally baits a home with food for spiders.

The Tradition area of Port St Lucie seems to be the area most habitually infested with Black & Brown Widow Spiders. Most of the communities in Port St Lucie west of I-95 have multiple manmade lakes and ponds. These ponds are a prime breeding ground for small flying insects such as mosquitoes and midges. Flying insects are the base food source for web-producing spiders, therefore the overabundance of prey in the Tradition area seems to be contributing to an abundance of spiders. This is particularly true of newly constructed neighborhoods. The full ecosystem of potential predators for midges, such as fish, frogs, and tadpoles, takes time to become well-established. Meanwhile, the midges and mosquitoes begin to reproduce in these new water sources almost immediately.
In the experience of pest control technicians at Green Pest Services, Brown Widows make up the vast majority of Widow Spider encounters on the Treasure Coast.

While there are steps homeowners can take to prevent pests, if you’ve noticed Widow Spiders around your home it may be worth it to contact a pest control company for service. Because of their reclusive nature and the potentially painful consequences of an encounter, hiring a well-trained exterminator is likely the best choice for most homeowners.

Brown Widow Spider

Brown Widow Spider Hourglass

Brown Widow egg sac in Tradition, Florida

Varieties of Widow Spiders found on The Treasure Coast

Red Widow Spider

The Red Widow Spider is uncommon, and classified as “Threatened” by the IUCN (the organization widely known for classifying species at risk of extinction). The Red Widow is endemic to Central and South Florida. The Red Widow lives only in our endangered dry scrub habitats such as that found in Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound and Spruce Bluff Preserve in Port St Lucie. Because of their limited range and unique living environment, this species rarely encounters humans. In fact, in researching this article we were unable to find a single recorded instance of a Red Widow Bite. Like many of the other species endemic to Florida’s scrub habitat, the Red Widow is threatened with extinction mostly due to habitat destruction.

The Red Widow Spider is a nominal threat to humans rarely encountered outside of its native habitat. Due to its threatened status, Red Widow Spiders should be left alone rather than killed.

Latrodectus Bishopi the Red Widow

Brown Widow Spider

The Brown Widow Spider may be the most relevant widow spider on the Treasure Coast. There is evidence in other parts of the country that Black Widow Spiders fail to compete against invasive Brown Widows and based on the experience of pest control technicians at Green Pest Services, Brown Widows appear to be supplanting Black Widows in our area as well. Certainly, if you live west of I-95 and south of Tradition Parkway (34987), you’re more likely to encounter Brown Widow Spiders than Black Widows.
Brown Widow Spiders can be identified by the black and brown pattern on their legs. The more famous (or infamous) Black Widow has solid black legs. Another way of identifying a Brown Widow is their eggs. It is common for a Brown Widow web to also contain egg sacs. Brown Widow egg sacs are unique in that they have small spikes on them. Black Widow egg sacs are smooth and round. There are other more subtle differences between the two but most people do not want to get too close to these potentially dangerous pests.

Brown Widows are not considered more dangerous than other species of widow spider. Though their venom is more toxic, they possess less venom and tend to inject a small quantity when they bite. For this reason, Brown Widow bites to people tend to have better outcomes when compared to bites by Black Widows.

YouTube video

Brown Widow Spider in Port St Lucie

Black Widow Spider

Black Widow Spiders are present throughout North America. They are common in Florida and their behavior is similar to that of the Brown Widow. The Black Widow is considered somewhat more dangerous than the Brown because it tends to inject more venom. Cluttered dark areas such as garages and sheds are prime locations for Black Widow Spiders to live. Gloves and long-sleeved shirts should be considered if you will be working in these areas, particularly if the items aren’t often moved or messed with.
Black Widow Spider

Black Widow Spider

INULL (talk) (Uploads), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Brown Recluse (Loxosceles Reclusa)

The Brown Recluse is not a widow spider but it is commonly mentioned when talking about venomous spiders in Florida. The Brown Recluse is not at all common in Florida. G. B. Edwards of the Florida State Collection of Arthropods looked closely into alleged Brown Recluse bites in Florida and published his findings in 2021. He found what we at Green Pest Services have been telling our customers for many years now – Brown Recluse Spiders are not at all common in Florida. Most confirmed sightings of Brown Recluse in Florida have been easily associated with the transportation of vehicles and goods from areas where the Brown Recluse IS common.

Regarding bites, Edwards was able to uncover only one (1) confirmed Brown Recluse bite in Florida. This is not to say there is zero possibility of Brown Recluse encounter, but they are rare and should not be the first suspect when investigating a suspected spider bite.

There is also no evidence of a sustained population of Brown Recluse Spiders in Florida. There have been incidents where multiple examples were found in a single building, and could constitute an “infestation”. Again, however, there is no evidence that a breeding population has ever established itself in the environment here in Florida.

Brown Recluse Spider

Brown Recluse Spider

Sterling Herron, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Why Pest Control is More Important for Spider Control Than Other Pests

If you are experiencing a spider infestation in your home it might be wise to consider the service of a professional pest control company in your area. Because Spiders aren’t insects – they’re arachnids – they don’t pick up insecticides the same way insects do.

Often people assume that an insect walking over a treated area will die, while this may be true, it is not because the product got onto the feet or legs of the insect and this was sufficient to extinguish them. Insects groom themselves. They clean their legs, feet, and antenna with their mouths. This grooming behavior causes them to consume insecticides that they may have walked over or investigated with their antenna. Because spiders aren’t insects, they lack antennae. They also have somewhat unique mouthparts, and they don’t exhibit the same kind of grooming behavior. For these reasons, spiders are more difficult to control using insecticides. Simply walking around your house with an over-the-counter spray bottle is more likely to hurt your wallet than many spiders. Knowledge and experience are the most powerful tools in the battle against spiders. Green Pest Services comes equipped with both.

Spider Exterminator and Spider Control Near Post St Lucie, Palm City, Stuart Fl

Green Pest Services is experienced in helping Martin and St Lucie county residents in effectively exterminating spiders. We provide both eco-friendly pest control and traditional pest control treatments upon request to keep your home or commercial property safe and protected from pests. If spiders are invading your home, give Green Pest Services a call at 772-528-5839 today.

We take a bottom-line approach to each project. Our clients consistently leave great reviews on our service.

- Shane Green. CEO, Green Pest Sevices Fl.