Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Timid Brown Widow

While planting some nasturtium seeds in recycled six-pack vegetable containers, I ran across many brown widows. According to the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects and Spiders & Related Species of North America, the brown widow rarely bites. We practice a policy of relocation. Their black widow cousins, however, are not so fortunate at Camp Ramshackle.


  1. Last few years have had a definate increase in the number of black windows around the house. Try not to kill, just discourage. Wolf Spiders come in at this time of year and keep the rest of the insects at bay. Have not seen any brown widows, or for that matter, any other larger spiders beyond the two mentioned above. Didn't even see a tarantula this year!

  2. Up here in the Willamette Valley, we don't seem to have too many bugs, but that may be because of all the spiders! I've never lived anywhere with so many. Now is the time of year when they hang out in the garden, fat and happy on bugs, upside down. I've taken to waving my arms around when I walk outside, out both the back and the front door, to catch any spider webs with my arms instead of walking into a web face first, which is incredibly unpleasant and kind of unglues me. I make sure they make it safely to the side, where they can come back and rebuild the web later. I know they are doing a useful job, even though some of their quarry is bees. Something you have to live with in the natural world.

    I don't treat black widows with such equanimity, however.

  3. morgaineotm, you're a more tolerant person than me. I think the black widows are gorgeous, but they have a bounty on their heads here. Let me know if/when you see a tarantula. When I was a kid, I remember being at summer camp. I remember walking to the infirmary to visit my poor fever addled brother and the ground was blanketed with one inch tarantulas crawling at angles on the ground. I fell in love right there.

    Paula, I'm thinking you might consider a bee suit to avoid the spider web unpleasantness. I get that quite a bit around here too. I think one day the spiders might just catch me.


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