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Spider Update: Portland Keep an Eye Out for Brown Widows

Brown Widow

Oregon pest management professionals warn residents to keep an eye out for brown widow spiders as they were recently spotted in the Portland area in April 2014. Brown widows are not the same as black widows or brown recluse spiders, but their venom is more toxic.

Portland Pest Control Tips: Brown Widow Spider Identification


Brown widows are smaller than black widows and brown recluse spiders. Like the black widow, it has an hourglass figure on the underside of its abdomen, but it’s orange instead of red.

A mature female spider’s upper body is dark brown or black, but its abdomen is tan with black and brown spots that are outlined with black markings, including a longitudinal stripe that runs along the dorsal part of the abdomen. The adult female brown widow looks similar to a young black widow, but its markings are darker. Like the black widow, the brown widow spider’s legs have black and tan bands on them.


In residential areas, brown widows generally hide in the nooks and crannies of plastic patio furniture and trashcans, or under them. You may also find them in window shutters, shoes or bed linens.


The brown widow primarily eats soft- and hard-bodied insects like caterpillars, mosquitoes, flies and grasshoppers.

Egg Sacs

Brown widows have distinctive egg sacs that are tan and look like spiky balls.

What to Do if You See a Brown Widow

If you see a brown widow spider on your property, the safest thing to do is contact a pest control company like Eden Pest. In general, the spiders don’t want anything to do humans, but they will attack if startled or provoked. While the spider’s fangs aren’t always strong enough to break the skin, a bite requires emergency care.

Don’t hesitate to call Eden Pest to get a suspicious spider identified or to schedule an inspection of your property.

[ Photo by: incidencematrix, on Flickr, via CC License ]

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