Population of Brown Widow Spiders Growing in San Diego

The population of brown widow spiders has been growing in San Diego County over the past decade, and experts are warning residents to be cautious.

"Ten years ago it was new and exciting and it was very noteworthy," said Greg Slawson of Vector Control. "But they very quickly invaded the county so they are here to stay."

The species of spiders originally from Africa came to Southern California in 2005 and are now considered very common, experts said.

The spiders, a relative of black widow spiders, hide in yards and sheds, and Slawson recommends folks check their shoes if they keep them outside, for instance.

A good rule of thumb is to treat them with the same seriousness as black widows, he added.

Still, brown widow spider bites are extremely rare.

“I’ve been in the department for 15 years and can count on one hand on how many people have been bitten so it's pretty rare,” Slawson said.

Brown widow spider bites can cause pain and redness, headache, nausea and muscle spasms, but are considered far less serious than black widow spider bites, which can cause severe pain.

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