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Well-Known Member
Dec 5, 2002
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I got a nasty surprise tonight while filling water buckets. I use the big flat back buckets like many people do. On a daily basis I take them down, empty the old water, swish my hand around to remove any crud and then refill. Today, however, one of the buckets had a drowned rat in it, so that means it has to be bleached and scrubbed with a brush. After doing so, I turned it over to give it a good rinsing and immediately noticed the distinctive egg cases of a black widow spider along the inside lip of the bucket. Black widows just love dark little nooks and crannies. I have picked up this bucket a dozen times by that lip (though I usually use the handle, thank goodness) and it is just dumb luck that has kept me from being bitten. She was well hidden and had to be flushed out, but was HUGE, even by black widow standards. She was tending at least 4-5 egg cases, several of which were empty, in other words, already hatched. Sorry to say that momma spider met an untimely demise with the heel of my shoe after a good dousing of fly spray and a lot of her little children went to spider heaven, too.

If you're not familiar with black widow egg cases, they are very distinctive. All species of widows (there are black, brown and red) make a very messy, unorganized web and are usually found in dark, well protected areas. Their egg cases look like little off-white to cream color balls with spikes all over them. If you've ever seen a highly magnified speck of pollen, that's what they resemble. If you find those egg cases, momma is probably not far away. She is shiny, shiny black, like patent leather and has a bright red hourglass marking on her belly. The brown and red widows have a similar pattern, but are not as distinguishable. Needless to say, I'll be on the lookout for the rest of her family in and around my barn and buckets!

Just a little heads-up. I'd hate to think of someone being bitten needlessly as these spiders are found over most of our country (not just bug haven, Florida) and pack a whallop when they bite. Though rarely fatal, they can be, but they generally cause a least a trip to the ER (just ask my son who was bitten by a brown widow).


Robin C
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Thanks Robin.

My brother was bitten by a brown recluse in Florida and died within 48 hours. Must be careful of any spider bites.
Oh my gosh Marty!!!!!!!!!! How awful. I know of another person killed by a brown recluse but she was also fighting cancer. As a vet. tech. I saw a poor little min pin that lost most of its back tissue to a recluse but did survive with a huge vet. bill. Robin is right florida is bug central!!!
Thanks Robin, for the heads up...I never thought of one hiding under the lip.. We get lots of them around here. I look for the messy webs that have that fresh elastic/sticky feel to them .. These are tell- tell signs that a widow is alive and active nearby.. Also I am thankful that they are rather slow to escape once spotted, as my first smack is not allways my best.. .

I just cleaned buckets today.... YIKES......goosebumps......

Now I have to do them again, only looking a little closer!

Thanks Robin.

I too was bitten by the Brown recluse spider in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. As soon a it bit me I knew what it was...off to the er we went..Bit me on the back of my right leg. After 6 weeks of aggresive treatment I was better....The bite left a hole on my leg the size of a half dollar!!!
Funny you mentioned black widows. I turned over a rubber feed pan the other night that had been laying upside down on the ground for some time. What was under it? A black widow!! EWWWW!!!!
Oh my! And I pulled all my buckets tonight and rinsed them in the dark! Wow. I might understand if you didn't pull your buckets regularly, but you said you do it frequently. Guess it takes no time to spin that web.

I've seen many black widows her in South Carolina, and actually have found two brown recluse in my house. Didn't know what they were until later.

Any spider in my house doesn's usually make it out alive. I just can't tolerate spiders....
Thank you very much Robin

I never watch when I pull the water buckets in the stalls every day. I bet I do now. I wear gloves when I do the hay as small coral snakes like to curl up in the flakes so I think I will just leave them on to clean the buckets. Our poor Florida. It is so pretty here but what we have to go through to live here. FLFlyingw
Yikes. Don't see many of those here, but my barn is full of those big black & brown spiders that move really fast. The brown recluse really scares me, there have been some bites in our neighborhood and a friend has a horrible nasty deep scar from one. Marty, how awful. Was he more allergic than normal or was it just a powerful bite?

Thanks Robin. Even in this "non-buggy" area of the Northwest, we do have Black Widow spiders. I'd never thought of checking the lip of a water bucket! Yikes!

My friends big horse got bit by a recluse it was touch and go but he did pull out of it. We have lots of black widows and why I have never been bit I don't know cause I am always picking things up and finding them.
Good tip Robin!

We had a big momma with her babies in the rim around our garbage can we use to store feed and once in the handle! Really lucky we didn't get bit!

I really hate to kill them, but boy I don't want us or any of the animals getting bit.
Black Widows are moving in here by the tons.

I think it has something to do with the weather this year. We had a very wet spring, I think that has a big something to do with it.

Normally here in Central NM we usually find a black widow every month or so.........

Not this year.........we've been finding a web and a huge black widow on a daily basis, sometimes 2 a day, and I'm not exagerating

What's even worse is they aren't hiding like they usually do, they are making their webs on my fence posts, behind water buckets, and on my gates and then hide in the gate hinges.

We have captured several giant girls and taken them to our local spider museum. The museum is quite impressed with the size of "our" girls this year........I'm not!!!

The one good thing about them is that their web is so staticky and sticky that they are very very hard to miss
We have black widows all over the place. They love to make thier webs/nests where I store my shavings in a little shed. They will run when I expose them so I just let them go on thier way since they are taking care of a lot of the bug population, there are so many of them and since they don't go out of thier way to hurt me I just let em be.


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