The brown widow is related to the more poisonous black widow spider, but it not as dangerous to humans, according to field entomologist Jim Berrian of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Wednesday afternoon, Susan Deegan power washed the exterior of her house and windows, hoping to get rid of the insects. Walking around Deegan’s home, signs of brown widow eggs are everywhere, especially under the eaves. Deegan said she and her husband have turned their outside patio upside down looking for the spiders, and they don’t feel safe.
"It’s really compromised our comfort in our own yard and home,” said Deegan.
She said one of the main problem areas is her backyard.
“We’ve had to take all this apart, disassemble our patio, disassemble our plants and planters. The lamp, we’ve been taking it apart – there was a big spider on this one so we took it down,” said Deegan.
Berrian says many people spray the tiny pests, but that’s not the answer to the problem.
“There’s nothing out there you can spray that will keep spiders away,” said Berrian.
He says physically removing them is the best bet.
“You know, take them out – I’ll put them in a vile of alcohol – put them in the collection or smoosh them, something like that,” Berrian continued.
“For two years, I’ve been walking around with this long lighter and burning the spiders and the egg,” said Deegan.
Berrian says brown widows were first seen in San Diego about 15 years ago and since that time, the population has exploded.