The black widow spider has a shiny black body with a reddish brown hourglass-shape on its stomach area. They often exhibit various red or white markings on the abdomen area. They are usually found in sheds, barns, fences, woodpiles, and other outdoor structures. Their bites are extremely poisonous and should be taken seriously. Seek emergency medical treatment right away if bitten by a black widow.
There are 13 species of “brown” spiders in the U.S. The brown recluse spider is the most widespread spider in the U.S. Nebraska is on the northern-most edge of the range of this spider, but we have had more clients bringing brown recluse to the Lancaster County extension office in the last few years. Because of the locations where brown recluse have been found in the Lincoln/Lancaster County area, we believe that most of the brown recluse spider infestations get started when people move infested items, like boxes, into new places. The majority of these spiders come from structures where goods are shipped to, like commercial businesses, warehouses, or from storage facilities. Several apartment buildings in Lincoln have been seriously infested with brown recluse. In these cases, it is likely that tenants may have inadvertently caused an infestation by moving infested boxes with them–especially if they moved from an infested apartment or from southern states where brown recluse spiders are more common. We have rarely had homeowners find a brown recluse spider in their home.