Send Me Your Spiders: UC Riverside Scientist Wants Your Help!

RIVERSIDE (CBS) — A UC Riverside scientist is asking for the public’s help…and brace yourselves for what he wants.

Research associate Rick Vetter has been tracking the invasive brown widow spider and their egg sacs. And here is where you come in.

He wants you to find them and catch them and then send them to him!

Brown widows are usually found in Florida, but recently they’ve come to Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Bernardino counties. Welcome brown widows!

Brown widows are a nasty assignment. They’re not terribly friendly and they are twice as potent as the black widow. On the plus side, they are less likely to defend their egg sacs (round and yellow with spiky protrusions).

Are you still reading?

Oh, and don’t spray the specimens with pesticides! Vetter wants people to send eggs and spiders in separate containers labeled with the city they were found.  He needs about 2,000. Good luck, Rick!

Where to send: Rick Vetter, Brown Widow Project, Dept of Entomology, UC Riverside, Riverside California 92521.

For more information click here.

  • Tony

    For the past 3 years I have been noticing these spiders in several Los Angeles areas: South Central Los Angeles, Santa Monica, El Segundo and Torrance areas. They are more widespread than the doctor thinks.

    • J.

      They are! Over the past few months I have probably found about 3-4 of them in our back yard and this only started within the past year or two.

      I’ve even noticed some Black Widows with the Spiky Egg Sacs (normally they are supposed to be Silky) so it seems that maybe there is cross-breeding between the two species.

  • Burnadette rivera

    Today I was cleaning up the back yard of the house my family and I are moving into, I came across an egg sack exactly like the one shown. Ironically I was going to destroy the sack and forgot because I was side tracked. Looks lime tomorrow instead of killing the sack I’m packing it to ship. I’m located in Whittier, ca.

  • Diana Medina

    i came across some egg sacks yesterday day and after seeing the news last n ight i realized it was the same eggs i had found on our trash cans.. this morning i went looking for more eggs on our trash cans and i found lots of egg sacks… i was able to get 3 of them. then my son comes around and i explain to him that those eggs are dangerous because there is a dangerous spider around those eggs.. he tells me that he knows were to find more eggs like those.. then he shows me3 eggs on one of our wooden back doors.. as i was explaining to him to not touch the eggs or go near them the brown spider came out,,, i was so scared i sprayed it …. i dont think im brave enuough to collect one to ship. i know theres more spiders in our trash cans. maybe my husband can help me get one to ship…. so i guess for now we need to be carefull… Corona, Ca

  • asdf

    Err. I’m pretty sure that every other website lists the Brown Widow as being slightly to moderately less poisonous than Black Widows.

  • jay

    i have killed a couple of dozen here in huntington beach (92647)

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