Black, brown widows take up residence along Bayshore

It's some of Tampa's top real estate. Bayshore Beautiful boasts miles upon miles of continuous, scenic sidewalk.  But it turns out, we're not the only ones taking in the waterfront view.

South Tampa hairstylist Erik Miller's salon is just down the road. When he and his family took their nightly walk along the waterfront, he spotted something he had to capture on camera: black and brown widow spiders making themselves right at home on the balustrade.

"It was terrifying," he exclaimed.  "I have a little arachnophobia myself, so with that being said, I was definitely startled."

Entomologist Dr. Joe Eger isn't surprised.  He says, in fact, black and brown widow spiders are pretty common in the Bay Area.

"The webs are essentially nets for catching insects that fly by. There's a breeze that comes off and on the bay. I would think that would blow through the railing and provide some food for spiders, insects and things," Eger said.

A bite from one of these poisoned-packed spiders would send you straight to the hospital. But Dr. Eger says, for the most part, the widows aren't aggressive and will likely only spin their webs underneath the security of alcoves and railings. Eger says they're most active at night and are easily identified thanks to the distinct red hourglass visible on their abdomen.

While it's not the company you'd want for your walk, experts assure us, the little guys shouldn't scare you away from one of Tampa's treasures.

"If you shoved your hand up underneath, you might encounter one. But I don't think it'll be a major problem," Eger smiled.

FOX 13 talked to the City of Tampa about the spiders. They say they have a contracted company they work with for pest problems and they will address the issue.