Review of issues and options for preventing and removing redback spiders in broccoli
Since 2016 there have been numerous customer complaints about redback spiders (Latrodectus hasselti) in broccoli. Complaints have come from customers in all Australian states, suggesting that this is not an issue for a single production area, but can occur anywhere that broccoli is grown. Redback spiders are clearly unacceptable to consumers, and also pose risks to growers, pickers and packers.
Despite their fearsome reputation, redback spiders are generally timid. They are nocturnal ground dwellers which need protection from wind, rain and extremes of temperatures. Broccoli crops are not their usual habitat.
This review examined factors that may be contributing to redback spiders entering broccoli crops and/or contaminating broccoli after harvest and produced a fact sheet with information on how to manage the risk and impact of this pest.