Managing the risk of redback spiders in broccoli crops
Since 2016 there have been numerous customer complaints about redback spiders (Latrodectus hasselti) in broccoli. Complaints have mainly come between January and June, and from customers in all Australian states. This suggests 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, travel only short distances and need protection from wind, rain and extremes of temperatures. Broccoli crops are not their usual habitat.
This fact sheet summarises what we know about the risk of redback spiders contaminating broccoli.