black widow spider weaving a web

What Are Black Widow Spiders?

Black widow spiders (genus Latrodectus) appear in five species, the most common being northern (a row of red spots under the abdomen) and southern (a red hourglass under the abdomen). Black widow spiders are black, round, thick, shiny, and lack antennae. Black widows are medium-sized (about half an inch long), their markings below the abdomen intended to ward off predators. 
Black widow spiders gained their name based on the female's occasional habit of eating males after mating (though generally only in captivity). Males live roughly one to two months, and females can survive for up to three years.

black widow spider on web

Why Do I Have A Problem With Black Widow Spiders?

Black widows are shy, socializing only during copulation. However, they can visit you when there's food nearby. They tend to hang out to hunt for insects, such as flies, ants, and other pests.

Homes with insect infestations are ready-made sources of food for black widows, and cracks in doors and windows provide an invitation for them to come in to satisfy their appetites. Yard debris, tall grass, and firewood also provide ample opportunities for them to hide, build webs, and capture food around the exterior, drawing them to the area.

Where Do Black Widow Spiders Hide?

Black widow spiders typically spend most of their time near the ground, spinning irregular webs. They also conceal themselves in dark, isolated, and shielded places, such as in basements or near boxes, corners, closets, firewood, and other cluttered areas. These spiders tend to remain solitary, hiding until night, though they do come out to mate, after which female black widows fashion paper-like sacs with 200 to 900 eggs within.

Are Black Widow Spiders Dangerous?

Black widow spiders only interest themselves in feeding and mating, though they will bite in self-defense and in order to guard their eggs. Though these bites are only a defense mechanism, they are the most toxic spider bites in America. A female black widow's venom is 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake's venom, enough to immobilize larger prey.

Black widow bites can induce fever, severe pain, sweating, increased blood pressure, and nausea. The elderly and young children are most at risk for severe reactions to black widow bites. In rare cases, poisoning can lead to death. Though fatalities aren't likely, seek medical treatment quickly if bitten to prevent further complications.

How Do I Get Rid Of Black Widow Spiders?

If you spot a black widow infestation, never attempt to solve this dangerous issue alone. Contact Prosite Pest Control's professional technicians to safely eliminate black widows from your home without any harm to people or pets. We understand the stress that these pests can create, and that's why we use the safest, non-toxic, eco-friendly methods of eliminating black widows so you can get back to enjoying your home. Contact us today to learn how we can help!

How Do I Prevent Problems With Black Widow Spiders?

As black widows are the wallflowers at the party, they'll always be looking for a place to hide and feed. A crucial step to prevent black widows is first to ensure that you're wearing gloves when moving any items and shake out your shoes and clothing before wearing them.

Here are some tips you should start using around your home immediately to keep black widow activity to a minimum:

  • Ensure that your home's exterior is tidy by cutting tall grass, removing any firewood or debris.

  • Contact us to take care of the interior's other pest issues (such as flies, ants, and other pests) to eliminate black widow spiders' food sources.

  • Declutter your home's interior and exterior.

  • Seal cracks in walls, around utilities (wire, ducts, pipes, and air conditioners), around windows and doors, and your home's foundation.

  • Remove spider webs regularly.

  • Install door sweeps beneath all doors leading to the exterior, particularly basement doors.

  • Close windows and doors as often as possible.

As always, the best way to keep yourself protected against problematic pests in your Washington home is through a professional pest treatment program administered by a licensed and certified pest control provider.

At Prosite Pest Control, our team knows black widow spiders and their behavior well. If you have started seeing black widow spiders around your home, or are worried that other pests in the area could be attracting them, don’t wait: contact the professionals here at Prosite for help.


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