What are black widow spiders?

Black widow spiders (genus Latrodectus) appear in five species, the most common being the northern black widow (a row of red spots under the abdomen) and the southern black widow (a red hourglass under the abdomen). Black widow spiders are black, round, thick, shiny, and lack antennae. These spiders 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). Male black widow spiders live roughly one to two months, and females can survive for up to three years.

Why do I have a problem with black widow spiders?

Black widows are shy, socializing only during copulation. However, they may pay you a visit when there's food nearby. They tend to hang around 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 open 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, corners, closets, firewood, other cluttered areas, or near boxes. These spiders tend to remain solitary, hiding out of sight 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. Their powerful, venomous bite makes black widows one of the most infamous and feared spiders in Central Washington.

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 from a black widow bite 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's professional technicians to safely eliminate black widows from your home without any harm to you, your family, or your 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 more about our pest control plans for Ellensburg, WA and the surrounding area and 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 useful black widow spider control 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 and your home protected against the problematic pests in Washington is through a professional pest control treatment program administered by a licensed and certified pest control provider.

At Prosite, 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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