Pest Guide for Black Widow Spiders
There are more than 30 species of black widow spiders worldwide, and three of them can be found in North America: the northern widow, the southern widow, and the western widow. While these spiders are fascinating, they’re also dangerous, and we encourage you to call our pest control company right away if you find an infestation in your home or office.
Black widow spiders (specifically females) are one of the most recognized spiders due to their unique markings. These spiders are a shiny black color with bulbous bodies and are known for the bright red hourglass-like mark on the underside of their abdomen. While female black widows grow to about 1.5 inches long, males only grow to about half that size and have red dots and white or yellow lines on the top of the abdomen.
While the female black widow spider is considered one of the most venomous spiders in North America, her bite rarely causes fatality in humans. When a person is bit, he/she is likely to experience burning and swelling in the area followed by nausea, muscle cramps, sweating, and/or chills, but a bite can be easily treated by a professional.
Habitat & Diet
While black widow spiders can be found throughout the world, they thrive in temperate zones like those of the South. Outdoors, they can be found in woodpiles, rock piles, under fallen branches, tree stumps, and in other sheltered areas. If a black widow makes it into your home, you’ll likely find it in a sheltered, dimly lit area like your garage, basement, attic, closet, behind furniture, or in another dark space.
Black widow spiders favor a diet of flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, and other small insects, but will occasionally feed on lizards, scorpions, or mice if they become trapped in their webs.
One of the last types of infestations you’d want is a black widow infestation. Luckily, these spiders tend to stay outside. But if they make it into your home, there are really only two signs of their presence: the spiders themselves and their webs.
To prevent black widows in your home or office, follow these tips:
- Inspect your firewood before bringing it into the house.
- Wear gloves when gardening and when handling straw, wood, or brush.
- Frequently vacuum and dust behind furniture, in room corners, and in other dark areas.
- Seal any cracks or holes around windows, doors, and other entry points.
- Eliminate any piles of leaves or debris near your home.
If you do discover an influx of black widow spiders in your home, don’t hesitate to call our pest control professionals. We’ll get rid of the problem quickly and safely so you won’t have to worry.