Are you feeling a little bit creeped out just by reading this title? You’re not alone! Black Widows are one of most dreaded spiders in homes around the world – but don’t panic yet. While it is important to be aware of this spider’s presence and take steps to protect your friends, pets and family, there are lots of things you can do to minimize the risk of it taking up residence in your home.
Many of us are familiar with the Black Widow’s red hourglass on the abdomen, but the males sometimes also have a red and white stripe; this allows them to display more of their pattern. Females can grow up to half an inch in size, while males usually max out just more than a quarter of an inch. While the females are larger, the males have longer legs.
Where to find Black Widows
Outside, the Black Widow prefers to live in dark areas, such as woodpiles, crevices, under tables or in dark corners. Indoors, they can be found in places that receive little light, such as basements, closets, and garages; areas that are usually cluttered. Although they are nocturnal, they will come out during the day to spin their web.
In the summer, females can produce egg sacks up to half an inch in diameter, which contains hundreds of eggs. Only a few eggs survive hatching because the species is cannibalistic and the spiderlings will feed off each other. Once they’re grown, they can last several months without eating.
Black Widows do not damage plants or housing materials. A bite from this venomous spider can lead to body aches, dry mouth, sweating, swollen eyelids, paralysis, headaches, nausea and high blood pressure, among other ailments. Anyone bitten by a Black Widow should seek medical attention immediately. Their webs are generally messy and near the ground or under ledges that can provide protection.
Control and Elimination
Make your home unattractive to Black Widows by removing materials they may find ideal for protection and a habitat. Keep the garage and outdoor areas clean and free of debris when possible; remove clutter from around windows, doors, vents, corners, closets and other areas. Using caulk, seal entries and cracks around doors and windows to prevent them from entering the home.
If you see a Black Widow, smash it immediately; however, if there is an egg sac, vacuum the spider and then quickly dispose of the debris.
If you suspect a Black Widow problem, the experts at United Pest and Turf Control are not afraid to manage the situation. They’re trained to identify Black Widow habitats and can offer treatment and suggestions to remove the pest from the home or property.