Just the mention of the Black Widow Spider causes chills for many people. This spider from the Latrodectus family is famous for the deadly venom black widow bites carries.
From our youth, it’s drilled into our heads, to stay away from a black spider with red hourglass! These spiders are not generally fatal, particularly to grown-ups. Actually, they infuse just a little measure of venom.
Generally, this spider bites to escape, instead of taking a nibble. It might nip to safeguard its eggs or if cornered or squeezed. Time and again, the female spider eats the male black widow after mating, thus acquiring the name ‘widow’.
What Does The Black Widow Spider Look Like?
The shiny black color and hourglass red marking on the underside of their abdomen makes one of the most venomous species of spiders – Black Widow for easy identification.
How big do black widows get?
Most times, the Black Widow Spider’s body ranges from .5 to 1.5 inches size; females are bigger than male spiders. The male spiders are brown in color and a bit smaller than the females.
Males also appear a light chestnut or gray with light stripes over the back. The hourglass shape on males is slightly ill-defined and more orange or yellow compared with the female. They also have longer legs in connection with their belly.
Black widows weave their web in an abstract shape and size, which looks irregular compared to the webs of regular house spiders. They also build their webs very low and near to the ground level.
Where Do Black Widow Spiders Live?
Black widows loves dim, confined zones; for example, cracks in the floor and stacks of wood. Inside the home, these poisonous spiders normally hide away in protected, faintly lit areas; for example;
- Dim corners
- Storage rooms or basements
- Messy places (a good reason to stay organized)
They flourish essentially in calm zones.
Did you Know? Black widow spider bite is very dangerous, they are considered the most venomous spiders in North America. (source)
A Poisonous Spiders Lifestyle and Life Cycle
Active during nighttime Black widows spin their web in the daytime. Seen hanging upside down, from their web, they uncover their splendid red hourglass, signaling a threat to predators and aggressors.
The food source of black widow spiders incorporates an assortment of ants, flies, caterpillars, grasshoppers, scarabs, mosquitoes, beetles, cockroaches, and scorpions, among others. Like most arachnids, black widows can live without sustenance for up to one year.
“To feed, black widows puncture their insects prey with their fangs and administer digestive enzymes to the corpses. By using these enzymes, and their gnashing fangs, the spiders liquefy their prey’s bodies and suck up the resulting fluid.” [source]
The “comb feet” is a unique feature of the black widow spider. This line of solid, bent bristles situated on the rear pair of legs they utilize to cover their caught prey with silk.
Female black widows sometimes kill the male spiders after mating. Scientists theorize this provides the female with protein to benefit the young.
The white, tan or gray egg sacs, have a paper-like composition and contain 200-900 eggs. The eggs hatch after about 30 days and take 3 months for the young to become adults. However, due to their cannibalistic behavior few baby black widows make it to adulthood.
How To Get Rid Of Black Widows Spiders
Here’s how to kill a black widow.
- To get rid of spider infestation, start off with cleaning the yard. Remove the clutter, leaves, debris, grass cuttings, wooden piles etc.
- Black widow spiders hate sunlight and love dark places, hidden from the light. Clear areas in your garden and yard, allowing sunlight to fall on the ground and serve as a natural black widow repellent.
- Remove ground covering such as herbs and shrubs as much as possible; favorite spots for black widows to dwell.
- Identify all the cracks or holes in the exterior walls, ground and pathways. These could be a potential home for these poisonous spiders.
- Foundation vents can lead black widow spiders inside your home. Cover these vents with insect guard mesh.
- These spiders operate alone; it is always best to kill them or physically remove them immediately after spotting.
- You can use any commercially available pesticides, specially designed for spiders, to get rid of them.
- Sprinkle some boric acid in darker areas of the house. Boric acid acts as a residual insecticide to help eliminate these spiders.
- Keep surroundings clutter free so they cannot find basements to hide.
- Frequently, treat the surroundings of your home with good pesticide.
- Use sticky traps in darker areas to catch the spiders.
- Use organic pesticides and insecticides for gardens and surroundings.
- If you spot a black widow spider, try not to disturb it, but do not leave the process of killing it unfinished. Plan carefully and take the steps to eliminate the black widow. Always ensure the insects are dead. Use a container (half cut plastic bottles) to trap the spider and spray with a pesticide to kill it.
- If nothing works, call your local pest control service and get their help.
- You can use vacuum cleaners to remove the spider webs and egg sacks of black widow spiders.
- Food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) does a good job of eliminating household pests including brown recluse spiders, ground spiders, sac spiders, hobo spiders, western widow and more.
Whether you live on the west coast in a newer house, or you’re living in the midwest in an older home, nobody likes spiders. Especially when these are the infamous and venomous black widow spider.
As with most “pests” removing the food supply and living conditions goes a long way to control, them..
The last tip using the vacuum cleaner does seem to be little strange… eliminate the food source and living environment for spider control, makes sense. Funny… that advice solves many home and garden pests problems!
With this information, you should be able to identify and take proper measures for getting rid of spiders – the black widow.