Pest of the Month: Black Widow Spider
29 Apr 2015
The black widow spider is one of the most feared spiders in the United States. This is primarily because of the known pain caused by its bite. Learn more about the black widow spider, how it infests homes, and what you can do to keep them out.
One of the most recognized spiders, the black widow, can be identified by the red hourglass shape on their stomachs. Besides this marking they are black and shiny in color. In most cases, the male is much smaller than their female counterparts, usually reaching only half the size. Despite this, the male black widow’s legs are much longer than the female’s, and have an orangish coloring of the joints. The male doesn’t not have the same striking hourglass marking that the females do have.
The bite of a black widow while painful is very rarely fatal. It is generally only those who already have weaker immune systems that seriously suffer. Their webs can be identified by the scaffolding appearance, often near the ground. In most cases, these webs will be built among items they feel can better protect them. This includes firewood piles, boxes in the basement, and other rarely disturbed places.
In most situations, a spider bite will happen when people pick something up a black widow is hiding behind or near. The black widow loves to spin her web in places that aren’t visited frequently by people, but see heavy insect traffic. When camping be sure to look under outhouse toilet seats as this is a common place for their webs.
Controlling Black Widows Around Your Home
Before it gets to the point where you need serious help with your black widow problem, you can take steps to prevent them from infesting. Follow these steps to control the black widow population in and around your home:
Reduce the clutter. Black widows love to find those little visited places of your basement and make them a home. Clean up your basement, removing unnecessary clutter.
Keep storage away from the walls. This gives less of a chance for spiders to build their nests around these boxes.
Wear gloves when working in the garage. This is especially important if you haven’t worked in the garage for a while. Protect your hands from bites when moving things that haven’t been touched for a few months.
If you see a web, proceed with caution. Look for a spider around the area before trying to get rid of the web, or touching around the area.
If multiple spiders are found, it’s time to call professional pest control. Once the problem has gotten out of hand, call the pest control experts to rid your home of the issue.
For more information on pests in Southern California, check out our other pests of the month.