Black Widow Spiders are considered one of the most venomous spiders in North America. Their venom has been reported to be 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake’s. However, their bite isn’t deadly because only a small bit of venom is injected during the bite. Luckily, they usually try to escape instead of bite and only bite in times of desperation or protection of their eggs. No matter the spider though, no one likes to have the nasty critters within their homes. With the help of your local pest control company, Star Pest Control can have your home protected in no time.
Black Widow Habits
Female black widows are easily recognizable with their dark black body and the infamous red hourglass on their abdomen. This bright marking is a warning to potential prey that she is toxic. The male widow spiders are actually harmless and about half the size of the females. Their bodies are marked with yellow and red bands with spots on their backs. Females will often eat the males after mating with them, hence the dubbed name of “widow”. Females can live up to three years and the males typically only live around a month or two.
The venom in the black widow bite is toxic to the nervous system. Depending on the person and their age and weight, they may react differently to the black widow bite. The first sign is slight swelling where you were bitten. After about three hours or so, the bite site can become more painful. Common reactions are:
- Overall body ache (particularly in the legs)
- Alternating salivation and dry-mouth
- Paralysis of the diaphragm
- Profuse sweating
- Swollen eyelids
- Elevated blood pressure
In most cases, these symptoms will disappear in two or three days. However, it is advised that the victim of black widow bite should go to the doctor immediately for assessment and any needed treatment. Clean the site of the bite with soap and water. You can apply a cool compress and keep the site elevated if possible. Aspirin or Tylenol can help alleviate minor symptoms.
Black widow spiders like to hang out on the underside of ledges, plants, and debris; basically wherever a web can be strung and not be bothered. They prefer dark and dry shelters in temperate weather. During colder weather, they will migrate to the indoors. Inside of garages and basements are some of their favorite places to be. They also are attracted to clutter to help hide as well as hunting grounds for prey. The female will rarely leave her web awaiting her prey and is often found hanging upside down. She will stay close to her egg mass and defends it ferociously by biting anything to disturb her egg sac. Each egg sac can hold anywhere from 25 to 750 or more eggs! The incubation period for the eggs is 20-30 days. The babies will be fully grown in two to three months. Only a few survive to adulthood because the baby spiders are cannibalistic and survive off of each other.
Black Widow Control
The best action to take against black widow spiders is to have your home professional sprayed against them. Professionals use high-quality pest control products and ensure proper distribution of the sprays. There are things that you yourself can also do at home to help protect against black widow spiders. Remove clutter and materials that would attract the spiders to build a home there. Frequently dust and vacuum around windows, corners and under furniture. Use your vacuum to remove webs, spiders and their egg sacs. Make sure to always wear gloves when handling firewood, debris and other materials where the black widow spider could be hiding. Keep weeds and plants trimmed around your building foundation to discourage insects and spiders to make homes there. Seal your home openings by installing screens and door sweeps to help prevent against the black widow spiders from entering.
Again, the best defense against black widow spider’s is to hire a professional to come to your home and spray. Professionals are licensed to use much more heavy duty sprays than what is available to you on the market. These sprays do not leave behind harmful residue and are very effective. It is best to call your local professionals to have them come to your home during the Spring season when the spiders start to become active again.