What You Need to Know About the Black Widow Spider

You’ve probably heard rumors about black widow spiders. They eat their mates. They are extremely venomous. They are deadly pests. Which rumors are true? How dangerous are black widow spiders?

You might also want to know if black widow spiders are likely to be found near your home. Where do black widow spiders live?

Use this quick FAQ guide to find out answers to all these questions and more.

What do they look like?

Male and female black widows have very distinct appearances. While females have shiny black bodies with a red hourglass shape on their abdomens, males are lighter with smaller abdomens. Additionally, females grow to about ½ inch in body length, while males are usually only half this size.

Where do black widow spiders live?

Black widow spiders are found around the world. In the United States, they are mostly found in the West and in the South, so you’re less likely to see them in New England. They usually live in forests, deserts or grasslands, but they also make their way into urban areas. They tend to spin their webs in dark corners both inside and outside of buildings.

What do they eat?

Black widow spiders eat insects and other spiders that get trapped in their webs. They eat mostly climbing and flying insects. Unlike the rumor states, the females do not eat their mates.

When prey get caught in their webs, black widow spiders use a venomous bite to paralyze the prey. They then release digestive enzymes onto the prey and carry it away to eat it.

How many black widow species are there?

There are 31 widow spider species. Five of those species are black widows.

How dangerous is a black widow spider bite?

The venom of a black widow spider is 15 times stronger than rattlesnake venom; however, black widow spider bites deliver far less venom to the victim, so they do not usually pose a serious risk to humans except for the very old and very young.

Typically, the bite feels like a pinprick. Female black widows are much bigger than males, so their bites are more painful. After the bite, the toxin can cause swelling and pain. The effects can include muscle aches, nausea and difficulty breathing. The pain may last up to 12 hours, and other symptoms can last for several days.

What should I do if I encounter black widow spiders?

If you have a pest issue in your home, don’t hesitate to contact pest professionals. These experts have the equipment and knowledge to safely and effectively rid your home of black widow spiders and other invaders.

Spider problems? Call us

Dependable Pest Solutions has been the area’s trusted source for pest control since 2007. We offer fast and safe pest eradication services and maintenance plans at affordable rates. From spiders to wasps to ants and more, our experts are ready to help you get rid of all your unwanted guests. Contact us today at 603-948-2039 with any questions or to schedule your next service.

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