The sight of any spider can strike fear in a large portion of the population. However, the appearance of a black widow spider seems to have an increased effect that strikes individuals with sheer and visible terror. Though this fear isn’t without good reason as the venom of a black widow spider is nearly 15 times as toxic as that of a prairie rattlesnake.
It is commonly believed that all black widow spiders are dangerous to humans. However, male and juveniles of the species are harmless. The female black widow is the only one capable of injecting deadly venom into its victim. The most recently gathered statistics show human mortality rates due to black widow spider bites are well below 1%.
Black Widow Spider Appearance
Female black widow spiders are characterized by their dark abdomen with a reddish hourglass pattern found on their underside. Generally, the females of this species will measure around a half an inch long, while males are around half that size with a smaller abdomen and longer legs. Both genders have shiny, rounded black abdomens but can sometimes take on a brownish hue.
Black widow spiderlings will have a white tone when first hatched. Over time, these spiderlings will gradually take on a darker color with each molt. When in the juvenile stage, black widow spiders will exhibit yellow or red bands and spots across their abdomen until growing into an adult spider.
Black Widow Spider Prevention Methods
Black widow spiders are nocturnal and likely won’t be active or readily visible during periods of daylight. However, there are methods that can be utilized to help ensure black widows don’t take up residence in, or around, your home. Here are some ways to keep your home safe from spiders:
- Repair Cracks – The main entry point into a home for spiders is through cracks or holes that can be found in doorways, window screens or the foundation. It is important to replace damaged screens as needed and caulk any cracks that are found. This can help prevent spider entry points.
- Remove Clutter – Black widow spiders will usually utilize cluttered areas for the food sources and shelter they provide. Indoors, keep the home clean and vacuumed to remove hiding spots. Outdoors, move wood piles away from your home and clear any rubbish piles that may exist.
- Limit Lighting – Outdoor lighting can attract a wide variety of insects that are considered prey to black widow spiders. If your outdoor lighting attracts these bugs, black widows and other spiders won’t be far behind. Utilizing yellow lights outdoors can help cut back insect accumulation.
- Pretreatment – There are many different options homeowners can utilize to keep spiders and other bugs from arriving at their home. Professional pest control companies, like The Pied Piper, offer pretreatment options to help decrease the risk of insect and spider infestation. We can help keep your home pest free!
Spider Control and Removal
Removing a black widow spider on your own can be incredibly dangerous. For this reason, it is recommended that homeowners utilize the services of a professional pest control provider when these spiders are located in or around your home. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us today!