Pest Library - Black Widow Spider


Black Widow SpiderThe female Black Widow is shiny black, usually with a reddish hourglass shape on the underside of her spherical abdomen. Her body is about 1.5 inches long. Adult males are harmless, about half the female's size, with smaller bodies, longer legs and usually have yellow and red bands and spots over the back as do the immature stages.



Both Western and Eastern Black Widows spin webs that lack shape and form. Their webs are erratic in appearance, and the silk is stronger than almost all other arachnids. The black widow spider is shy and nocturnal in habit, usually staying hidden in her web., hanging belly upward. Although not aggressive, she may rush out and bite when her web is disturbed or when accidentally trapped in clothing or shoes.



On the underside of ledges, rocks, plants and debris, wherever a web can be strung. Cold weather and drought may drive these spiders into buildings.


Be very careful when working around areas where black widow spiders may be established. Take proper precautions-wear gloves and pay attention to where you are working. The reaction to a Black widow bite can be painful, and the victim should go to the doctor immediately for treatment.


To control the black widow, carefully remove all materials where they might hide. They can be cleaned out of an area simply by knocking down the webs, spiders, and round, tan egg sacs with a stick and crushing them underfoot. Removal or destruction of the egg sacks may help control the population. This spider is resistant to many insecticides.


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