Pest Facts: Black Widow Spiders

Black Widow Spiders

Black Widow Spiders (Lactrodectus mactans)

Color:Black, with characteristic red "hourglass" on back
Legs:Eight
Shape:Round
Size:3/4" length; 3/8" in diameter
Antennae:No
Flight:No

The black widow spider can be found in all 50 states, though they are more prevalent in southern states.

Black widows are named for their habit of killing males after mating, although recent studies show that not all species do this.

Habits
Black widow spiders spin webs close to the ground to trap prey. Females are easily identified by a red hourglass mark under their abdomen on an otherwise all black body.

Habitat
Black widow spiders string webs anywhere that is usually undisturbed, including the inside of homes. Wood piles are a favorite place and they can easily be brought inside the house with firewood.

Threats
The black widow spider is extremely venomous and will bite humans. The venom is very potent and can cause severe pain but usually does not result in death except in very young children and the elderly.

Prevention
Reduce piles of rubbage near your home. Keep weeds and grasses trimmed. Do not bring anything that has been stored outdoors inside without checking it first. Black widow spiders bite when they are disturbed. Contact a professional pest control agency if you find black widow spiders.

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