What To Know
Black widows are the largest of the web-spinning spiders are shiny black, 3-10 mm in size with long thin legs, and have a red hourglass shape on their abdomen. They get their nickname because in certain species the female consumes the male right after mating to use as a source of nutrients for egg fertilization of eggs. Black widows have what is known as a “comb foot” with little curved bristles used to pitch silk after capturing prey.
Shy, nocturnal creatures, they are usually found alone except during mating. Black widows spin their webs during daylight and tend to hang upside down in them. They prefer to eat insects such as flies, mosquitos, locusts, grasshoppers, ants, caterpillars, beetles, and roaches – even scorpions. After their prey is captured they inject it with enzymes that soften and liquefy it before consumption and they can survive months without food.
Black widows move indoors in the winter seeking warmth. They can hitch a ride on firewood or just wander in. They like dry, dark areas that are well protected and spin large, irregularly shaped webs usually located near the ground level. Look for their white, tan, or grey tightly woven silken egg sacs in stored materials inside garages, under ledges, and beneath stones and outdoor debris like woodpiles. Indoors, black widow spiders also like to hide in dark corners and crevices, closets, basements, and among cluttered areas in your home.
Black widows live an average of 180 days and females can produce up to 9 egg sacs with 350 eggs per sac. That is over 3100 black widow spiderlings in her lifetime! It is important to note that the bite of a female black widow spider can be very dangerous to humans. They inject a neurotoxin that can be serious and potentially fatal so it is crucial to avoid confrontation and to get rid of spiders and egg sacs quickly.
What To Look For
- Large, messy, irregular-shaped webs in dark, secluded areas near the ground level (under wood piles, protected ledges, or in hidden crevices)
- A telltale red hourglass shape on the abdomen
- Tightly woven silken white, tan, or grey egg sacs
- Spiders and sacs in piles of firewood brought indoors
- White and orange spiderlings
What To Do
Call the professionals @ My Pest Control: (303) 343-1701