The Black Widow is arguably one of the most recognizable spiders. For decades and still today, the black widow is a cause of fear for many. What is it about this spider that sets it apart from the others?
When you hear the words “black widow” the image that comes to most minds is actually the female black widow. Some may not know it, but it is the female that has the famous shiny black bulbous body, with a bright red or orange hour glass shape on the abdomen. It is the iconic hour glass shape that makes this particular spider easy to identify. Black widows are also different in the way of their webs. Black widows do not contstruct “beautiful” intricate webs like many other spiders. Instead their webs look like a tangled jumbled mess and irregular in shape. Don’t let the messy look fool you though, the black widows web is actually constructed carefully with strong thread and still works great for trapping prey.
Black widows are solitary, meaning they like being alone only socialising when mating. Mating for the black widow is during spring and early summer. Black widow egg sacs are typically white, sometimes gray in color and each egg sack can contain 200-400 spiderlings! A common misconception about black widows is that females kill and eat the male right after mating. This is not always the true. In most cases she will not kill him and he will be on his way.
As mentioned before, black widows are solitary and like to stay that way. They prefer dark areas that won’t be disturbed such as a dark corner in a garage or closet, wood/rocks piles even shoes that have been setting untouched for a while. Black widows are not the type to start a fight, these spiders are actually docile and only attack/bite if they feel they or their egg sac are in serious danger. The majoraity of the time when people are bit they are unware of the black widow in the first place, such as putting on a pair of shoes or placing their hand near the egg sac in a pile of wood. Black widows are poisonous but do not always inject the venom with every bite, they save the precious venom for extreme threats.
When ever you are dealing with spider control its important to know what your dealing with. If you are unsure or are unable to identify the spider you should contact your pest management for advise or to handle the problem for you.