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Black Widow Spiders

What do black widow spiders look like?

black widow spider hanging from a web outside a streator home

Adult black widow spiders range in length from 1 1/2 to 1 3/8th inches; males are usually about half the size of females. Males also have longer legs in proportion to their bodies than the females do; and their legs have orange or brown markings at the joints. Black widow spiders are shiny black, have a distinctive red hourglass-like marking on their backs, and may have light red or white spots on their abdomens. Black widow spiders, like all spider species have four pair of legs.

Where are black widow spiders found?

Black widow spiders prefer to live outside; females build their webs in spaces found between logs, rocks, near foundations, and in quiet outbuildings. They may enter homes through gaps around windows and doors and through cracks in the foundation or exterior walls. Black widow spiders are very shy and reclusive; and once inside a home, they like to hide in low traffic or undisturbed areas like closets, the corners of basements, crawl spaces, and underneath furniture and chairs.

Male black widow spiders do not build webs; but females create large irregularly shaped webs that they rarely leave. She waits for prey to come to her. Inside the web, the females create a small funnel like structure that they retreat inside when they get scared.

What do black widow spiders eat?

Black widow spiders feed on insects. They use their venom to paralyze and kill their prey. Then they inject a special fluid into the insect that lets the spider suck out the now liquid insides of their prey.

Only females are venomous; the males are not. A bite from a black widow spider generally only happens if a person accidentally makes direct contact with the spider - like putting on a shoe or article of clothing that they are hiding in. The venom affects a person’s nervous system; and while serious, a bite rarely leads to death. The symptoms can generally be managed by medical professionals until they go away.

DIY black widow spider prevention and control tips

The following steps can help to prevent black widow spiders from taking up residence in or near your home.

  • Sealing cracks and crevices in your home’s foundation.

  • Installing door sweeps, caulking around windows and doors, and repairing or replacing screens in windows and doors.

  • Placing woodpiles a distance away from the exterior of your home.

  • Getting rid of tall grasses and vegetation that is growing by your home’s foundation.

  • Making sure that doors on sheds and garages are closed when they aren’t being used.

  • Keeping clutter to a minimum in storage areas.

  • Shaking out clothing and shoes before putting them on.

Professional black widow spider control

If you’ve discovered black widows in your home or business, contact Quik-Kill Pest Eliminators. Our pest control technicians are highly trained and well-versed in eliminating and preventing spider infestations.

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