Bug Feature: Black Widow

You probably recognize the tell-tale red hourglass these gals carry around but keep reading to find out more about the behaviors and habitat of these creepy crawlers.

Characteristics

Size can vary depending upon the species and gender of the spider. Generally, size is anywhere from 1/8th of an inch to 1.5 inches in length. Well-known for their black body and  bright red underbelly hourglass, these spiders can also be dark brown with an orange underbelly hourglass as well. On average, the spider's lifespan is one to three years.

Behavior and Habitat

Black widow spiders prefer isolated areas inside your home or out. If you see messy or irregular webs, this could be the black widow’s home. Often, they spin their webs at night and near the ground. If you spot one in the web, it will most likely be hanging upside down.

Every state in the United States, excluding Alaska, has this spider. Their bite is alarmingly poisonous, 15x stronger than a rattlesnake's bite to be exact. The most likely victims are other insects and male black widows, as their name implies.

Outside areas such as firewood piles, barns, and sheds are their common homes. You may also see these spiders in cluttered areas of your home such as a garage or crawl space.

Tips to Prevent Black Widows in Your Home

Organize items that are not used regularly (link to article) in storage bins or airtight bags. Removing clutter, such as cardboard and old paper, prevents spiders from having a secluded area in which to live.

If you store firewood, ensure that piles are at least twenty feet away from your home. Stack piles on racks or structures to keep them at least five inches off the ground.

Interested in learning more about spiders and other creepy crawlies? Head over to the learning center where you can find more information about the pests that are commonly found in our local area.