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4 Interesting Facts About the Black Widow Spider

Black Widow
Spiders' creepy, crawly nature gives them the ability to enter your home through the smallest cracks and holes. They can potentially bite you, and in many instances, they can be poisonous. Because of these traits, it is easy to see why so many people have a fear of spiders with the black widow being the most feared of them all.
Even though it is a common pest, most people are not really familiar with the black widow spider. Without a good understanding, you will not be able to identify and prevent these spiders from your home and yard. With this guide and the help of your pest control professional, you will learn a few interesting facts about the black widow spider.

1. Their Appearance Is Unique

As the name suggests, black widows are usually black in color. But depending on the region, black widows may have brown or red bodies, as well. Most black widows measure around 1.5 inches in length with a body diameter of .25 inches.
Black widow spiders are famous for the hourglass-shaped marking on their abdomen, which is what sets them apart from other spiders. This marking is usually red, dark orange, or reddish brown. The hourglass shape is very prominent against the black or dark brown body of the black widow, so it should be easy to notice.

2. Yes, They Bite

Like other spiders, black widows spin webs that are used to lay eggs and catch prey. Mosquitoes, beetles, moths, grasshoppers, caterpillars, butterflies, and other spiders are all appealing food sources for black widows. Once trapped in the web, the black widow spins an additional layer of silk over their prey to trap it in place indefinitely.
When it is time to feed, the spiders use their fangs to bite, administering digestive acids into their prey. These acids liquefy their prey, which makes them easy to consume by sucking the fluid up.
Of course, you are most likely more concerned with how a black widow will react to you. Fortunately, these spiders do not go on hunts in an attempt to catch and kill humans, but they will bite you if they feel threatened or disturbed in any way.

3. They Don't Necessarily Kill

National Geographic considers the black widow the most venomous spider in North America. The venom of a black widow can be 15 times stronger than the venom of a rattlesnake.
While they can bite you, black widow venom won't necessarily kill you as long as you take the proper steps. If you are bitten by a black widow, it's important to remain calm. Panicking will only make the situation more stressful.
You may feel slight pain around the bite site. As the spider's venom spreads, pain may become more severe. Most symptoms are noticeable within 20 minutes to one hour after the bite. Here are a few symptoms that may occur:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dizziness/fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate/high blood pressure
Whether or not you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms, you should visit a hospital emergency room if bitten by a black widow spider. Call 911 if you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as chest pain and difficulty breathing, which can be life-threatening.

4. Prevention Is Possible

Prevention is your best weapon against protecting your home and family from black widows. To make your home and yard less appealing to these spiders and other pests, remove any clutter and debris that can be attractive spaces for hiding and creating nests.
Also, your pest control technician may suggest applying an insecticide to the perimeter of your home and yard. This application repels black widows, ensuring that they don't come in close contact with your family. 
For more information on black widow spiders and for help preventing these insects from your home, contact Bob's Community Pest Control today.