Identify Black Widow Spiders

January 1st, 2009 by BugGuy

black_widow_spiderMale black widow spiders are sometimes killed by the female black widow after they mate

the most venomous spider in the United States. But how can you tell if it’s a black widow and where do they usually dwell?

Luckily black widow spiders are fairly easy to ID. Mature black widow spiders are usually 1.5 inches long (about the size of a small paperclip) and .25 inches wide. Their bodies are jet black with a distinguishing feature, a red hourglass on the underside of their very round abdomens.

What most people don’t realize is that the name black widow is actually a general name for a group of spiders that include the western black widow, the northern black widow and the southern black widow. But because the three species are very similar it’s common to just refer to any of the three species as just black widow spiders.

The bite of a black widow is said to be 15 times stronger than the venomous bite of a rattlesnake and it’s interesting to note that only the female’s bite is dangerous. Contrary to popular belief only about 1% of black widow spider bites are fatal AND no one has died from a black widow bite in over 10 years. But here are some symptoms of black widow bites:

  • Pain and redness at the bit site
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headache
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • High bloog pressure
  • Weakness and/tremors
  • Sweating

A regular inspection for black widows is often a good idea if the spiders are common in your area. Black widow spiders are often found in dark places such as attics, closets, woodpiles and garages.

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Posted in Black Widow Spiders, Pest Control Orange County, Pest Prevention | 1 Comment »

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  1. Are There Brown Recluse Spiders in California? | Southern California Pest Control Advice Says:

    [...] back in January we wrote a post about black widow spiders; these black and red bodied spiders are probably the first to come to mind when poisonous insects [...]

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