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Black Widow spiders

by The Bug Doctor

bwidow Black Widow spiders

A call came in today, “spiders come quick”. We sent out our tech and sure enough it was the dreaded Black Widow. The home had been vacant for some time and the new owner was remodeling with a plan to resell but he was going to live there in the time it took to fix up the place. Mind you this man is a professional motorcycle road racer, scuba diver, avid pilot and deals with 1000 pound animals on a daily basis for his job. But his knees sorta buckled when it came down to a tiny spider that didn’t even weigh 1/2 of an ounce. The Black Widow is a terrifying pest indeed and all totaled we did kill 20 or more around his home. Is our fear of Black Widows another product of misunderstanding?

Facts of the Black Widow

Not an insect and as such most residual sprays and treatment techniques fall short for their control long term.
Her bite can be some 15 times more poisonous that a Prairie Rattle Snake. Rarely does a Black Widow bite kill humans.

She lays 300 to 400 eggs—-the spider lings are not poisonous but they are cannibals.

Not a hunting spider she hides in dark moist places and her web is usually a mess with entangled debris.

Not always black. Some can be tanish or even a camo version.

Yes she sometimes kills her male counterpart after mating. (That’s how she got her name).

Where do Black Widow spiders live

Black Widows spiders are almost always found in undisturbed areas. That doesn’t always mean way up in the attic in the farthest hard to reach corner. On the contrary you probably pass a Black Widow spider everyday in your daily travel. This just means areas that things aren’t moved around a lot or in areas that are hard to access. Common areas include; garage door jams, under rails of porch rails, frame work of pool enclosures, under patio furniture, in the lips of flower vases, storage on shelving, etc. The list goes on but basically these spiders will set up shop where bugs frequent but will rarely be in plain sight. The widows nest is not a thing of beauty. It’s a very messy web that collects leaves and debris. Usually it will descend outward away from her resting spot with several ‘trip lines’ that intersect with an insects likely path of travel. Once a bug brushes up against the ‘line’ she goes into action. The bug may become entangled which makes her job easier. However this vixen is able to swoop down and actually lasso this meal with her web.  The widow uses this technique quite effectively against scorpions. Her eggs are almost always up in or real near her resting area. She spins an extra thick sheet of webbing to create a chamer where she’ll spend most of her time waiting for her next meal.

Fortunately, to kill the Black Widow almost any aerosol will do. Raid, wasp freeze, pyrethrins,HPX Invader, CB 40 or some other brand most—-However—-If you get to close or don’t aim right you may just make her mad. Liquid insecticides in a pump up sprayer will get her as well and you may be able to spray from a greater distance. Most times  the widow will come out from seclusion dance a bit and die. Give it some time before you venture back to investigate and try to then smash the widow with a stick, golf club, you get the idea. By doing so you reduce any chance of getting bit. Her eggs are white silk like balls sometimes with ’spikes’ around the perimeter. You’ll want to sweep those down and smash them as well.

blackwidowspider small Black Widow spiders
Black widow with egg sac

Check carefully for any other widow activity and repeat the process or do the smart thing and call your professional ‘Bug Man’ out to rid you of this spider. That way you’ll have more time to plan your next sky diving adventure.

Spider Ebook Image Black Widow spidersThe truth about Americas most deadly spiders” is a free e-book which you can choose to download and read at your leisure. Simply sign up for my also free newsletter and it’s your to keep. This is the first of many detailed writings that I have planned and I truly hope that you’ll enjoy it and use the information to keep your home spider free. If you missed the sign up box when you logged onto my site simply fill out the newsletter request form at the right of this page and shoot me an e-mail and I’ll get it right to you.

Information is a powerful thing and I hope together we can put to rest any undue arachnophobia’s.

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  • Jimmy

    How can one effectively kill the eggs still in the sacs?

  • Jimmy

    How can one effectively kill the eggs still in the sacs?

  • The Bug Doctor

    Jimmy,
    The best way is to smash them with a broom or something similar. You could drown them with aerosol insecticide but that isn’t really smart and a waste of good product.
    Be careful and make sure momma is long gone (dead) before you mess with em.

    Thanks for reading
    The Bug Doctor

  • The Bug Doctor

    Jimmy,
    The best way is to smash them with a broom or something similar. You could drown them with aerosol insecticide but that isn’t really smart and a waste of good product.
    Be careful and make sure momma is long gone (dead) before you mess with em.

    Thanks for reading
    The Bug Doctor

  • Edsuek

    I just found out we havew a 5000 sq ft shed fullof Black Widows. We are moving to missouri from our now Florida home and I sure do not want to move them with us. All my husbands tools are covered with nests and yes I have seen the mother very close to the nests. In that large of an area what do I do to make sure I get rid of them all. I mean the best sprays. Will they jump at me like I have been told. I am so scared of spiders its not funny. My husband recently was unemployed so it is not that I can call some one to take this job. Money is tight so I have no chose but to take this in my hands. Tell me the safest way to do this and keep them away until we are out of here. We have had some cols weather but not enough to kill them. Help please. Thanks
    Sue

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    Hey Sue,
    The black widow will NOT jump at you but care should still be taken. This might be one time where I’d recommend a can of fogger. This will get some and make it safer for you to get in there. Then with gloves and long sleeves start taking a broom to the webs you can. Start removing items that are ‘cleared’ but have a can of Raid handy when you see one. My guess is that you won’t find as many as you think–you’ll probably find some funnel spiders and the like as well but most spiders will retreat.. This said take care and go slow making sure each item is spider free until the shed is empty.

    Hey send a pic of the melee, I’ll put it on a post of what can happen when spiders take over. It’ll be a fond memory of your Florida home. ;)

  • Sdawg4343

    if you freeze A black widow spider… why does the hour class disapper? can some one tell me please

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    I’ve never heard of such a thing- I’d try that experiment for myself but I think my wife would hit the roof! :)

  • Mrs,g

    I have killed many living in our patio furniture in our screened in patio… Is there a way to keep them from living there?

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    They get in when they are so small so it’s very difficult. I too get them in the same places on my pool furniture when I let it go to long. The best thing is to inspect the underside of your patio furnishings once per month and zap em with Raid or other aerosol as you see them. Be careful and I’d wear some gloves while turning chairs etc. over. Sorry that’s about all you can do as it’s difficult to have any lasting product residual that will kill them outdoors like that.

  • nathaniel80

    i have seen 4 of these in the last 2 days near and on my bed so im just wondering when these spiders lay eggs how many do they lay and what should i do about them being near my bed

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    There are a lot of eggs but I hesitate to say cause i don’t want to scare you… The egg sacs would be at the nest site so I would go on a search and destroy mission (or hire someone) and that should be good for reducing any new babies… but you say you’ve seen 4 and I can only guess you’ve seen adults. There’s probably a reason for that like an open window, plants brought in or some other common denominator. BW’s don’t run hunt once set up so it isn’t like they should be crawling all over the place. Look for the nest and that’s where you’ll find them

  • Benjamin Poole

    You are a bug doctor and you don’t even realize that two of the pictures above do not represent black widows?! Try brown widows, and they are not painful or toxic to humans. Thanks.

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    I suppose you’re referring to the “lighter” colored” spider in pics.. L. geometricus is slightly smaller and generally lighter in color than the black widow species; BUT the color can range from tan to dark brown to black, with shades of grey also possible…Black widows as well are not always Black–there are even camouflaged…. Try not to limit yourself to text books or cursory readings.you’ll be fooled more times than you can count……also, I wouldn’t suggest being bitten by either one….you might find out they are both painful and toxic–

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