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.

Black widow with egg sac
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.

The 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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About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.
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