Most household spiders are generally harmless to humans and common pets. There are dangerous spiders in the area, however, and one is a common local spider: the black widow.
A Common Danger: The Black Widow Spider
Black widow spiders are known for the menacing red hourglass shape found on the undersides of their abdomens. They are, as their name suggests, otherwise pitch black, sometimes with lighter or reddish coloration in their leg joints. They hang out in dark areas, though, so it's difficult to notice the signs of a black widow in your home. However, it is helpful to know where these spiders like to hide and what other things you can use to identify them:
Dark places: Black widows prefer dark areas like holes or openings formed by other animals. Not only do these areas hide their black bodies, but black widows are nocturnal creatures, and these environments allow them to lie in wait.
Wooded areas: In nature, black widows prefer dark, wooded environments to spin their webs, so they will look for similar areas in or around a home. Under porches, within woodpiles, and down in basements or garages are common places for them to hide.
Webs: Black widows spin very wide webs that blanket entire corners or gaps to catch as many bugs as possible. Their nesting webs are a bit thicker and more compact, with egg sacs that appear as silken bulbs folded in the center.
Black Widow Bites
The most important thing to know about black widow spiders is that their bites can be extremely dangerous. While most people won’t die from a black widow bite, their venom is potent and can result in serious reactions. Black widows aren’t aggressive spiders, typically, and will only bite if provoked, which is why it pays to know where they like to hide so you can avoid these areas.
If a bite occurs, it will appear as a reddened welt on the surface of the skin. Some people might feel the prick of the initial bite, others may not notice until after symptoms begin to develop. After several minutes, a victim will notice pain in areas that are not localized to the bite itself: abdominal pain, chest pain, and muscle spasms are common. Other signs include dizziness, nausea, weakness, fever, and headache.
It’s important to seek medical attention immediately after you notice the first signs of a bite since some people can have more serious reactions than others. Some can have allergic reactions to the compound in the venom, while others with existing health conditions or weakened immune systems can have worsened symptoms brought on by the bite.
Black Widow Prevention Tips
Keeping your home and yard free of black widows is all about reducing the factors that attract them inside in the first place:
De-webbing: Disturbing the feeding webs of a black widow can be a way to disrupt its food cycle and force it to look elsewhere. However, you run the risk of getting bit if the web you’re disturbing is a breeding web containing eggs, or if a black widow is nearby to catch some prey. This is a step best left to professionals.
Harborage Points: Along this same line of thinking, you can generally curb the number of places that a black widow can spin a web. Keeping vegetation trimmed low, with tree branches not too splayed out for easy web-work, is a good yard maintenance step. Also, look for ways to block or eliminate corners or holes where webs can easily be spun.
Crack sealing: While some cracks or holes may be too small for black widows themselves, they are likely not too small for the other kinds of bugs that spiders hunt. Reducing entry points into your home for bugs of all kinds will reduce pest populations in general.
ProActive Peace Of Mind
As with all pest problems, professional solutions are the only way to achieve total peace of mind. A trained pair of eyes from an expert will search all the places for bugs that are masters of stealth. With black widows, there is a heightened need for preventative care. You don’t want to risk you or your loved ones becoming a victim of a black widow bite, so it’s best to leave the crawling around in the dark to the professionals.
Don’t risk the dangers of black widow infestation on your property, turn to ProActive Pest Control for proper prevention and removal.