One of the most dangerous spiders in the United States, black widows have the potential to infest homes and businesses in just about every part of the country, including right here in Sacramento. While these spiders are far from the deadliest arachnids on the planet, they still have the potential to make adults seriously ill and even kill vulnerable individuals like small children and the elderly. Let’s take a look at how to spot a black widow, what to do if you find one, and how to prevent an infestation of these potentially deadly arachnids.
Black Widow Description
Black widows are medium-sized spiders with a shiny, black exoskeleton, a large, round abdomen, and long, spindly legs. Females have the famous bright red hourglass marking on their underbellies. Black widows build irregularly shaped and tangly webs close to the ground, preferring dark, sheltered places without a lot of foot traffic from larger animals.
This means you’re likely to find black widows hiding out in places like unused chimneys, dark corners, basements, attics, cabinets, and anywhere else they feel they’re likely to both remain undisturbed and catch a meal now and again. Clutter that never gets moved can be a convenient hideout for black widows. For example, a widow may weave a web inside a shoe that’s been sitting around for a long time. Widows also love to hide out inside water main covers, so be careful if you’re turning off the water to your home on the street.
Black Widow Bites
Black widows don’t bite often. They’re not aggressive and prefer to nest far away from places with a lot of human activity. One of the most common scenarios in which a person is bitten is when they reach into an area containing a hidden widow and don’t know it – such as during plumbing repairs or cleaning old clutter.
Once bitten, you may experience a wide array of symptoms ranging from moderate to severe. In the milder cases, you’ll suffer only pain, redness, and swelling at the site of the bite. You may also see two small puncture wounds where the fangs pierced your skin. In more severe cases, you may have symptoms like:
- Muscle cramps or spasms
- Chills and fever
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe headache, belly, or back pain
- Significant increase in blood pressure
- Confusion, restlessness, stupor, or loss of consciousness
If you think you’ve been bitten by a black widow, it’s best to seek medical advice right away in case symptoms start to appear. Normally, more significant symptoms begin within 30 to 120 minutes of the bite and last for 24 to 72 hours. If you have severe symptoms, seek emergency medical help right away. It’s also best to seek emergency assistance for all vulnerable individuals suspected to have been bitten, including children, the elderly, and people with hypertension.
Black Widow Prevention
While everyone has a few spiders they don’t know about in their home, to prevent larger scale infestations of black widows (and all spiders), take measures like:
- Sealing up potential entry points in your home’s exterior
- Eliminating infestations of prey items like roaches, silverfish, and flies
- Clearing clutter to reduce hiding spots for spiders
- Seeking help from a professional extermination service
Here at Pro Active Pest Control, we can help you take a proactive pest control approach to keep dangerous widow spiders out of your home. Our experts can help you identify problem areas where spiders may be accessing your home or setting up shop once inside, and we can also help eliminate other infestations that have the potential to attract widow spiders. So give us a call at (888) 674-9095 or visit our contact page to schedule your service!