In the Greater Sacramento area, there are exactly two poisonous species of spiders that you should be concerned about: the Black Widow Spider and the Hobo Spider. Let’s focus on the first now and the latter at a different time.
The black widow spider is one of the most dangerous spiders in North America and found along the western coast. Its venom is 15 times more potent than a rattlesnake’s venom. The venom is designed to immobilize and/or kill the spider’s prey.
They prefer living and building their webs in dimly lit, dry, sheltered places. Beware of the corners and nooks around your yard and home (such as your garage, basement, attic where there are areas of undisturbed clutter). Black widow spider webs are typically near the ground, messy and irregular in appearance. If you need to work around these kinds of places, be sure to protect yourself. Wear long sleeves and gloves.
Black Widow Spider Identification
- Adult Female Black Widow Spiders – Females have a black, shiny body with a large, spherical abdomen and long, black legs. They have a distinctive red or orange hour glass on the underside of the abdomen. Females are larger than males (40mm vs. 30mm).
- Adult Male Black Widow Spiders – Lighter in body color (pale green-grey) than females, males have a yellow-orange hourglass on their underside. The hourglass shape is broader in the middle than that of females. They also typically have a red or pale brown stripe down the center of their backs.
- Young Black Widow Spiders (Nymphs) – All white at first, nymphs become more similar to their final appearance during their 2-3 month growth period.
- Black Widow Spider Egg Balls – Grayish, silken masses found in the spider’s web. They typically contain between 200 and 900 eggs. Not to worry, though. After the eggs hatch, the nymphs are cannibalistic, so only a few will actually survive. A female can produce more than 10 egg sacs from one mating.
Black widow spiders serve a beneficial function to the environment, like other spiders, by consuming insects and other arthropods. The trouble occurs when their world overlaps with ours.
Only adult and large, juvenile female black widow spiders have mouths that are large enough to actually harm people. Black widow spider bites are typically not fatal to people, but the physical reactions to a bite are painful and can spread throughout the body. Children and elderly are particularly at risk. If you are ever bitten by an unknown spider, don’t hesitate to call 911 and seek immediate treatment.
If you run into a spider that you aren’t familiar with, don’t disturb or try to trap it yourself. Contact Pro Active Pest Control and we’ll help you to identify and safely remove the spider (or spiders). We can also help to protect your family from future black widow spider and other insect and arthropod issues. We apply, monitor and reinforce pest management, both around and in your home and/or business.