Southern Black Widow Spiders
The southern black widow spider, often simply called the black widow, is a spider known for its black body and distinct red hourglass shape on the underside of females’ abdomens. Though unsettling to see, the males are virtually harmless—it’s the female black widow you need to worry about. Not only do they have a reputation to sometimes eat their mate, but when provoked, they also deal the most toxic spider bite in the United States, containing neurotoxins that can affect the nervous system. Needless to say, if you think you’ve been bitten by a black widow spider, seek medical attention immediately.
How to Identify Black Widow Spiders
The black widow is a smooth-bodied spider with the female measuring up to 13 mm long with a red “hourglass” marking on the underside of the abdomen. The male black widow spider typically has longer legs than the female but is smaller, measuring between 3 to 10 mm. Males also have some red markings down the middle of their abdomens and black bands at the joint of each leg.
Despite their freaky appearance, black widows can be very beneficial because they eat flies, ants, and other pests around your home. These spiders generally hide and build their webs among tall grass, woodpiles, and other organic debris.
Preventing Black Widows in Arizona
While black widow spiders are perfectly content outside, they will follow food sources into your home. Thus, it’s important to seal any door jambs, gaps between windows, and cracks along your foundation to keep these fearsome arachnids out. Moving debris away from the exterior of buildings will also keep these spiders from building a nest close to your home or business and gaining entry. Inside your home, maintain a cleaning regiment to help to keep pests out and diminish desirable food sources for black widows.
If a black widow has managed to make its way inside and delivers a bite, seek medical attention. If you experience muscle pain near the bite wound, or the skin at the site of the bite has swelled and formed a bullseye-like lesion, you might have been bitten by a black widow spider. Their bite isn’t fatal to most humans, but the pain from the bite can last a couple of days to weeks. Children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk for complications due to a black widow bite.
Keep Your Arizona or Las Vegas Home Spider-Free
If you’ve done everything you can to keep black widow spiders out of your space, it might be time to seek professional help. The pest professionals at Burns Pest Elimination provide comprehensive pest and spider control solutions to those in the Peoria, Phoenix, Tucson, and Las Vegas areas. When you call us, we will inspect your building, identify points of entry, discuss prevention tips, and develop a treatment schedule to keep black widows from lurking around your home or business. Let us help you get back to enjoying a pest-free home again and request a free pest control quote today!