- Color: glossy black, the globe-like abdomen has two triangular hourglass-shaped red spots on the underside.
- Size: female – 1/2 inch; male – 1/4 inch.
- Two major body regions: head and thorax formed into a cephalothorax; and bulbous abdomen.
Black Widow Spider Habits:
- Eggs are laid in silken sacs which are protected by the female.
- Females produce six to 21 sacs, each one containing 185 to 464 eggs.
- Young spiderlings remain in the case for a short period and live in the vicinity of the nest for two to three weeks before producing long threads of silk that help them float away like kites.
- Development time (egg to adult): approximately one year.
- Life span of females: up to three years; life span of males: approximately 180 days.
- Webs are built in dry, protected locations where prey is likely to travel, e.g., among stones and rocks, wood piles, under decks, hollow stumps, rodent burrows, beneath benches, etc.
- Indoors they are found in basements, crawl spaces, garages, barns, outbuildings, sheds, meter boxes, brick veneer, pump houses, etc.
- Webs are irregularly-shaped, approximately one foot in diameter, and used to trap prey, usually insects, long enough for the spiders to wrap them in more silk before giving them a lethal bite.
Damage from Black Widow Spiders:
- Female black widows produce a neurotoxin in poison glands and bite if handled roughly or disturbed resulting in a bite similar to a wasp sting.
- Several deaths annually are attributed to black widow bites and anaphylactic reactions to them.
- Areas conducive to spider activity, e.g., dark protected areas and areas which attract insect prey.
- Webs and egg sacs.
How to Control and Kill Black Widow Spiders:
- Indoors, clutter and debris should be removed; outdoors, scrap lumber, woodpiles, rocks and other materials that offer protection should be removed.
- A vacuum should be used in order to remove spiders, webs, and egg sacs, and the bag should immediately be sealed and discarded in the trash.
- Outdoor lighting should be changed if it attracts insects to the structure.