Black widow spiders are well known for the female’s distinctive red hourglass marking and tendency to eat her partner after mating.

Black widows are native to the southern United States, but they have been introduced to northern states by travelers and shipments from areas where they come from.

Female black widows have shiny black bodies with a large, round abdomen that is usually adorned with the famous red “hourglass.”

In Michigan, the native widow spider specis is the northern widow. The northern widow is fairly similar to the black widow except females have a yellow to white “hourglass” instead of a red one.

How Dangerous are Black Widows?

This spider’s venom is said to be 15 times more dangerous than a rattlesnake’s:

  • In humans, bites cause symptoms such as muscle aches, paralysis of the diaphragm, and nausea; however, in most cases, these bites will not cause serious or long-term damage.
  • Black widow bites can be fatal to victims who are elderly, infirm, or young children but fatalities are typically rare. These arachnids generally bite only when defending themselves.
  • They prefer to live outdoors under ledges, rocks, plants or debris. However, cooler weather can drive black widows into buildings, which is when human contact is more likely to occur.
  • Insects are the main food source for black widows.

Along with insects, male black widows are sometimes also on the menu!

Females are known for killing and eating the males after mating with them. Besides this violent mating practice, black widows are solitary year-round.

How do You Identify a Black Widow?

What do black widows look like?

  • Black widows are normally identified by an hourglass-shaped mark on their abdomens.
  • Females and males are usually inky black in color, but can sometimes be brown.
  • The hourglass mark is usually red in females, but males frequently have red and sometimes yellow bands or spots across their backs.
  • Newly hatched black widow spiderlings are typically white or off-white. They gradually acquire red and white colors with each molt.
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What do black widow webs look like?

  • Black widows webs are most commonly found at ground level. Small holes in building foundations are popular web locations, as is outdoor furniture.
  • Inside, webs are often seen in basements and crawl spaces.
  • Black widow webs typically appear “messy” and irregular in shape, and the females can often be found hanging upside down from them. When black widows feel threatened, they drop from their webs and play dead.

How do You Keep Black Widows out of Your Home?

Proactive maintenance can dramatically reduce your chances of running into black widows in or around your home:

  • Regularly vacuum all floors in your home.
  • Thoroughly vacuum closets, under heaters, baseboards, and any vents that may send air into your home.
  • Keep sports equipment, gardening tools, etc. in sealed plastic bags and check them thoroughly before each use.
  • Any rooms that are seldom used should be aired out and cleaned regularly to avoid nesting by black widows.

What proof. Professionals Do To Get Rid Of Widow Spiders

If you’re experiencing issues with widow spiders of any kind, don’t worry!

We can take care of black widows (or other spiders) quickly and keep them from coming back all year with our Pest Free Guarantee™ seasonal service plan.

Call today and we’ll tell you how it works and give you a quick quote right over the phone! We can even have a technician out to your home the same or next business day in most cases.

Get a Free Quote Now!