The Black Widow Spider originated in the southern United States but has been introduced to northern states by travelers and shipments from states in which the Black Widow is native. Female Black Widows have shiny black bodies with a large, round abdomen usually adorned with the red “hourglass.”

The native Michigan widow is the Northern Widow. The Northern Widow is fairly similar except for having 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, debris, and anywhere else a web can be spun. Cooler weather can drive Black Widows into buildings, which is when human contact is more likely to occur.

Insects are Black Widows’ main victims. Along with bugs, Black Widows males are also in danger of being consumed. 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?

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. 

Black Widow webs are most commonly found at ground level. Some may be found inside small holes in building foundations and furniture kept outdoors. Inside, webs can be located in basements and crawl spaces. These webs typically appear 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.

Brown widow

How do You Keep Black Widows out of Your Home?

  • 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 them quickly and keep them from coming back all year with our Residential Insects & Spider Control 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.


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