Black widow spiders

About black widow spiders

Female black widow spiders are the ones you need to be concerned about if you find them around your house. They are easy to recognize by their shiny black bodies and the bright red hourglass shape on their plump, round abdomens.

Males, about half the size of females, are harmless. They are lighter in color and have pink or reddish bands or spots on their backs. The female kills the male soon after mating. Female black widows can live two or three years. They rarely leave their web because they’re too busy trapping victims and wrapping them in silk before injecting them with venom. They’re also prolific baby-makers, with one egg sac holding as many as 750 eggs.

How poisonous are black widow spiders?

Black widows prefer to run away from humans, but they’ll bite if they feel threatened or if they’re protecting their eggs. Although they can be painful, the bites contain a small amount of venom and usually aren’t deadly to adults. However, they can be dangerous for young children and the elderly.


Controlling black widow spiders in the home

  • Apply insecticide dust in cracks, crevices, crawl spaces and other hard-to-reach areas.
  • Use a concentrated insecticide mixed with water to eliminate spiders around your home’s foundation, vent openings and other entry points.
  • Contact aerosols kill visible spiders and flush out hidden spiders around baseboards and windows.