Black widows build webs in secluded, well-sheltered areas with little traffic. Outside, their webs can be found in wood piles or in areas with protective ledges such as under outdoor furniture. Indoors, black widows will choose dimly lit areas to build nests. Their webs are usually found at ground level and they will often choose a cluttered area or dim corner for protection. Basements, closets, and garages are common areas for black widows to build webs.
Black widows are nocturnal, though they spin their webs during the daytime. While the black widow’s web appears unorganized and disorderly, much planning actually goes into the building of their web. A black widow’s web is composed of three different zones. The lowermost zone is made up of trap threads for catching prey. The middle zone is composed of tangle threads, and the top portion is constructed of supporting threads. When an insect, such as a fly, grasshopper, or beetle, comes into contact with the web, the web will lift up towards the black widow. The spider will then bite the insect and wrap it in its silk.
Despite their intimidating name, black widows are actually quite shy. Black widows would rather escape than attack a large predator. Black widows will even play dead by dropping from their webs in order to avoid attack.
Female black widows attach pheromones to their silk in order to attract male black widows. In some cases, the female black widow will consume the male after mating. This is where the black widow gets its name. The black widow will then produce several egg sacs that are tightly woven and protect them fiercely until they hatch. Once hatched, only the fittest will survive. This is because black widow spiderlings are cannibalistic.
The black widow has a dangerous reputation. While black widows are venomous, they rarely bite humans. Even when bitten, a black widow bite poses little danger to humans. One can typically recover on his or her own with no medical intervention. However, it is always a good idea to know the symptoms of a black widow bite in case you have a severe response.
Pain, burning, swelling and redness at the site immediately after being bitten.
Muscle aches within 8 hours of being bitten.
The development or a rash with itching.
Nausea and stomach cramping.
Two fang marks.
While the severity of the reaction varies from person to person, these bites can be fatal in young children, the elderly, and in those with weakened immune systems. If you suspect you’ve been bitten by a black widow, you should make an appointment to see your doctor. You can ease symptoms by washing the area with soap and water, applying a cold pack to the area, and using an antibiotic cream.
If you see one or more black widow spider in or around your home, you should call an Aptive professional to exterminate. It is the safest way to get rid of black widow spiders. Aptive’s dedicated team uses the best, eco-friendly methods to effectively remove spiders and ensure that your home is protected for the future.