Black Widow Spiders

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What do black widow spiders look like?

Black widow spiders (Lactrodectus mactans) have shiny black bodies and bright red markings that often resemble an hourglass shape. It’s worth noting that not all females have the characteristic hourglass on their abdomens but may have red dots or no markings at all. These arachnids are about 1 1-/ to 1 3/8 of an inch long.  

Young black widow spiders start out with orange and white coloring but as they mature will turn black. Their markings are similar to adults.

black widow spider hanging from messy web

Are black widow spiders dangerous?

Black widow spiders are venomous and though they rarely bite and typically only as a defense, their bites are usually painful and can result in fevers, increased blood pressure, sweating, and nausea. Though fatalities from black widow spider bites are unlikely, it is best to seek out medical attention if bitten.

How can I tell if I have a black widow problem?

There’s a good chance you won’t realize black widow spiders have infested your property because they prefer quiet, undisturbed areas, such as closets, sheds, and garages. Should you find messy, irregular webs at or close to ground level or spot one of these venomous spiders,  you'll want to take action. 

What attracts black widow spiders?

Black widows enjoy a diet of ants, beetles, and cockroaches as well as other arthropods so if your home or property hosts these pests, you might eventually see black widows.  

Black widow spiders typically favor protected areas outside, such as under stones and decks and in firewood piles, but they may seek out dry man-made structures if outside conditions are not desirable. Common harborages include garages, basements, crawl spaces, sheds, and other spaces that may be cluttered but also provide warmth.

How do I get rid of black widow spiders?

At Getem Services, we offer comprehensive pest control services that take care of black widows and other spiders common to Southeast Virginia. If you’ve spotted these venomous spiders in or around your home, reach out today!

How can I prevent a black widow spider infestation?

In order to prevent black widows from taking up residence in your home, we highly recommend the following prevention tips:

  • Reduce clutter
  • Organize closets and storage areas
  • Check firewood for spider activity before bringing logs inside
  • Seal all cracks, gaps, and openings on the exterior of your home
  • Eliminate other pests (in other words, their food source) in and around your home
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