Black Widow Spiders

Even the homes of Thrasher Termite & Pest Control staff are not immune from black widow spiders. The photo of this spider was taken outside of the front door of Sue’s house. It’s difficult to tell from the photo, but the black widow covered about three square feet of Sue’s brick front house with tangled silk. When the photo was taken, the spider was between the brick and the silk web, with her underside exposed and making the red hourglass mark very visible. This is not usually how or where black widows are found.

Black widows are shy spiders that seek retreats such as a hole between two bricks or a pipe hole in a wall where they can hide during the day and then come out at night…Although they can be found inside homes, black widows typically are outside, around the home and in clutter. In the garage, they usually make webs by doors, near vents, and in other places where they are guaranteed lots of insect traffic for food. Because most people don’t tolerate large numbers of insects in their living spaces, widow spiders usually won’t find sufficient prey to survive inside homes. —Pest Notes: Black Widow and Other Widow Spiders, UC ANR Publication 74149

Black Widow with Egg Sack

How Deadly are Black Widow Spider Bites?

In 2013, there were 1,866 black widow bites reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. None resulted in death. Some reports state that less than 1% of black widow spider bites prove deadly, that number is still an overstatement. The actual percentage is more likely to be 0.05% or less. Nevertheless, children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are more at risk for black widow spider bite complications.

Small Bite with Big Wallop

Black widow spider bites may rarely be deadly, but the venom is often painful. The initial bite may go unnoticed or may feel like a pinprick. The skin may display one or two bite marks with local swelling. Pain usually progresses from the bite site and eventually to the abdomen and back. Severe cramping or rigidity may occur in the abdominal muscles. Symptoms may include nausea, profuse perspiration, tremors, labored breathing, restlessness, increased blood pressure and fever. The pain from the bite will usually persist for the first 8-12 hours. Symptoms may continue for several days. An anti-venom is widely available. Response is fast, and bite victims can go from intense pain back to normal in 30 minutes.

Thrasher Termite & Pest Control serves residential, commercial, industrial, and hospitality clients. We focus on the people side of pest control. We’re in this business to make our clients’ lives a little easier and their homes more hospitable. Your satisfaction is our number one priority. We control all household pests and termites. No gimmicks, no nonsense, and when we’re done, no pests. We’re certified and experienced in refreshing your house to make it homey again. Call today for assistance with black widow spiders or other nuisance pests.


About the Author:

Garrett Thrasher is Vice President and General Manager of Thrasher Termite & Pest Control of So Cal, Inc., Chairperson of the San Diego District of the Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC), a member of the bedbugFREE network, and a member of the National Pest Management Association. Author of The Bed Bug Battle Plan: Field Tested Solutions for Bed Bug Extermination and Prevention (ISBN: 1500838209), Garrett’s solid understanding of bed bugs, their behavior, current outbreaks, and experience on camera has made him a leading contact for news and media outlets. He is also a sought after speaker on the topic of managing online reviews for positive impact. He has spoken at PestWorld and PestTech, and was featured in PCT Magazine and the PCT Podcast. Thrasher Termite & Pest Control of So Cal is accredited by QualityPro–the mark of excellence in pest management.

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