Black Widow Spiders

Lactrodectus Mactans
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What do black widows spiders look like?

black widow spider in phoenix az yard

Black widows have eight legs and two body parts like all spiders. They have specific markings used for identification, but these markings vary and can make identifying difficult. Females are 1/2 inch long, shiny black with a red hourglass shaped marking on a round abdomen. Males are black with red spots and white lines going out to the side. They are half the size of the female. Spiderlings are orange and white in color turning blacker with each molt.

Habits of black widow spiders

  • Diet: Insects
  • Activity: Nocturnal
  • Preferred Climate: Temperate climate
  • Defense: Web. Females bite if disturbed. Males do not bite. They bite their prey releasing a neurotoxin, paralyzing their prey so they can suck their prey’s fluids.
  • Cautions: Black widow bites are painful resulting in localized pain, severe cramping, nausea, sweating, fever, etc. A physician should be consulted if bitten since reactions vary due to person and amount of venom introduced.
  • Home Invasion: Black widows enter a home in search of shelter. They live in solitary. Normally found in sheds and garages or other areas that are darker and less trafficked.

Are black widow spiders dangerous?

A black widow spider bite may produce minimal to sharp pain followed by swelling and redness.

Where do black widow spiders nest?

Black widow spider activity is often detected around the perimeter of structures. They may also migrate indoors on items. 

Helpful hints for black widow spiders

To prevent encounters with black widow spiders, we recommend:

Interesting facts about black widow spiders

Contrary to popular belief, the female black widow spider does not always kill her partner after mating. 

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