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The Black Widow Spider! Danger
Black Widow Spider Bite
It is the bite of only the adult female black widow spider that can be harmful to humans. Generally, a female black widow is withdrawn and timid, but at times, she will attack, such as after laying eggs or guarding them.
A black widow's bite feels like a needle puncture in the skin, but sometimes, a victim may not feel anything. Initially, the person may only observe evidence of the bite, including swelling and two tiny red spots where the fangs pierced the skin. Nonetheless, the victim usually feels pain pretty quickly, and it can last for a few days. Symptoms of a black widow bite may include nausea, fever, increased blood pressure, pain in the abdomen, back or limbs, as well as excessive sweating. In severe cases, paralysis may occur.
The venom of a black widow is a neurotoxin, which means it is toxic to a person's nervous system. People's reactions to bites can vary, depending on such factors as an individual's sensitivity, or the location and depth of the bite. Elderly people and young children are at greater risk, as are people with heart problems, compromised immune systems, or poor overall health.
If treated, these bites are rarely fatal, and there is an anti-venom available for black widow bites. If you or another person is bitten, immediately seek the attention of a doctor or visit the nearest emergency room. If possible, take the spider along for identification, even if it is not fully intact.
Black Widow Spiders Food
Black widow spiders spin webs for the purpose of catching prey. Their diet consists of ants, caterpillars, cockroaches, grasshoppers, and other insects. Black widows are capable of surviving several months without food.A black widow spider survives on a diet of various insects and arthropods. Their meals include beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, cockroaches, and ants, among others. If a black widow makes its home indoors, it can be found in less-frequented and cluttered areas where it can find more insects to eat.
The web constructed by the black widow is intended to catch prey. When insects get caught in the web, the spider will wrap it in silk, then inject it with venom to kill it. The spider will also inject digestive enzymes into the insect to help soften it before eating it. In a human, this type of process takes place internally. After a black widow has consumed its prey, its body actually elongates as the stomach expands.
If prey is scarce, a black widow, like many spiders, is capable of surviving for many months without food, sometimes even as much as a year. The spider has internal cavities that are able to store remnants of food.
Black Widow Spider Web
Black widow spider webs are made with very strong silk and have irregular patterns. They are made specifically for catching prey and primarily situated near the ground in a sheltered location.Black widow spiders spin webs to trap their prey, which consists of a variety of insects such as ants, beetles, caterpillars, and cockroaches. These webs are very irregular with no obvious pattern and look like a mass of fibers, though the silk is quite strong. An average web is about one foot across and has a small spot in the middle where the spider will wait for its prey. A web is usually situated near the ground in a dark, sheltered location.
Outside, black widows usually make their webs in protected areas, such as woodpiles, under decks and rocks, in tree stumps or other hollow places. They prefer dry areas like sheds, barns, woodpiles, or barrels.
Inside, these spiders are usually found in low-traffic areas like basements, crawl spaces, or garages. They prefer areas that are cluttered because they can find more insects to eat.
The female will spend time in the web during the day and rarely leaves voluntarily. She tends to hang upside down in the web, which exposes her hourglass marking that serves as a warning to predators. When prey gets caught in the web, she will wrap it in silk, then inject it with her venom to kill it. If a female has egg sacs in her web, she will stand guard against predators and is more likely to attack at that time.
What Does a Black Widow Spider Look Like
The black widow spider has eight legs and eight eyes. The eye configuration is unique to them. Their abdomen has two triangles shaped like an hourglass and legs have three claws. Females are larger than the males.Like all spiders, black widows have eight legs and no antennae or wings. Their bodies consist of two sections-the cephalothorax, which is the head and thorax together, and the abdomen. These two sections are connected by a tiny waist, called a pedicel.
Black widows also have eight eyes, with four of them being quite unique-on either side of their head, they have two eyes that are very close together and almost touch. The remaining four eyes are in the center, two in front and two behind. There is no other species of spider with this exact eye formation.
Black widow spiders' legs have three small claws on them, and their back pair of legs is covered with bristles. Their other characteristics vary by gender.
The female black widow is about half an inch in body length and reaches about 1-1/2″ including its legs. Her abdomen is large, shiny, and very rounded, almost a perfect sphere. Normally, the female's abdomen measures about ¼” in diameter, but it can be larger if she is carrying eggs.
The females usually look black or brownish-black in color. They have a unique marking that many people are familiar with: on the underside of the abdomen, the female bears two triangle shapes that look like an hourglass. These can vary in color from golden to orange to red. Sometimes these triangle shapes do not touch, and other times, there may only be one triangle-type marking.
Male black widows are considerably smaller than the females, about half their size, but have longer legs. The abdomen on a male looks more elongated and not as round a female's. They are sometimes lighter in color and have patterns or markings on the dorsal side of their abdomen, usually spots and lines that branch out to the sides. Young black widow spiders of both sexes look like adult males.
Black Widow Spider Eggs
Black widow spiders typically lay eggs during the spring and summer months. These eggs hatch after about a month, releasing hundreds of spiderlings. However, many of these spiderlings will eat each other early on.A black widow female generally lays eggs during the spring and summer months. In order to lay her eggs, she will construct whitish-colored, silky egg sacs, which are tightly woven and strong. These are usually rounded or pear-shaped. After a short time, the sacs will turn from white to tan. After constructing a sac, which takes a female a couple of hours, she will deposit anywhere from 25 to 250 eggs in it.
The egg sacs are suspended from the spider's web, which is located in dark, undisturbed areas like woodpiles, under rocks, or in outbuildings like sheds. The female fiercely guards her eggs and is more likely to attack a perceived predator during this time.
The spiders will emerge from the egg sac after about a month. These newly hatched spiders are called spiderlings. Because the egg sac may contain hundreds of eggs, hundreds of spiderlings will hatch, however, many of these will not survive because black widow spiders will eat one another in the early stage of their life.
A female black widow is able to store sperm after mating and is therefore able to lay more eggs without mating again.
Life Cycle of Black Widow Spider
The life cycle of a black widow spider begins when it hatches from an egg as a spiderling. Premature black widows are lighter in color and also do no have a dangerous bite. Adults are dark black and have potent venom.A black widow spider's life cycle begins as an egg, which is laid by the female in a silky egg sac that she creates. A female may deposit as many as 250 eggs in one sac and will create several of them. Once she lays her eggs, she then stands guard and is more likely to attack during this time.
The young spiders, called spiderlings, will hatch in about a month. Spiderlings molt, or shed their skin, one time inside the sac, then several more times before they fully mature.
The spiderlings initially stay near the sac, but after a few days will climb up to a high area where there is air flow. They will spin silk threads in order to float in the air, which allows them to disperse to a wider area. The lifecycle of a black widow spider, from egg to adult-takes close to one year.
Young spiders are lighter in color than adults, usually whitish or yellow, but as they mature, they become darker. The pattern on the young spiders of both sexes resembles that of the adult male. They also tend to have one or two reddish spots on the underside of the abdomen. Immature black widow spiders do not have a dangerous bite. It is only the bite of the adult female that is harmful to humans.
Black Widow Spider Venom
Black widow spider venom contains neurotoxins which attack a victims nervous system. Death is rare in most cases because such a small amount of venom is injected. Immediate medical attention should still be sought out.The venom of the black widow spider contains toxins that affect a person's nervous system. These are known as neurotoxins. The black widow is said to be the most venomous spider in North America. However, a very small amount of venom is usually injected when a person is bitten, so the bite rarely results in death.
The venom of the black widow travels through a person's bloodstream and then begins to affect the nervous system. This causes different levels of pain in different people. Some victims describe very intense pain following a bite.
Unlike the brown recluse, which is another very dangerous spider, the venom of a black widow does not result in extensive tissue damage at the bite location.
One person's sensitivity to a black widow bite can be different from another's. Black widow bites are rarely fatal if they are treated promptly. Bites are more threatening to the very young and very old, as well as those with high blood pressure or poor physical health.
There is an anti-venom used for black widow bites. If you are bitten, immediately seek medical attention and take the spider along for identification, if possible.
Black Widow Spider Danger
Only the adult female black widow spider poses a danger to humans. bites are very treatable, but can cause severe issues if left untreated. Generally, these are timid spiders who look for areas where they won’t be disturbed.It is only the bite of the adult female black widow spider, not the male, which poses any danger to humans. Although the female is generally timid, she will attack if she is protecting her eggs or if she is disturbed.
Black widows lurk in areas where they are less likely to be bothered. Outdoors, this includes piles of firewood, under decks, or in sheds or tree houses. Indoors, they may be found in basements, garages, or cluttered areas where they are likely to find insects to feed on. It is advisable to exercise caution in these places to avoid danger.
The bite of a black widow feels like a needle puncture in the skin, but sometimes, a victim may not feel anything at all. However, pain usually sets in pretty quickly and can last up to 48 hours. A person may observe two small red dots where the spider's fangs entered the skin. Other symptoms may include cramping, nausea, fever, sweating, or in extreme cases, paralysis.
People's reactions to black widow bites can vary, depending on their sensitivity, the location of the bite, or the amount of venom injected. However, if treated promptly, black widow bites are rarely fatal. Bites are more dangerous for the very young and very old, as well as those with high blood pressure.
Fortunately, there is an anti-venom available for black widow bites. If you or another person is bitten, immediately see a doctor or visit the emergency room. If possible, take the spider along for identification, even if it is not fully intact.
Northern Black Widow Spider
The northern black widow spider is not significantly different than other species apart from a few minor markings and colorations. They are rarely encountered indoors and prefer firewood, stumps, and vegetation.Another species of widow spider is the northern black widow. It is found in the same areas as the black widow (the warmer regions of the U.S., along the eastern seaboard to Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas). However, the northern widow is also found in the northern part of the United States and in Canada. This species is more common in the northern United States, as the name implies, but these spiders can sometimes be carried by travelers or shipments to areas where they are less common.
The female northern black widow is also blackish in color and bears the red hourglass marking on its abdomen. The two triangular shapes that make up the hourglass figure are generally not touching. The spot nearest the rear, or posterior, end of the spider is more triangular in shape and the other spot is more rounded. The back, or dorsal, side of this spider has a row of red spots and sometimes diagonal white lines out to the sides as well. Some northern black widows are more brownish in color, have whitish/yellow hourglass markings and red legs.
This species of spider is rarely found indoors, but may sometimes get carried in, such as on firewood, for example. Outdoors, they prefer sparse vegetation, firewood, stumps, hollow logs, and the like.
Female Black Widow Spiders
The female black widow spider is a danger to humans. She’s larger than a male and has an hourglass marking on her abdomen. Her bite can cause severe reactions dependant upon location and the amount of venom injected.The body (both the cephalothorax and abdomen) of an adult female black widow is about 0.5″. The abdomen is very rounded, shiny and large, about ¼” in diameter. It can even be as large as 0.5″ if the female is carrying eggs. Overall, including its legs, a female black widow is about 1-0.5 to 1-3/8 inches long. Males are approximately half the size of the females.
These spiders are usually black in color, and on the underside of their abdomen, they have two unique triangle-shaped markings that form an hourglass. These markings can vary from yellowish or orange to reddish in color. Sometimes there is only one triangle-type marking. Females may also have red spots along their backs.
It is the bite of only the female black widow that is worrisome. Her venom can be harmful to people, whereas a male black widow is not considered a threat to humans. If bitten, a person may or may not actually feel the fangs puncture the skin, but generally will feel pain fairly quickly afterward. The victim may notice two tiny red spots where the fangs entered the skin.
People's reaction to black widow bites varies depending on the location of the bite, the amount of venom injected, and that particular person's sensitivity. Symptoms can include nausea, fever, sweating, labored breathing, or tremors. If treated, black widow bites are rarely fatal, and there is an anti-venom available for these bites.
Females construct an irregular web to catch prey. This looks like a mess of random threads with no recognizable pattern and is usually found near ground level. The female mostly stays in the web, retreating to one side or the center, and often hangs upside down allowing potential victims to recognize her hourglass marking. The spider's prey consists of insects, such as roaches or beetles.
The females create eggs sacs and will deposit up to 250 eggs in one. The sacs are whitish initially, but will soon turn to a tan color. They are silky, tightly woven and quite tough. Although the females are generally withdrawn, they can be aggressive when protecting their eggs. After the young spiders hatch, the females have little involvement.
What is the Black Widow Spider Named After?
The black widow spider was believed to eat its male partner after or even during mating. This is a rare occurrence however, as most males escape unharmed following the mating process.The black widow received its name because it was believed that females would eat males after mating, but actually, this is very rare. In most cases, males are able to escape without harm after mating.
A male black widow will recognize a female because of the pheromones in her web. He will enter the web and begin rearranging it while vibrating his abdomen to get the female's attention. This technique puts her in a trance-like state, and the male will attempt to mate. If he is unsuccessful, he will go back to rearranging the web and try again.
In a rare case, if the female does choose to attack, the male is most vulnerable during the mating phase because he has to remove his pedipalps from the female before attempting to escape.
Black Widow Spider Facts
Female black widow spiders rarely kill males after mating. They are quite timid unless protecting eggs. Only adult females are a danger to humans. They spin webs to capture food. Males are about half the size of females.Black widow spiders are one of five types of widow spiders found in the United States. The black widow is most commonly found in the warmer parts of the United States. It can also be found along the east coast from Massachusetts to Florida and westward from there to Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
There are a couple of interesting black widow spider facts that may surprise you. For instance, black widow spiders are usually timid and do not aggressively attack unless they have just laid their eggs or are guarding them. Also, contrary to popular belief, the female black widow rarely kills the male after mating. The spider received its name because that was believed to be true in years past.
People are generally fearful of the black widow because of the fact that it is one of the few spiders that pose a threat to humans. The bite of the adult female black widow is of concern, but young black widows and adult males are harmless. Although the black widow is considered to be the most venomous spider in North America, the female injects a rather small amount of venom into its victim, so its bite is rarely fatal to humans.
The female black widow has a distinctive large, shiny, and very rounded abdomen. She is black in color and bears a unique marking on the underside of her abdomen that resembles an hourglass and is usually red, orange, or yellowish in color.
The male black widow is about half the size of the female and can be lighter in color. The males are usually more colorfully patterned, with spots and lines on their dorsal side. In fact, many people would probably not realize that they have seen a black widow when encountering a male because it looks quite different than the female with her well-known and unique design.
Black widows do not hunt for prey, but spin webs to catch it. These are usually found near ground level in secluded areas, such as under rocks, boards, hollow logs, or behind bushes. The black widow mostly feeds on insects.
Male Black Widow Spiders
Male black widow spiders are smaller and also lack the red hourglass marking that the females have. Males are attracted to female’s webs where they vibrate the web, putting the female in a trance to initiate mating.Male black widow spiders are quite a bit smaller than females, usually about half their size, but they have longer legs. The male measures approximately ¼” in body length. The male's abdomen is more elongated and is not large and rounded like the female's.
The females are well known because of their black color and unique hourglass marking. The males are sometimes lighter in color, but exhibit more colorful patterns than the female. They have streaks on their abdomens and patterns on their backs, usually spots and lines that branch out to the sides.
A male black widow will recognize a female by the pheromones in her web. He will use a vibration technique to put her in somewhat of a trance and attempt to mate. Contrary to popular belief, females rarely eat males after mating.
The bite of the male black widow is not harmful to people, unlike the bite of the female. Once a male reaches maturity, his venom sac is not functional. The juveniles are also harmless and, whether male or female, resemble an adult male in appearance. They are light yellow or whitish in color when they first hatch. As they get older, they become darker in color.
Characteristics of Black Widow Spiders
The black widow spider follows basic spider biology. Females have an hourglass shape on their abdomens and a dangerous bite for humans. They spin webs to catch prey. These spiders prefer to live in cluttered, secluded areas.Black widow spiders exhibit typical characteristics of spiders-eight legs, no wings, no antennae, and like most spiders, eight eyes. Their other physical characteristics vary depending on whether they are male or female.
Of the two genders, the female black widow is the one that most people probably recognize. They are usually black in color with a characteristic large, shiny, and very rounded abdomen. They have unique hourglass-shaped markings on the underside of their abdomens. These can vary in color from yellowish to orange to red.
Male black widows are about half the size of the female. They are sometimes lighter in color and have patterns or markings on the dorsal side of their abdomen, usually spots and lines that branch out to the sides. Young black widow spiders of both sexes resemble adult males.
Many people fear black widow spiders because of their dangerous bite. It is the bite of only the adult female black widow that is harmful to humans. People's reactions to black widow bites can vary, depending on such factors as his/her sensitivity, the amount of venom injected, and the location of the bite. If treated, black widow bites are rarely fatal and rarely cause serious long-term problems.
Instead of hunting their prey, black widow spiders spin webs to trap it. They eat a variety of insects such as beetles and cockroaches. These webs are an irregular mass of fibers with no obvious pattern. The webs are, on average, about a foot in diameter and have a small spot in the middle where the spiders wait for prey. A web is usually situated near the ground in a dark, sheltered location.
Outside, black widows tend to live in protected areas, such in tree stumps, under rocks, decks, or in woodpiles. They also prefer the shelter of outbuildings like sheds, tree houses, or barns.
Indoors, black widows prefer undisturbed parts of homes, such as garages, basements, or crawl spaces. They like cluttered areas because they can find more insects to eat.
Black widow spiders are more commonly found in the warmer parts of the United States. They can be found along the entire eastern seaboard and westward to Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. They are regularly found in garages, attics, laundry rooms, basements & crawl spaces right here in the local Tulsa, Oklahoma metro area.
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- Broken Arrow
- Sand Springs
- And cities within 50 miles of Tulsa
If you have a need for Pest Control Services, Please call EnviroTech Exterminating Immediately at (918) 282-7621.
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