Black Widow

The Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus spp.) is a spider notorious for its neurotoxic venom. It is a large widow spider found throughout the world and commonly associated with urban habitats or agricultural areas.

Identify Black Widow Spiders

Adult female black widow spiders are gloss black with an hourglass shaped marking on the underside of its abdomen which is red. The male spider’s hourglass color is yellow to white to various shades of orange and red. They also bear a small, usually red (colors vary) dot near the spinnerets, which is separate from the hourglass. In L. variolus, the two halves of the hourglass shape may be separated into two separate patches. A large female black widow spider can grow to about 1.5 inches (37 mm), counting legspan. The body is about 0.5-0.6 inches (12-15 mm). Male black widow spiders are half the size of the female or smaller. They have longer legs and a smaller abdomen in relation to their body size. They are also usually dark brown with varying colors of stripes/dots, with no hourglass mark. Adult males can be distinguished from juvenile females by their more-slender body, longer legs and large pedipalps typical of most other male spiders.

Black Widow Characteristics

black-widow-570476_1280Although their venom is extremely potent, (15 times more potent than that of the rattlesnakes; it is also reported to be much more potent than the venom of cobras and coral snakes), these spiders are not especially large. Compared to many other species of spiders, their chelicerae are not very large or powerful. In the case of a mature female, the hollow, needle shaped part of each chelicera, the part that penetrates the skin, is approximately 1.0 mm (about .04 inch) long, long enough to inject the venom to a point where it can be harmful. The males, being much smaller, injects far less venom with smaller chelicerae. The actual amount injected, even by a mature female, is very small in physical volume. When this small amount of venom is diffused throughout the body of a healthy, mature human, it usually does not amount to a fatal dose (though it can produce the very unpleasant symptoms of latrodectism).

Black widow spiders are nocturnal and, thus, are active at night. They prefer dark corners or crevices. They are said to avoid human dwellings, but you can find them in such areas as outhouses and garages. Only the female black widow bites humans, and she bites only when disturbed.

Black Widow Characteristics

Black widow spiders are common around wood piles, and are frequently encountered when homeowners carry firewood into the house. Also found under eaves, in boxes, outdoor sheds, meter boxes, and other unbothered places. You may also find Black Widow spiders in the following areas:

  • Trash Piles
  • Rubble Piles
  • In or Under Homes
  • Garages
  • Under Eaves
  • Storage Bins
  • Construction Material
  • Meter Boxes
  • Under Ledges
  • Landscaping Rocks
  • Plants
  • Patio Furniture
  • Storage Sheds
  • Cellars
  • Fences
  • and more…

Don’t let spiders hide in these high risk areas of your home or business in the OKC metro.
Call The Bug Guy today at 405-973-5522 or schedule an appointment online.