Spiders web


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Black Widow

Black Widow


This is a classy breed of spiders. While black or brown, they have red patterns and markings. Females have two reddish triangular markings on their undersides that resemble an hourglass or sometimes only a single triangle. There are usually red markings above the spinnerets. Males usually have a colored pattern on top, and a row of red spots along with white lines or bars extending to the sides. As for spiderlings, they are usually orange or white, with markings on top, as well as one or two reddish ones beneath.


Short honeymoon? The common name derives from the belief that the female devours the male after mating. Thankfully for the male, this is rare in nature. The abdomen is almost spherical.

Where Found

The widow makes every place her home. There are 5 species in the U.S. alone.


Any place protected and dry — woodpiles, under stones and decks, in hollow trees or stumps, rodent burrows, low branches, barns, sheds, meter boxes and barrels.


Whatever's hanging around. Females avoid light and like hunting at night. Their victims, other insects, are caught hanging upside down in their webs.


Females lay eggs in woven silk sacs ⅜-½ inch in diameter, which turn from white to pale brown. Spiderlings molt, then take a real ride by spinning silk threads and 'ballooning' out on a breeze. Spiderlings are also very fashion-conscious – they don't like repeating an outfit too many times. They go through different colors or patterns as they mature through each of the 4-9 instars (stages) in 54-107 days. Most overwinter and develop into adults in spring, dying in late July. Total development time takes nearly a year. Females may live 2 or more years after maturing, while yet again, males get the short end of the stick with a lifespan of only up to 6 months.


As with many insects, the female is the nasty one. Her bite is poisonous, her venom full of neurotoxins; but luckily she is only aggressive if you try to mess with her eggs.

Spiderlings are also poisonous, but only if you eat them within their first 18 days. Unless you were raised Tarzan-style, this shouldn't be much of a problem. Males are quite docile; as adults they do not have venom sacs nor do they attack prey.


Places you hardly ever visit, such as cluttered parts of garages, basements, and crawl spaces, are excellent places for spiders to make their homes.

Good Riddance

There are 6 steps to controlling spiders. 1) Inspection: determine what conditions need to be corrected to achieve desired level of control. 2) Identification: determine target pest and possibly treatment strategy depending on species habits. 3) Prevention: fix building conditions allowing entry; lighting that may attract their prey. 4) Sanitation: eliminate debris outside such as woodpiles, high weeds, rocks and overgrown shrubs that give shelter. Indoors, eliminate clutter and areas out of regular access. 5) Mechanical Measures: control is enhanced when removing webs mechanically. Spiders are all about going green, and recycling their silk, so a light dusting of non-repellent insecticide dust on the remaining webs will help control. 6) Pesticide Application: along with the above listed recommendations, pest control materials will greatly reduce active populations and regain overall control.

When using any pesticide, be sure it is registered for the target pest/location. Read the entire label prior to use. Follow all label directions, restrictions and precautions. For large infestations or multiple sightings, we recommend using the services of a professional exterminator.

Next Steps

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