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Must-know Facts About Black Widows | AZ Pest Control

Black widows, also known as Latrodectus species, are venomous spiders found throughout the world, including in the United States. They are known for their shiny, black appearance and distinctive red hourglass marking on their abdomen. While they are generally not aggressive, they may bite if provoked and their venom can be harmful to humans. Here are some key facts about black widows:

  • Black widows get their name from their mating habits: Female black widows are known for occasionally eating their male counterparts after mating, hence the name “black widow.” However, this behavior is not as common as often portrayed and only occurs in a small percentage of mating pairs.
  • Black widow venom is toxic to humans but not typically deadly: The venom of a black widow spider can cause muscle cramps, nausea, and difficulty breathing in humans. It is important to seek medical attention if you are bitten by a black widow.
  • Black widows can be found in various habitats: They can be found in forests, fields, and gardens, as well as in and around homes and buildings. They prefer warm, dry climates and typically inhabit dark, secluded places such as woodpiles, sheds, and crawl spaces.
  • Black widows have a distinctive appearance: They are shiny, black spiders with long, thin legs and a round abdomen. The female is larger than the male, and both are about 1.5 inches in length. The most identifying feature is the red hourglass marking on the underside of their abdomen.
  • Black widows spin webs to capture prey: They spin webs using a strong, elastic protein called silk, which they produce in glands on their abdomen. They use their webs to catch and paralyze insects with their venom before eating them.
  • Black widows are generally not aggressive: They are more likely to retreat or play dead if confronted rather than biting. They will only bite if they feel threatened.
  • Black widows can live for up to three years: Their lifespan can vary depending on the species and environmental conditions, but they can live for up to three years.
  • Black widows are found worldwide: There are 31 known species of black widow, with the most common species found in the United States being the southern black widow (Latrodectus mactans) and the western black widow (Latrodectus hesperus). They can also be found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.

For more information about the black widow and how it behaves during infestations, or if you have a black widow on your property, contact us today.