Bug Blog

How Often Are Western Black Widows Spotted Indoors In Arizona?

There are several reasons as to why arachnophobia is so widespread. For one thing, people possess a natural instinct to fear wildlife that may cause them harm. In other cases, a childhood trauma involving a painful spider bite may be enough to spark a long-lasting fear of spiders. In some cultures, myths about spiders and the dangers that they pose to humans have had a lasting effect into the modern age. From an entomologist perspective, on the other hand, spiders are beneficial insects due to their habit of killing off insect pests that may be damaging to agricultural crops and ecologically essential forms of plant life. Of course, one does not need to be a learned scientist to have this sort of appreciation for the eight legged arachnids, as gardeners often rely on a healthy spider population within their gardens in order to control insect pests that can damage ornamental plants and small vegetable crops.

No matter how much spiders may give you or anyone else the willies, the truth is, spiders are largely harmless. Even black widows and brown recluses are shy around humans, and in the rare cases when these species are found indoors, they are usually hiding behind furniture and in other dark nooks and crannies of a household. That being said, when it comes to brown recluses and black widows, they should never be handled, as they will not hesitate to bite if they become annoyed or threatened. Luckily, the brown recluse is not native to Arizona, but another recluse species, the Arizona recluse, is an Arizona native, just as its common name suggests. However, black widow spiders are abundant in both urban and residential areas of Arizona, particularly in Tucson and Phoenix. The most commonly encountered black widow species in the state, the western black widow, is encountered outdoors more often than indoors, but indoor encounters are certainly not rare. Unfortunately, most outdoor sightings occur near houses in residential areas, and according to one nationwide survey, 41 percent of western black widow sightings occur indoors. When the spiders are found indoors, they will likely skitter away, but if possible, the spiders should be swept outdoors back into their natural habitat.

Have you ever spotted a widow spider species?