Tucson, Ariz.-based Truly Nolen recently shared with us the following press release. While intended to share with its homeowner customers, it contains some great info for pest management professionals, too. Please read on:
As the most venomous spider found in North America, the black widow (Latrodectus variolus) is primarily found throughout the southern and southwestern United States. As the weather cools down and these cold-blooded arachnids look to find a place to warm up, they often enter a house or garage, which could mean trouble for an unsuspecting homeowner.
Normally, black widow spiders like to hide in dark, dry protected areas like under patio furniture, in meter boxes and firewood piles. However, they can enter homes through small holes in doors and windows and live in undisturbed places such as basements and crawl spaces. In addition, they are often found in the back of mailboxes as well as cardboard/storage boxes in garages or a home’s storage area.
“Black widows are not generally aggressive; however, they will attack in self-defense or when defending an egg sac,” says Truly Nolen entomologist Scott Svenheim. “As an example, many people are bit while sitting on their patio furniture because the spider has established a web underneath where it cannot be seen and believes it is under attack. In addition, people should always look first before putting their hand in a box or dark place just to be safe.”
Although most black widow bites do not cause serious damage, their venom, which is 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake’s venom, can cause symptoms such as nausea and muscle cramps. In addition, bites are more dangerous for small children and elderly.
“If you are ever bitten by a black widow spider, seek medical attention or contact Poison Control for assistance with any question you may have,” Svenheim suggests.
Pest-proofing for black widows includes:
- removing woodpiles and lumber piles
- checking your shoes and boxes for hitchhiking spiders
- cleaning and vacuuming houses, garages and sheds regularly
Be careful not to attempt to kill a black widow by simply hitting it because it can become aggressive if threatened.
For more information from Truly Nolen about black widow spiders, click here.