Black Widow Spiders

Few creatures can give people the same sense of fear and dread from the mere mention of their name like the black widow spider.  There is no doubt that this poisonous spider has both a sinister appearance and reputation; the shiny black body, the long thin legs, and the bright red hourglass pattern.  However, many have very little knowledge of these insects beyond these initial well-known impressions.  Here are some lesser known facts about the black widow:

  • There are actually three different variations of the spider:  the southern black widow, northern black widow, and western black widow.  The generic term “black widow” is commonly used in reference to all three species together.
  • The black widow can be found commonly throughoutNorth America.  Both the northern and southern species inhabit the state of Tennessee.
  • Black widows are considered the most venomous spiders in North America, with a bite 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake.
  • Black widows are widely feared for this powerful venom.  However, it is actually extremely rare for a bite from the black widow to be fatal to a human.  In fact, most people who are bitten suffer no serious damage.
  • These spiders are naturally nonaggressive and often live peacefully in close proximity to humans.  They are typically shy and will only bite in self-defense.
  • It is only the females that possess the distinctive red hourglass shape on the abdomen.
  • Black widow spiders are most commonly found in dark, enclosed spaces such as crawl spaces, woodpiles, garages, and cellars.
  • The “black widow” spider gets its name from the unusual tendency for the females to eat their male counterparts following the mating process.

Think you’ve seen this poisonous spider around your home? Worried you might have seen another poisonous spider – like the brown recluse? Don’t hesitate to sign up for an inspection – we’ll come examine your home for free to give you peace of mind!