Black widows are found throughout the world, including North America.
There are 5 species of widow spiders in the United States.
All five of these can be dangerous to humans.
The female black widow has a shiny, coal-black body with an orange or red hourglass mark on her abdomen.
Most males are harmless, but some possess toxic venom and can indeed be dangerous to humans.
Where Can You Find Black Widows?
Black widow spiders prefer to live outside, where they spin messy webs that often cross paths with human activity.
They are found under eaves of buildings, in woodpiles, and generally any place around the home or backyard.
Black widows will also hide in outdoor toilets, sheds, garages, storage boxes, and piles of cardboard or lumber.
They are also found in the interior of homes in basements.
There, they can crawl spaces where they can build webs against walls or around boxes.
The black widow is most commonly found in the warmest places on your property.
Black widows can also be found outdoors in natural areas such as under rocks and logs, but these spiders are considered shy and not likely to be dangerous unless you disturb them.
What Can You Do To Ensure Your Safety?
If one does happen to encounter a black widow spider outside of the home, it is advised that you leave it alone.
It is best to not handle it directly with your hands, as the widow may mistake this for an attack and bite defensively.
However, if one must remove or kill an outside black widow that poses a threat, always wear thick gloves.
Care should be taken when entering basements or crawl spaces where you may disturb these spiders’ webs, and children should never play in areas where they might find these spiders.
When working with lumber, ensure that there are no widow webs before handling pieces of wood.
Windows should be checked for any possible entry points around the frames, and it’s worth sealing up any cracks or holes with weather stripping to prevent black widows from getting inside in the future.
When working outdoors, wear gloves that are tightly woven to protect against bites.
It’s also important to note that not all black widow spider bites are dangerous.
These spiders inject venom-containing neurotoxins, which primarily affect the nervous system.
Not everyone is affected by these toxins, and some have mild reactions or no reaction at all.
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