Black Widow Spiders
Male and female black widow spiders do not look the same. Males are black with white spots on each side. Females are also black, but have a red hourglass on their back.
A full grown black widow’s body is approximately ¾-inch long. The diameter of the abdomen of the black widow is approximately 3/8-inch.
Although many people think that black widows are aggressive, they are actually quite non-aggressive and will only bite a person for self defense. They are solitary spiders who spend daylight hours deep in the tunnel of their webs. Their mating ritual is the only time during the year that they are not solitary, and they typically only live for about one year.
Black widows are extremely venomous, thought to be 15 times more venomous than a rattlesnake. A person who is bit by a black widow can expect symptoms such as nausea, muscle aches, and difficulty breathing. Their bites can be fatal to the young and the elderly, but it is very rare.
Black widows are solitary year-round except during its mating ritual. During the daylight hours, this spider spends its time in the silken tunnel of its web. The female will hang upside down displaying the red hourglass as a visible warning signal. They feed on insects and arthropods, and have an average lifespan of one year.
Black widows create their webs in holes or crevices in building foundations. They can also be found in holes on outdoor furniture. Crawl spaces underneath homes, as well as basements, are also good homes for a black widow’s web.