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Black Widow Spiders: Nature's Odd Couple

Serving Families Throughout North Texas
Black Widow Spider on its web together with its egg sack and another spider.

There are many strange creatures in nature, with unique features and characteristics—black widow spiders are among these. They earn their name for their cannibalistic mating ritual. Because of this, you won’t see many male black widows. However, you will see females, and they’re far more venomous. Continue reading for some tips on identifying black widows around your Frisco, TX home, along with information about their webs, and how to keep them out of your home.

Identifying Black Widow Spiders

When you think of a black widow spider, you probably think of the female. They are shiny black spiders with a telltale red hourglass on their abdomen. The hourglass can be a lighter orange or yellow, but when you see the hourglass shape, you’ll probably know not to get too close. The males are half the size of a female and often lighter in color. They have red or pink spots across their back that differentiates them from other spiders.

Black Widow Webs

Black widow webs are easy to identify because the female black widow will probably already be on the web. She rarely leaves and has a small funnel built into the nest to use as a hiding place. Black widow webs are uneven looking with three levels, for protecting the web and trapping prey. They often build near a food source, and are primarily found outdoors— in woodpiles, near foundations, in the corner of a barn, or around rocks. They may also build nests indoors, in secluded spaces such as closets, attics, or basements. They tend to avoid humans and will only bite when threatened. 

Mating Rituals

During the late spring, black widows begin looking for mates. Although the females can live up to three years, the males only tend to live for one or two months—largely because of their mating habits. Females will kill and eat the male after they have mated, perhaps to provide protein for her babies. She then lays the eggs in an egg sac, which can hold up to 900 eggs. When the babies are born, they share their mother's cannibalistic tendencies, and few babies survive to adulthood. 

Black Widow Prevention

To deter black widows from coming into your house, you need to eliminate their food source. Black widows eat small insects such as flies and crickets. If you keep these pests out of your home, you will also be keeping out black widows. To keep pests from coming inside, you need to start outside. A clean and well-trimmed yard will provide fewer hiding places for spiders and other bugs, and make your yard less inviting. You should then focus on the exterior of your house, sealing any cracks or holes and making sure the screens on doors and windows are intact. From there, you can move indoors and focus on keeping your home clean and food in tightly sealed containers. Lastly, if you do find black widows in your house, it may be time to call in professional pest control.

If you have spiders in your Frisco home, call Adam's Exterminators to come out and take a look. We can help you identify what other pests may be attracting black widows to your home. We will then create a treatment plan that eliminates any pests that act as food for black widows, and remove any black widows currently living in your home. It's a win-win situation!

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