Archive for the ‘Black Widow’ Category

Black Widow Spider Bites First Aid

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Black widow spider bites can be very scary. Although it might not sound comforting, it’s rare that a black widow bite is deadly. The black widow bite is more harmful to children and elderly people. In any case, a bite victim should be taken to a hospital for professional help as there are many uncomfortable side-effects from the poison.

Sometimes people might not realize they have been bitten by a black widow. There are some effects from the bite that will become obvious once you’ve been bitten. Just because you didn’t feel it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Here’s a list symptoms that could occur:

  • If you saw the bite happen check the area where the spider was, 2 red spots will appear from the bite. If you didn’t see the spider bite you, you should be able to find the spot from the itching that will develop.
  • The pain will move through your body from the bite mark but it will mainly affect your back and/or abdomen.
  • Swelling can occur in some areas of your body such as the bite mark, your feet and even your eyelids.
  • The poison that the black widow spider carries will also affect your nervous system.
  • Additional side-effects that can occur include:
    • Tightness or pain in your chest or muscles
    • Nausea
    • Heavy sweating
    • Weakness, most often in your legs
    • Itching
    • Vomiting

Since the black widow is poisonous you can call Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center at 1-800-362-0101.

Again this can be very scary and overwhelming, but try to stay calm and get yourself or the bite victim to the nearest hospital. If you have to wait for an ambulance, or for any reason can not get to a hospital, follow these simple steps to help aid the bite:

  • Clean the bite mark with soap and water.
  • Elevate the area that has been bitten to the level of your heart.
  • Put some antibiotic cream or lotion on the mark.
  • Apply a cold compress.

Spiders: The Black Widow

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

The black widow spider is the most venomous spider in the U.S. Interestingly, only the female black widow spider holds the claim to fame as the most venomous spider in the U.S. That’s because the male black widow spider can’t quite match up to its female counterpart. Yes, male black widows do have venom in them, but not nearly as much or as strong as the female. The female’s venom is said to be as strong as some rattlesnake’s venom. If you’ve been bitten, it’s important to try to capture the spider so you can check to see if it is male or female.

black widow spider female

Here is a female black widow spider.

There are distinct differences between the male and female to help identify them in the case of a bite. The female can be up to an inch and a half long and has a round shiny black body with a red spot in a shape resembling an hour glass. The male is smaller in size than the female but also has a round shiny black body. The body is usually smaller with longer legs than the females. Males have red and yellow stripes or spots on their bodies. In any case, a black widow spider bite should be taken seriously, especially in children and elder people. If you have determined the spider bite is from a female it would be best to go to the nearest hospital. There are also a few at-home first-aid steps for a black widow spider bite you can take to help aid the bite.

The black widow hangs upside down from its web which can sometimes be helpful to see its color and distinguish if it is male or female. The web that they hang from is silky, sticky, strong and often looks like it is tangled up.

The web for a black widow spider plays a few different roles. They spend most of their time in their web and do not like to venture far from it. The black widow sleeps on or near its web during the day because it is nocturnal. The black widows eat other insects that get trapped in its web like crickets, cockroaches, small spiders, and beetles. If no insects have been trapped within the web, the black widow will go hunt for its prey.

There are times where an object can be found hanging from the web. It is white to brown in color and some people say it looks like a moth ball. In reality, it is actually a sack of eggs that the spider has laid.

spiders black widow egg sack

Hanging on the side of a planter, this black widow is protecting her egg sacks.

The black widow reproduces in the summer time. It can take up to 30 days for the babies to come out of the sack. There can be anywhere from 100 to 600 baby black widow spiders in one sack, however not nearly as many are born. Oddly enough, baby spiders are cannibals and eat one another to survive until they are hatched. Sometimes only as many as 15 babies will survive. This notion of cannibalism can be found in adult female black widows too. While it does not happen in such a high frequency as the babies, the female will sometimes eat the male after mating with him.

The black widow spider lives all over the United States, although it is more prominent in the southern part of the country. Therefore, no matter where you are living, always check for black widow spider webs because many times, the spiders can be found on their webs. It is a natural reaction to get an object and try to kill one when found, however that is actually a very bad idea. The black widow can be harmless if it’s not disturbed. When people disturb it by trying to kill it, they will usually attack. If you do find black widows on your property, be very careful of what you do. It is best to just call your local pest control company to come out and take care of the spiders, so you do not risk getting attacked.

Many people find black widow spider webs inside and outside of their home. They like to spin their webs close to the ground so most often they will be found in dark areas and corners of the home, or even outside of the structure. Storage sheds or garages are also a popular place for the black widow to make its web. As with many other types of pests the black widow spider can be found in piles of wood, storage boxes, and underneath objects. They also like to live close to their food supply, which consists of other insects. So if you have a lot of crickets, cockroaches, beetles, or spiders around your home, have a professional pest control company come to your house regularly or use some store-bought spray and do-it-yourself. Read our blog on tips for preventing black widow spiders from your home.

Picture from www.creativecommons.org

Spiders: Black Widow Spider Prevention Tips

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

In general, spiders are a little harder to get rid of than your typical pest. Because spiders do not absorb things through their legs and feet like other pests, you can not just spray pesticides to keep them off your property. However there are some things that can be done to help prevent black widows from getting near your home.

With do-it-yourself-pest-control, the best remedy is fast action when you see a black widow. Pesticides will work if sprayed directly on the spider. If the spider is disturbed it may try to attack, so be cautious and keep your distance as you spray. Also, be ready to chase it if it starts running away. Another at-home remedy is leaving sticky traps around your property. This way you can trap them with out physically being around, which proves to be very helpful since they are nocturnal.

Having a professional pest control company service your home can help to prevent black widow spiders from getting near your home. That’s because black widows tend to live near their food supply which consists of other insects.  So, if your house is being maintained to keep other insects away it will not be as attractive for a black widow to make its home there.

Whether you’re having a professional exterminator come out to your home or you’re using do-it-yourself pest control, there are some additional preventative measures you can take to keep black widows away. Keep in mind that black widows like dark places and usually make their web close to the ground. Whether you’re inside your home or outside, keep your eye out for their tangled-up webs. Here are some tips to keep in mind for the inside of your home:

black widow spider prevention

A box against a wall is a black widow hot-spot.

  • Keep nothing underneath your bed.
  • Do not let your bed skirt touch the floor.
  • Try to keep your bed from actually touching the wall.
  • Keep any storage that is in your room away from the walls, it makes a perfect corner for black widows.
  • Keep your clothes and shoes in proper storage places, like hanging in the closet, dresser drawers, shoes boxes, or shoe racks.
  • When vacuuming get all of the corners, especially in dark areas, like behind and under furniture.
  • Check for any cracks or openings on walls, if present, seal them up.
  • Seal any openings in the door frame, and the threshold.
  • Check screens on doors and windows to make sure they are secure and do not have any holes. If they are not secure or have holes, replace them with new screens that fit properly and have no damage.

There are also things to do outside of your home that can help prevent black widows from settling on your property. Here are some tips for keeping your back, front, and side yard black widow free:

  • Keep grass, shrubs, and weeds trimmed; you do not want them getting too tall.
  • Keep trash, wood piles, plywood, storage and general junk away from the house (do not prop or pile against the exterior walls). Keep trash in a properly sealed trash can.
  • If you have a storage area or shed, check and/or shake any items from the shed before you use them. This is a hot spot for black widows.
  • Check and/or shake gardening equipment before using, especially gloves.
  • When doing yard work, make sure your hands are protected so they do not get bitten.

Picture from www.creativecommons.org