It’s that time of the year again. Hot summer days bring out the spiders. The black widow spider is a notorious spider identified by the dark colored & red hourglass-shaped mark on their abdomens. Their bite is considered particularly dangerous because of the neurotoxin latrotoxin. In humans, bites produce muscle aches, nausea, and a paralysis of the diaphragm that can make breathing difficult; however, contrary to popular belief, most people who are bitten suffer no serious damage—let alone death. But bites can be fatal—usually to small children, the elderly, or people with low immunity systems. The severity of the reaction can depend on the age and physical condition of the person bitten. Fortunately, fatalities are fairly rare.
The spiders are nonaggressive and bite only in self-defense, such as when someone accidentally sits on them, or grabs one while moving a piece of equipment or lumber. Adult male black widows wander in search of females but do not bite. Black widows are nocturnal and, thus, active at night preferring dark corners or crevices. They are said to avoid human dwellings, but you can find them in such areas as outhouses, garages, sheds, exterior stairways, and under the lower lip of siding. The female lays several batches of eggs, containing up to 500 eggs each in one summer and the young black widows are colored orange and white when they emerge 1 to 4 weeks later.
Normally, only a few of the young survive after the egg incubation period of 14 to 30 days, due to cannibalism by their fellow spiderlings. The silk of this spider is known to be the strongest of all silk. They do not spin the pretty webs, instead she will spin a thick jumbled looking cobweb. These webs catch beetles, flies, grasshoppers, moths and other spiders. So aware of where and what you grab around you home this summer or you could experience a painful bite.