Hello friends, Hunter here; welcome back to my weekly dog-blog, What’s Buggin’ You? Last week I wrote about the Red Imported Fire Ant and the danger they pose to you if you disturb their mounded nest. This week I’m going to write about another very dangerous creature that we all should be aware of; the Black Widow Spider.

You may or may not be familiar with the black widow spider. Many of you have seen them on occasion during your lifetime. If you do come in close contact with one; back off and avoid their bite at all costs! The males and juveniles of both sexes pose no danger to humans; however, be aware of the “lady in black and red”, the female black widow’s bite is very dangerous to humans and any other living creature.

Their lethal blends of neurotoxins reap havoc on a victim’s nervous system, blood pressure, and respiratory rate; in smaller prey, the strike can often lead to death almost instantly. The venom also breaks down skin, muscle, and even bone into liquid form for the Black Widow to digest, which in humans can take as little as thirty minutes to an hour. The only reason Black Widows are not one of the leading causes of death in North America is because of the spider herself. She fears humans, and will only strike when there is no other option. Even when she feels completely trapped and forced into attacking, her focus is still on escaping alive. Therefore, the Black Widow only injects a trivial amount of venom before releasing a human and running for safety. It is this reason alone that the tiny 1% fatality rate from Black Widows is not enormously greater. Personally, I hate spiders. If I see a Black Widow I’m taking off like I’m being chased down by an angry Pit Bull!

Like all species of spider, the Black Widow is nocturnal and prefers to hunt for prey during evening hours. The females are easily identified by their solid black color and signature red hourglass shape on their lower abdomens, while the males are closer to light brown in color with various tan markings. Both sexes weave an unsymmetrical web in various shape and sizes and contain a stronger silk compound than any other spider.

The average lifespan of a female Black Widow is between nine and fifteen months, during which time she can produce in upwards of 700 offspring. Their primary diet consists of other spiders, mice, insects, moths, crickets, and other small mammals. The greatest threat to them comes from predatory birds and many of the same species they feed upon.

Black Widows normally live a life of solidarity except when mating or caring for their young, so infestation of this species is not common unless an overwhelmingly abundant presence of insects are available. This can be avoided by removing any standing water from your property since this typically serves as a breeding ground for flies and mosquitoes Another approach would be to make your residence less attractive to spiders by cutting back the shrubbery, removing any tree limbs close to the roof, and raising firewood and any other debris at least twelve inches off of the ground.

Most spiders, including the Black Widow, only require a small crack to pass through so also make sure to thoroughly caulk every crack and crevice around the outside of your home, Also, routinely inspect areas such as doorjambs and windows to ensure a proper seal.

If these sensible tips do not keep the Black Widow outside of your residence, call Loyal. We’ll get ’em!!

If you have any questions; don’t hesitate to call us, go to our website, or get in touch through popular social media.

Until next time, this is Hunter your Loyal K-9 Termite Detective asking “What’s Buggin’ You?” I’ll bark at you later!! Ruff! Ruff!

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