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A black widow spider on a leaf

How to Get Rid of Black Widows

There may be no insect more infamous than the rare but dangerous black widow. So, if you see a little black spider with a red marking on its abdomen hanging around your house, it’s understandable to want to take immediate action. Black widow spiders are known for their ability to harm humans and animals, but they’re also quite common throughout Florida. Finding one spider occasionally might not be a big deal, but seeing multiple spiders – especially around or in your home – can be cause for concern. It’s important to act fast if you suspect a black widow infestation may be brewing so that you can minimize the risks these pests pose to you and your family.

Key Takeaways

  • Black widows can be fatal when they bite you, but more often, they only produce severe symptoms. Still, keeping black widow spiders out of your house is important, especially if you have children or pets.
  • These spiders are attracted to cool, dark areas like garages, attics, basements, woodpiles, closets, crawl spaces, storage areas, crevices, and other hiding spaces.
  • While insecticide can kill black widow spiders, you can also get rid of them with natural, DIY options you can make right at home. If your spider problem doesn’t go away or worsens, it may be time to call the professionals.

Identifying a Black Widow Spider

The most recognizable feature of a black widow is the red hourglass marking it has on the inner side of its abdomen. They are relatively small, between 3 and 10 mm, and female black widow spiders are a bit larger than their male counterparts. 

Black Widow Spider

An example of an adult female black widow spider. Source: Pixabay

Besides the red hourglass marking, the rest of the spider is either dark brown or black. During the breeding season, the female black widow may be accompanied by egg sacs in her web. You can also identify a male black widow by its white markings associated with red markings that are not in an hourglass formation.

Black Widow Spider

An example of an adult male black widow spider with red markings that differ from those of females. Source: Pixabay

Black Widow Spider Bites

Black widow spider bites release a venom that causes intense pain and burning at the location of the bite. Black widow venom can quickly spread through the body and cause more severe symptoms. Spider control is important when dealing with black widows because their bites can cause serious complications. Some of the symptoms of a black widow spider bite can include the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Intense abdominal cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness and uncontrollable shivering
  • Itchy rashes at the sight of the bite and elsewhere on the body
  • Muscle pain that becomes worse over several hours 

Pets and children are especially in danger of these more severe symptoms because they are smaller and more vulnerable. In adults, there are some cases in which people only experience minor symptoms after being bitten. But in pets and children, the likelihood of them suffering from serious and even fatal symptoms becomes more prominent. 

Many homeowners throughout North America find themselves in this situation and don’t know what to do.  No matter what, if you get bitten by one of these venomous spiders, it is important to act fast. 

First, the bite must be washed to rid it of any bacteria. Then, apply a cold compress to reduce any swelling and pain. It may be necessary to take a pain reliever or even antibiotics, depending on the severity of the bite. If your child is bitten by a spider with a red hourglass marking, take them to the emergency room, as they may require more intensive medical attention. 

Where Are Black Widows Commonly Found?

The black bodies of these spiders make them very elusive. Black widows often blend in easily with their environment and can be hard to find unless you’re looking for them. However, they sometimes make themselves at home in plain sight. 

These spiders love sheltered areas that are cool and dark. Such an environment protects them from potential predators, and these environments are often rich in food source options. If you suspect a black widow infestation might be on the horizon, there is a good chance you’ll find these spiders in the following areas:

  • Basements
  • Crawling along baseboards
  • In spider webs within dark, small areas
  • Dark corners
  • Attics
  • Tall grass
  • Entry points along the home: cracks in the foundation or caulk, crawlspaces, etc.
  • Basements
  • Kitchens or areas with easy food sources within reach

How to Get Rid of Black Widow Spiders (Safely)

If you find a black widow spider within reach, do not touch it with your bare hands, as it may bite you. Instead, dispose of it by sucking it up with a vacuum cleaner or trapping it. These spiders are especially likely to bite you if they feel threatened by your presence. 

Black widow spiders can be found from California to Florida and beyond. There’s no way to escape them entirely, but you can remove them from your house. However, there is a good chance that the spider will return if you don’t kill it or do something to keep it from coming back.

Pesticide is an easy choice, but if you want a more natural approach, try essential oils. Essential oils, like peppermint, have a very strong smell that most insects hate. You don’t need pest control experts to drizzle a few drops of these oils around your baseboards and entry points. Cedar or oregano oil can also make for a great repellant, and so can tea tree oil. 

If you keep finding black widows and DIY methods don’t seem to be working, it might be time to seek out professional pest management services you can trust. It’s important to do your due diligence and choose pest control specialists experienced with black widows. Once a full-blown black widow infestation occurs, DIY methods usually won’t be enough to fight it. 

Black Widow Prevention

What if you don’t have black widows in your house right now, but you want to prevent them from coming in? As mentioned before, strong scents can keep them at bay, but that method may not work all the time. Here are some other options you can try:

  • Lock up food sources in airtight containers. Make sure there’s nothing to lure spiders into your home.
  • Reduce clutter throughout the house. Piles of clothes, items, and trash make great hiding spots for spiders and other pests. Keep your home clean (remove dirty dishes, crumbs, stains, and other messes) for the same reason.
  • Regularly check dark corners and crevices throughout the house for signs of spider activity. Both female and male black widow spiders are similar to other insects in that they love safe, dark areas. These spots make it easy for them to hide, build webs, and produce offspring. 
  • Remove tall grass and other vegetation too close to your house to ensure spiders have nowhere to set up shop.
  • Use a pesticide as directed on the product’s packaging to safely deter and kill existing black widow spiders.

All of these methods can be extremely effective, especially when used together. 

Professional Black Widow Control in South Florida

The best way to get rid of black widow spiders in Fort Lauderdale is to contact a professional pest control company. While black widows aren’t a danger to you, it can be concerning having a spider in your home that has a harmful bite, especially if you have children or pets. 

Native Pest Management can get rid of black widow spiders naturally without harming the spiders, so you don’t have to worry about them hiding around any dark, spooky corners!

First, our technicians will do an inspection of your home to find out where the spiders are located. Next, they will use a de-webbing pole to remove black widow spider webs from your home. This will let the spiders know to find a new habitat. 

After removing the spider webs, your technician will address the food sources for black widow spiders around your home. Since black widow spiders feed on small insects like ants, beetles, flies, and roaches, seeing them around your home could mean you’re dealing with other pest infestations. 

If you remove the insects from your home that are attracting black widow spiders, you will see the spiders disappear.

At Native Pest Management, we pride ourselves in having pet-friendly, eco-friendly spider control to remove spiders from your home and allow them to safely return to the wild.  For the best black widow spider control in Fort Lauderdale, reach out to us today!