How to Get Rid of Black Widow Spiders

A black widow spider on a leaf in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Black widow spiders are common spiders in Fort Lauderdale identified by their shiny black bodies and a distinguishable red hourglass mark on their abdomens. While you may look at photos and think they are huge, scary spiders, they are actually quite small and easy to miss in plain sight.

Many people are weary of black widows because of their harmful venom; however, bites are rarely fatal and usually only occur in young children, the elderly, or the immunocompromised. 

In reality, spiders are an important species, and have been around longer than humans. They are one of the very few spiders (about 0.1%) that can actually harm humans, but they only bite in cases of defending themselves.

I, for one, think black widow spiders are fascinating, despite the evolutionary response that would lead me to stay far away from them if I saw one in person. One reason for this is that while their venom is 15 times stronger than rattlesnake venom and could be predatorial toward humans, they choose to stay quiet and respectful to us, and will only bite when they feel in danger. 

The other reason is their silk - Spiderman is a superhero for a reason. If humans had spider silk, we would be practically invincible. To add on to that, the theory goes that spider silk has medicinal properties. 

The black widow spider that we know and recognize, and is discussed in this article is the female black widow spider. The male black widow is a brown or gray spider with small red spots and is rarely seen by humans. 

What Does a Black Widow Spider Web Look Like? 

While you may compare a black widow spider to an intricately crafted web, perfectly symmetrical and thoroughly planned, the black widow spider web is the complete opposite. Much like how highly intelligent people often have illegible handwriting, black widow spiders “write” their web with a lack of clear form but a strong function. 

Black widow spider silk is stronger than steel. It’s so strong that doctors are working on a synthetic version to build bridges with (now imagine we actually produced spider silk to do this!)

The type of spider web that black widow spiders create is called the tangled web, also known as a cobweb. There is a myth that a cobweb is always an abandoned spider web - if you see one, it could actually belong to a black widow!

Black widow spider web in Fort Lauderdale

How Black Widow Spiders Catch Prey

When an insect gets caught in a web, the black widow will immediately secure the prey by wrapping it in silk. Then, the spider will use her fangs to inject venom and digestive enzymes to kill and liquefy the prey. Spiders can only consume liquids, so they have to do this every time. 

Black Widow Spider Bites 

While black widow bites can cause quite a bit of discomfort, the actual bite doesn’t feel like much at all, with as much pain as a pinprick and as little as no pain at all. You may see a small puncture that eventually turns red and develops into a target shape. 

Symptoms can include intensifying pain, nausea, tremors, breathing difficulties, increased blood pressure, and fever. 

Most cases improve within 2 to 3 days. With medical treatment, complications are rare. Black widow spider bites are nothing to panic over, but it is a good idea to get in touch with your doctor.

How to Prevent Black Widow Spider Bites 

The best way to prevent black spider bites is to be aware of your surroundings. Black widows prefer dark, moist places. Indoors, you may find a black widow in a garage, tool shed, basement, or in dark cluttered corners or closets. 

Using garden gloves while working in nature could be helpful to prevent spider bites on the skin, and avoid being barefoot anywhere there might be black widows. 

What Should I Do If I See a Black Widow Spider?

First things first, if you see a black widow spider, don’t panic and don’t do anything erratic to scare the spider. This will be counterproductive and you may get bitten. 

Instead, stay calm and do not touch the spider. The next best solution is to reach out to a local pest control company in Fort Lauderdale. While they will not kill the spider, they will address the issues that may be attracting spiders to your home, such as food sources or preferred habitats like clutter or cardboard boxes. 

Another solution a pest control company will recommend is closing entry points such as cracks or crevices or broken screens. Use caulk to close cracks or other openings, and ensure that your screens are in working order. 

Following these steps may not lead to an immediate fix, but you should see the population of spiders in your home slowly disappear. 

What Should I Do if I Get Bitten By a Black Widow Spider? 

If you believe you’ve been bitten by a black widow spider, you shouldn’t worry, but you should seek medical attention. While complications from black widow spiders are rare, the symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and a doctor can ease your discomfort while ensuring your health. 

How to Get Rid of Black Widow Spiders Naturally

It isn’t a good idea to kill any black widow spiders on contact or to attempt to kill them at all. Like many spiders, the black widow is a beneficial predator for eating insects like flies, mosquitoes, locusts, and caterpillars.

With all of this in mind, threatening the black widow population would do more harm rather than good. It would lead to more people with spider bites and a higher insect population. 

The best way to get rid of black widow spiders naturally is through prevention. Understanding them is the first step. 

Black widow spiders may be predators, but not to everything. Toward humans, they only bite defensively when they’re startled. Examples of this would include sitting on the spider or accidentally interfering with its habitat such as reaching under a pile of stones the spider is living in. 

Another important way to get rid of black widow spiders is by removing their food sources which are small insects. We have plenty of guides all about pest control to get rid of ant infestations, roach infestations, and more. 

Finally, it’s a good idea to get rid of any spider webs you find, just make sure there isn’t a spider currently living there! When the spider returns and sees her home is gone, this will tell her to move on to another habitat. 

Black Widow Spider Control in Fort Lauderdale, FL 

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!

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