Black Widow Myths
"The best lies have an element of truth."
As spiders go, the black widow is definitely a spider no one needs to tangle with. It is one of only a handful of poisonous spiders in the United States, so it is not surprising that, through the years, these scary black arachnids have earned a reputation. But that reputation far exceeds reality. Let's take a look at a few myths people believe about black widow spiders and see what we can learn that will help us protect ourselves in our yards and inside our homes.
A Black Widow Always Eats Her Mate
First of all, black widows do sometimes eat their mates, but those female black widows don't do it on purpose. And, in their defense, they're not the only spiders that do this. Studies of spider behavior have concluded that spider species with larger females end up eating the smaller males 80% of the time. So, it isn't that black widow females are evil. They're just doing what is natural for them. As for their motive, they eat the males simply because they are easy prey and valuable as food. While we humans tend to frown on cannibalism, arachnids have no such foibles. They are opportunistic feeders.
A Bite From A Black Widow Is Deadly
There are over 300 million people living in the United States. Do you know how many die from a black widow spider bite annually? Around five. And those who die from black widow spider bites often have compromised immune systems or a severe allergic reaction to the venom. So, it can hardly be said that black widow spiders are deadly, especially considering that more than 2,400 bites are reported to American poison control centers each year. It may have once been true that a bite from a black widow spider was almost certain death, but with our modern medical infrastructure, it is not true anymore. Let's put this into even greater perspective. Do you know how many people die from bee stings each year? Around 50.
Black Widow Spiders Wait In The Shadows To Bite Us
There are some who believe that black widow spiders crawl around with a chip on their shoulder just looking for a way to bite us, but this is simply not true. It is also not true that they wait in the shadows to attack. We are not food for these spiders. They have no reason to want to bite us. But, they will bite if we invade their space. And sometimes their space is a portion of our space, like a boot, a stored box, a towel on the floor, or a bed.
Black Widow Spider Bite Prevention
Now that we've learned a little bit more about these misunderstood arachnids, let's take a look at a few ways we can prevent accidental bites.
- When working in the yard, always wear gloves. Be careful when you turn objects over, and look closely before putting your hand into a pile of brush. Black widow spiders will hide under objects in your and they are fond of establishing webs inside brush piles.
- Be sure to examine dark locations underneath decks, patios, and other outdoor structures, before crawling in. These are perfect hiding spots for black widows.
- These spiders feed on bugs. When you reduce bugs in your yard, you make your yard less attractive to black widow spiders.
- Inspect your exterior walls and seal any entry points you find.
- Replace or repair window and door screens.
- Shake shoes before putting your feet inside.
- Shake any towel or clothing that has been on the floor.
- Pull blankets down and take a quick peek before getting in.
- Be cautious when opening boxes that have been in a storage location.
At Innovative Pest Control, black widow spiders are just one of the many pest threats we protect our customers from. Reach out to us for cost-effective pest control service that works to control poisonous spiders and all of the bugs they eat. Ask about our Advantage Plus+, Advantage Total, and Advantage Gold pest control programs and see which one is best for your specific needs. We look forward to assisting you with industry-leading pest management services for your Texas property.