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Black Widow bites are immediately painful. The
pain at the site of the bite increases during the first
half hour following a bite. Two small red marks from
Latrodectus mactans
the fangs will be noticeable on the skin. After the first
half hour other symptoms such as headache, dizziness,
shortness of breath, abdominal and back pain set in.
Death seldom results from Black Widow bites to
healthy adults; children and the elderly, however, are
vulnerable. Victims should receive hospital treatment
as soon as possible.
Habitat Alteration
Eliminate harborage sites carefully.
Pesticide Application
Pesticides must come directly into contact with the
spiders since they do not leave their webs or wander
after they have become established in the summer.
A control method found in nature is employed by
Mud Dauber wasps; they paralyze spiders and store
them in their mud cells for their larvae to devour. One
spider wasp family is known to provision its burrows
with spiders. These predators are particularly active in
The Black Widow spider, the species Latrodectus
the western states.
mactans, is distributed over the eastern and southern
United States. Two very similar species overlap that
range and extend into the western and northwestern
Female Black Widows have large, round, shiny
Loxosceles reclusa
black abdomens usually decorated with two touching
red triangles on the belly. They hang upside down in
the web, and the red hourglass is obvious. Sometimes
dull red dots appear on the back, and occasionally the
triangles don't touch, but this l/2 inch or larger, shiny
black spider is unmistakably unique and eye catching.
Male Black Widows are small, white and streaked with
yellow and red; they are not dangerous.
Black Widow females are not aggressive but will
give full attention to anything that disturbs the web.
They weave tangled webs of coarse silk in dark, quiet
locations. Mature females are so large they can hardly
crawl. While pest management technicians are not
commonly called on for Black Widow spider control,
they may well run into these spiders when inspecting
crawl spaces, porches, garages, and sheds for other
pests. Black Widow spiders can be found in stacked
pots or baskets, firewood piles, rodent burrows, water
meters, stacked boards, under bricks and stones.
Loxosceles reclusa is a dusky-tan or brown spider
Usually the spiders are outside, but they may be
brought inside, or the young may move inside on
with the widest range of any recluse spider in the
ground floors, Western Black Widows are likely to be
United States. It ranges from central Texas, north to
found outside in bird nests, on low plants and in grape
Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, and south through Illinois,
arbors. Move cautiously when treating any potential
North and South Carolina, northwestern Georgia, and
spider harborage.
Alabama, with a few collections in adjacent states and
Module Two, Chapter 3, Pg 2


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