Black widow spiders in Menifee are a stressful reality that we all have to deal with. However, when you're armed with knowledge about these infamous spiders, you'll be better able to understand their habits and when it's time to call in the professionals.
This article discusses seven interesting facts about black widow spiders and prevention and safety tips for around the home.
Black Widow Spiders in Menifee: What You Should know
Various shows and movies have slightly misled the public about black widow spiders. While their bites are painful and they are certainly a danger to children and the elderly, it's essential to understand what's fact and what is fiction.
1. Black widows aren’t the deadliest spiders on Earth
While black widows do pack a powerful bite, they aren’t the deadliest spider on Earth. According to Smithsonian Magazine, that title belongs to the Australian redback spider, which is a relative to the black widow.
However, the black widow spider is the deadliest spider inhabiting North America. One bite from a black widow packs 15 times more power than that of a rattlesnake. The chemical in a black widow’s venom is called alpha-latrotoxin, which causes your nerve cells to trigger all your chemical signals simultaneously. This brings severe pain, including swelling, cramping, sweating, chills, headaches, high blood pressure, or severe stomach, back, or chest pain.
But keep in mind a black widow is small, so one bite doesn’t release that much venom, though it is still painful. Therefore, they aren't considered deadly to adults. However, black widow bites are considered to be extremely dangerous for children and the elderly.
2. Black widow antivenom comes from horses
Luckily, antivenom for black widow bits has been around since the 1930s. Not everyone who has a black widow bite needs antivenom, but those pregnant or who have a history of high blood pressure will need a dose of antivenom. Presently, around 2,500 people still go to the emergency room due to black widow bites.
Doctors create antivenom by first exposing a horse to a small amount of venom. As a result, the horse produces specific antibodies that combat the venom, and then doctors extract the horse's blood, capture the antibodies, and purify them for human use.
3. There are various kinds of black widows
There are many different kinds of black widow spiders worldwide, and scientists continue to discover more all the time. For example, in 2019, scientists uncovered a new black widow spider in South Africa, the Phinda button spider, which lays purple eggs!
But the three specific species that call North America home include:
Latrodectus Hesperus (Western)
Latrodectus various (Northern)
Latrodectus mactans (Southern)
Menifee is home to the Latrodectus Hesperus, the Western black widow spider. Female black widows measure about 1.5 inches long, and they have shiny, black bodies with the infamous red hourglass-shaped marking on their back. Male black widows are half the size, are a lighter black color, and have red or pink spots on their backs.
4. The female doesn’t always eat the male
Most of us probably know about black widows because once the male mates with the female, he suffers a tragic ending. So that's why these spiders are known as black widows, right?
Well, while it’s true that the females might eat the male after mating, it actually doesn’t happen all the time. Actually, according to scientists, they suspect that female black widows eat their male companions about two percent of the time.
This could be a result of males using strategies for finding less risky encounters. For example, a male can sense how hungry a female black widow is by her pheromones. Seems wise to avoid a lady black widow if she's super hungry, right?
5. Black widows liquefy their food before eating
The black widow diet consists of flies, mosquitoes, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and beetles. After setting up a web, the black widow hangs out, upside down, waiting for prey. Once an unsuspecting insect gets caught in the web, the black widow injects the insect with digestive enzymes that essentially liquefies the inside of the body. Then the black widow enjoys a liquid dinner.
6. The red hourglass mark has a message
The most notable feature of a black widow spider is that red hourglass mark on the abdomen. Well, that mark has a purpose. It sends a message not only to humans but other animals too that says: Danger! Message well received by everyone.
But the red markings also protect black widows. Birds and wasps generally do not like red markings, so they will avoid swooping in for a black widow meal. According to researchers at Colorado College, 3D-printed spiders without red spots were three times more likely to get attacked by birds than those with red spots.
7. Black widows hibernate
When the weather turns cold, instead of dying off, black widows enter a hibernating state called overwintering. Ideal places include sheds and garages, and they tuck their legs under their bodies and stay put. A black widow's metabolic rate slows down considerably so they can save energy and will reemerge in the spring to find a mate.
Prevention Tips for Black Widows in Menifee
In Menifee, the peak black widow season is late summer and early fall. Black widows mate in the spring, and babies mature into full adults by mid to late summer.
Some signs that you may have a black widow problem around your Menifee home include messy webs and egg sacs in doorways. You can follow some easy prevention tips to help prevent black widows from nesting around your Menifee home.
Reduce clutter: Try to keep the clutter in and around your home to a minimum. This includes removing wood and brush from around the house.
Seal all openings: Look for possible entry points, like cracks and gaps, and seal them tight.
Always wear gloves: If you're cleaning out the garage and digging through old boxes, be sure to protect yourself by wearing gloves for any surprises.
Wear shoes inside and outside: This is the best way to avoid painful bites on your foot.
Call in the professionals: Pest control techs, like The Local Bug Guy, are trained specially in exterminating black widow spiders.
Got Black Widow Spiders in Menifee? Call Your Local Bug Guy
When it comes to pest control in Menifee, we know everything about spiders. So that’s why our techs are specially trained to wrangle black widow spiders, brown widow spiders, wolf spiders, and jumping spiders.