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Are There Black Widows In Missouri?

dead female black widow spider on the finger of a man

Are There Black Widows in Missouri?

The short answer is, yes. Black widow spiders can be found all over the United States, especially in states to the West and South. However, that is no reason for anyone to be suspicious of every black spider that crosses their path. Though it is true that the bite of the female black widow is quite venomous, it is also true that this lady has no real intention of biting anyone who treats her with respect. That doesn't mean that you want them finding refuge in your closet, but it shows that there is little reason for alarm.

Do Black Widow Spiders Kill People?

n the United States, a black widow bite rarely leads to death. The symptoms of a black widow bite can be quite severe and may include abdominal cramps, muscle pain, chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, stupor, restlessness, and shock. These can be extreme for as long as 12 hours. Fortunately, if you take precautions, you can avoid being bitten.  When a black widow spider bites, it chooses how much venom it wants to inject into the wound. Some bites don't result in envenomation. Bites that are nonvenomous are called dry bites. A black widow is more likely to inflict a venomous bite if it feels trapped. For this reason, it is a good idea to shake shoes, boots, clothing, towels, clothing, and other items these spiders may choose to hide in before you put them on.

Do Black Widows Spiders Kill Their Mates?

Yes, sometimes. It is said that the black widow earned her unfortunate name because the female will eat the male directly after mating. It is not entirely true, some males do escape with their lives and this unfortunate habit is observed mostly in captivity when the male is unable to get away. However, the name stuck. The female black widow is easily identified by the black glossy body with red spots on their abdomen in the telltale shape of an hourglass. She is usually about 1 1/2 inches long including legs. The male of the species is usually smaller, lighter in color and has a brown stripe down their backs. Most importantly, the male spider is completely harmless and very rarely seen.

Where Can Black Widows Be Found?

  • Dark, damp areas
  • Areas low to the ground
  • Secluded areas with little foot traffic

The black widow likes dark, damp areas to spend her time. She prefers low to the ground areas such as in the crevices of rocks, wood piles, and tree stumps. On occasion, she can be found in dark spaces inside sheds, and garages. She spins large, intricate webs made of strong, sticky threads that she hangs upside down on to show off her markings. This serves as a warning to any predators near her. The female will rarely leave her web, preferring her solitary life, eating other arachnids, flies and other insects who get caught in her web.

Another factor that motivates black widows is seclusion which is why they are often found in outbuildings, root cellars, basements, crawl spaces, garages, attics, barns, and other secluded areas. They're also likely to establish webs between stored boxes or inside those boxes if they can. And while black widows don't prefer to bite people, they can and will if they feel startled or if you get too close to them. When entering dark locations, use a flashlight and examine the area carefully before going in to avoid a run-in with these venomous spiders.

What Do Black Widows Eat?

Beetles

Beetles like moist, shaded locations. They'll congregate in the soil around your perimeter, taking advantage of the shadow cast by your home. They're also commonly found under your deck, stairs, and other external structures. This will make these locations attractive to black widows as well.

Crickets & Grasshoppers

Crickets and grasshoppers are commonly found in our yards. The presence of these insects in your yard will have black widows looking for holes or cavities to create their webs in so that unsuspecting lawn pests can be caught and eaten. It is not wise to mess around with any hole that has webbing in it as it can lead to bites.

Insects That Hide Under Things

A wide range of insects like to hide under or in between rocks. And the gap between rocks is a commonplace for black widow spiders to establish their webs. Be mindful that the rocks on your property could have black window hiding around them and be cautious when overturning or moving these stones.

How to Prevent Black Widows

  • Do an inspection of your exterior walls and basement walls. Use a caulking gun to seal any holes you find. Look closely around pipes, utilities, and other objects that pass through your walls.
  • Inspect your door and window screens for any holes, gaps, or tears, and repair or replace those screens.
  • Inspect closely around window frames for any holes, and cover or fill those holes.
  • Move stacked firewood, construction materials, lumber, stones, and other wood products as far away from your home as you're able.
  • Remove any ivy or vegetation from your foundation and exterior walls
  • Keep your lawn trimmed.
  • Alter storage conditions in your basement, garage, shed, or outbuildings. Keep items in sealable containers and try to get those sealed containers off the floor and away from the wall.

How to Exterminators Treat for Black Widows

If black widow spiders have shown up in your home, contact Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions today. Our experienced technicians take spider control seriously and will implement effective exterior barrier treatments that treat the following areas:

  • Around the perimeter of the foundation
  • Underneath siding
  • Patios & decks
  • Chimney attachments
  • Exterior trim
  • Thresholds
  • Both inside and outside outbuildings
  • And more

Unlike the common house spider, the black widow is a rare sight in St. Louis and the surrounding areas. Besides being few in number they will also avoid human contact only biting if they are handled or feel threatened. If you happen to see one, for safety's sake it is probably best to leave it be. If it is in or around your home, always call a professional company to take care of the problem.

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