Some Black Widow spider facts:
Equipped with a venomous bite that is estimated fifteen times more potent than the average rattlesnake; the Black Widow is hand down the most toxic creature found within the United States.
Studies reveal that less than one percent of bites end up being fatal, with resulting symptoms of difficulty breathing, muscle aches, and vomiting.
Make no mistake though, this has nothing to do with our immune systems fighting off the neurotoxins. Instead, it is because the Black Widow rarely injects high levels of venom for unexplained reasons.
This fact alone is the only reason the mortality rate remains low, and should never be forgotten when dealing with this species.
It is also interesting to note that only mature female Black Widows inject venom into their prey. They can easily be identified because of their shiny, solid black color and the trademark red hourglass-shaped mark on their abdomens.
Their bodies measure about a 1/2 inch in diameter with long, thin legs. Males are tan in color and also have lighter patterns, and their bodies tend to be much smaller with slightly longer legs.
Juvenile Black Widows of both sexes do not possess venom either, and they often have light pale colors until they reach maturity.
The Black Widow has a lifespan of less than one year but within that period can lay in excess of 750 eggs.
They hatch within a month, and another two to four months are required to reach full maturity. Although birthrates are high, many juveniles of this species consume one another before reaching maturity.
Black Widows live within unevenly spun webs that are among the strongest silk varieties found, but they are also commonly spotted hiding beneath rocks, leaves, or other natural debris.
Like other spiders, they feed on a wide variety of insects but prefer cockroaches, beetles, and other spiders, but are also perfectly content feasting on mice, moths, flies, crickets, and other small animals.
A typical attack would encompass a quick venomous strike that causes near-instant paralysis or death within their prey, and within minutes the toxin begins to break down the flesh into a liquefied form.
As this process takes place this arachnid engulfs its victim within sticky webbing and eventually sucks out the soft, edible interior.
This species prefers warm, damp environments so obvious hiding places inside the home would include within blankets or towels, underneath furniture, and anywhere else with possible insect traffic since they will also seek warmer environments to survive.
If you spot other species of spiders during the winter months inside your home it may be wise to leave them alone.
Many of them prey on Black Widows and will reduce their presence. Also, consider a close inspection of the exterior of your home and seal any small cracks or crevices before the winter months approach.
If even a small infestation is found it needs to be eliminated immediately and probably best left to a professional with experience in the matter. If bitten by one of these arachnids, it is urgent to seek medical attention immediately.