Black Widows

May 26th, 2012

… another public service announcement …

I saw my first black widow spider many years ago – in a box of mail-order plants I was unpacking. Nothing bad happened. I smashed it with a trowel and it made a good story and I assumed I’d never see another.

I saw my second black widow spider here in the woods of central Virginia. It was a few years ago, maybe 2007 or 2008. I probably should have killed it.

I saw my third black widow spider on Monday of this week. On my front porch! I knocked it down and stomped on it with my garden clogs.

Black Widow Spider

The Monday front porch spider

I saw my fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh black widow spiders yesterday. All in various place on the outside of our house. But now some of them were busily making babies.

Black Widow Spider

One of the Friday black widows

I shredded my green credentials and called an exterminator. I really hated to do it, but we just can’t have so many of these things around. Everything I read about them says they inhabit damp dark spots generally hidden to human view. Well I don’t know about that – all the ones I’ve seen have been clearly out in the open. With the exception of one that was on the foundation nestled up against the first row of siding, all the rest were under the eaves of the house and garage. How many more are there in those damp dark hidden places?

What would Rachel Carson do?

More information about black widow spiders:


6 Responses to “Black Widows”

  1. I think you can keep your green credentials. Maybe they are a little more olive than bright green today, but… hey, those things could kill you! If ever there was a time to embrace chemicals, this is it.

    Glad that you found them, before they found you!

    • entangled says:

      Thanks for the soothing words! I didn’t feel like I had a choice. Our neighbors have young children and I just felt it would be irresponsible to let the spiders proliferate. I was surprised to learn that the fatality rate is fairly low – 1% or less – but children are more likely to die than adults if bitten. And according to the exterminator it’s extremely unusual to see so many black widows at one time, so this really is an exceptional situation.

  2. Wendy says:

    Wow. I was just thinking that those guys have got to be hiding everywhere, but hopefully the exterminator is right!

    • entangled says:

      I don’t know…I think they may be hiding everywhere. I found 2 more females yesterday morning and 1 male this morning. I’m getting the exterminator back out here ASAP.

  3. When they are so close to the house it sounds more like Self-defence, Entangled. They might be around here but I haven’t seen them. Of course I also didn’t see the brown recluse spider crawling on me until one of the Divas of the Dirt dispatched it. Good luck!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    • entangled says:

      Yikes! A brown recluse on you! That’s so scary.

      Exterminators these days seem to use much less toxic stuff than they used to. Whatever he used the first time he was here didn’t do much of anything, so we had him come out again. He used different equipment the second time. I’m debating whether to have him come back again. I’ve only found 2 live black widows since the last treatment. Before that it was like 3 or 4 every day.

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