Are you familiar with the black widow spider? If you live in Denver, we hope you're up to speed. The black widow spider is considered by experts to be one of the most venomous creatures in all of North America. But not all black widows are dangerous. We hope to show you today that, with a small amount of work, you can mitigate the threat of a black widow spider bite. Here's what all Denver residents should know about black widow spiders.
Know Your Enemy
One of the best ways to protect yourself from black widow spiders is to know what they look like in all stages of development. While it can be easy to identify a female black widow by her jet black coloration and the red hourglass shape on the bottom of her abdomen, you might not see her until it is too late.
You should familiarize yourself with what the smaller, male black widow spiders and, the even smaller, juvenile spiders look like. The appearance of these spiders can alert you to the presence of a female. Why the distinction? We're glad you asked.
Female Black Widows Are The Real Danger
If you are bitten by a male black widow spider or a juvenile, you are not in any danger. It is the bite of a female that presents a medical threat which could have you taking a trip to the hospital. Take a moment to do an image search for male black widow and juvenile black widow spiders. You should get an idea of what they look like.
You'll also learn that female black widows don't always have an hourglass pattern and that they can have a marking on the tops of their abdomens. The most common species in Denver is Latrodectus hesperus, referred to as the western black widow. Females of this species have the red hourglass marking. Males are a tannish orange coloration with black bands on the legs and areas of spotted black on the body.
But Not Always
A female black widow bite isn't always dangerous. It is possible to get a dry bite—this is a bite without the injection of venom. A female may give you a dry bite as a warning. If you enter a space that has a female spider hiding in it, she might let you know you're not welcome by quickly scrambling to you and giving you a dry bite—particularly if you touch her web by accident.
Dangerous bites are likely to happen when you accidentally trap a black widow spider, such as putting on clothing that she is hiding inside, slipping your food into a shoe she is exploring, or sliding into bed with her by accident. You can prevent this kind of unwanted contact with preventative tips such as the following:
- Shake clothes, towels, and other items before use.
- Shake and tap footwear before sliding your feet inside.
- Turn your covers down and examine your bed before tucking yourself in.
- Remove the skirting from your beds and make sure your bedding doesn't touch the floor during the night.
Where You're Likely To Find A Black Widow Spider
You've probably heard that you should be cautious about putting your hand into a ground hole or tree hole. It is because black widows like to hide in these places. They may also be found in the voids of man-made objects and structures. If you see tangled webbing, it is best to avoid it. This is the kind of webbing created by widow spiders.
How To Keep Black Widow Spiders Out
You may find relief in knowing that black widow spiders don't want to live with you. When they get inside, they typically go back outside. The best way to keep them out of your home is to make it difficult for them to get inside in the first place.
- Seal foundation cracks.
- Fill in gaps around foundation penetrations.
- Replace weatherstripping if gaps are forming.
- Replace old door sweeps or install sweeps that aren't present.
- Refrain from leaving your doors open.
- Repair damaged screens and seal gaps around screen frames.
If you seal your exterior, this may be enough to prevent black widow spiders from getting into your home, but it won't stop them from living near your home. The more spiders you have near your home, the greater the chances you will have of an infestation. Consider the following tips:
- Remove leaf litter, leaf piles, stacked sticks, and other organic debris.
- Thin your landscape vegetation so that there are no dense areas.
- Move wood piles away from your exterior.
- Remove items from your yard that these spiders can hide inside.
Where Pest Control Fits In
There is no better way to prevent encounters with harmful pests in your yard than to invest in a residential pest control plan. This is where we can help. For the absolute best protection, reach out to Absolute Pest Control. We service the Denver area with industry-leading pest control solutions. We also provide quality commercial pest management services.
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