What do black widows look like?
While some of these black spiders have a red hourglass shape on their abdomens as a dead giveaway, others have varying patterns that are orange-red or red. They aren’t very large, being 1.5 inches long and a quarter of an inch wide.
What is their habitat like?
Their webs are used for housing the spider’s eggs before hatching and to catch prey. A black widow’s diet consists of mosquitoes, flies, beetles, caterpillars and grasshoppers. Once the black widow’s food is entangled in the web, the comb-footed spider will use the bristles on its hind legs to wrap their prey in silk, trapping them. At this point, the spider bites the insect which means injecting it with digestive enzymes that will turn the bug to a liquid, allowing the spider to basically drink its meal. These arachnids are also very solitary creatures, and you will usually only see a black widow when it tries to mate.
What happens if a black widow bites me and how can I avoid it?
The first step you can take to prevent a spider bite is using caution when putting on clothes (shake them out, and check inside shoes) can save you from being bitten. Also, looking before touching is a good rule of thumb when it comes to a dimly lit/dark area or wearing gloves if you need to move rocks outside. Keeping your bed sheets from touching the floor is also a good habit, or checking in your sheets before crawling into bed. These steps will help, as these are the most common times people are bitten by spiders. If you are bitten, immediately call your doctor! Do not attempt to self-medicate or ignore the bite. Possible beginning stage of this spider bite includes nausea, muscle aches and paralysis of the diaphragm which inhibits air intake. Fatalities usually occur in the elderly, small children and those with weakened immune systems; however, fatalities are rare.