How To Get Rid Of Black Widow Spiders In The Bay Area

black widow spider on a web

Despite the excitement that comes with fake cobwebs and plastic spiders every Halloween, seeing an eight-legged critter scurrying across your bedsheets evokes entirely different emotions, from annoyance to existential terror. Some of these creepy critters may have a benign presence in your home, but it's essential to be able to recognize some of the more dangerous spiders that live in the San Francisco Bay Area. While many Californians often prefer to live in denial, western black widow spiders are actually pretty common in and around homes and offices in the area and can cause harm if you come in contact with them.   

How To Identify Black Widow Spiders

Their shiny, black body is the typical black widow spider identifier. Females can be 3/4 of an inch long with legs over 1 inch long. Males are about half the size of females. For comparison, that's about the size of a half-dollar, including the legs. Female black widows also have the distinctive bright red hourglass-shaped marking on their lower abdomen and are venomous if you get bit. Males, on the other hand, look nothing like their female counterparts. They are typically brown to orange in color with light striping on their bodies and are generally harmless. In your home or office, you can easily identify whether a web was the work of a black widow by looking at the pattern. These spiders do not follow an organized pattern when making webs, but rather, their webs are three-dimensional and messy. 

Where Black Widows Hide

Black widow spiders hunt for prey and hide in dimly lit, cluttered areas that provide optimal conditions. Closets, garages, basements, and crawl spaces are common locations where they can be found in and around your home. They can also be found along siding that touches the ground, outside boards, foundational slabs, behind shrubs, and under stones. A black widow spider bite feels like a pinprick, and pain is typically immediately. Their venom is quite toxic, so anyone who is bit should immediately seek treatment from a medical professional. 

However, despite their fearsome reputation, they typically run away when they feel threatened. They are very timid and generally do everything they can to avoid confrontation. The exception is that a female spider will bite if she is guarding her eggs or if they get squashed or pinched. However, it is easy to avoid some encounters with black widows by being careful around areas with cobwebs or areas where humans don't visit regularly. If you do encounter a black widow, you can easily brush them out of the way with a large piece of cardboard or with a broom. 

The last thing you want is to be bitten unexpectedly. Bites from black widow spiders are quite rare, even where these spiders are prevalent. When moving storage around or cleaning up clutter, keep a careful eye out for black widow spiders. It's important to take sensible precautions such as wearing gloves when reaching into dark corners and spaces like high shelves. Also, take precautions when shaking out old linens, clothes, or towels that have not been used for a while. 

Spider Prevention Tips In The Bay Area 

Black widows enter into homes to escape inclement weather outside or to hunt for insects. To prevent spiders around your Bay Area home, here are a few prevention tips our experts recommend. 

  • Inspect window screens and doors around the home to make sure they are all in good condition.
  • Check your home thoroughly: Black widows are nocturnal, so they may be difficult to see during the day. Use a flashlight to check areas with poor lighting and if you see a spider, eliminate it from your home.
  • Inspect your home for holes and cracks and ensure all doors and windows have tight seals.
  • Keep your home vacuumed, web-free, dusted, and clean.
  • Use a caulking gun to seal up holes, cracks, and gaps in your home's exterior foundation.
  • Fix damaged weather stripping around your home.
  • Make sure all the exterior doors have sweeps installed beneath them.
  • Deter spiders by keeping your lawn mowed and clear, keep plants and vines away from your house and ensure rock piles, woodpiles, and trash piles are also far from your home.
  • Install yellow light bulbs to deter bugs that black widows feed upon.
  • Use a dehumidifier inside your home to keep moisture levels down.
  • Invest in insect-resistant bulbs or keep exterior lights turned off at night.

Contact The Professionals At Bay Pest Solutions

If there's an active infestation or you want to make sure black widow spiders never get into your Bay Area home, there is only one thing for you to do: reach out to the professionals at Bay Pest Solutions. Our team of highly trained pest technicians will put in place quality, long-lasting solutions to keep spiders (and the other pests they invade to hunt) out of your home. We have the tools and the experience to get to the root of your black widow spider infestation to eliminate the problem. Contact us at Bay Pest Solutions to schedule an appointment today.

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