Black widow?Still have heeby jeebies!!!

putchika(z7 VA)September 12, 2004

This evening I was doing some yucky yard work. Raking leaves-moving stones-messing with the compost etc. It was getting late and I was tired but I was on a serious roll and just kept huffing these big rocks (we have them all through our yard) over to our new chiminea. Thank god I had gloves on. I was barefoot but my husband threw down a pair of flip-flops LOL.

I propped this rock on my shoulder and out of the corner of my eye I see this movement and there she was..black widow(I think)! It freaked me out SO bad that I tossed the rock down and in the process smooshed her a little bit that she wasn't moving. I screamed SO loud. I hate spiders. Give me a snake any day over a spider. Well, my husband took her on a stick and she had the hourglass on her underbelly but she also had several red spots on her top. She was shiny black and big! Maybe a male widow or is this common? Well, I just knew I had gotten bit but I didn't and I am fine. Sombody upstairs telling me go inside-you've done enough!! LOL I ran in took a shower and have been suffering with the heeby jeebies all night! Decided to get on here and see what info I could find! Wear your gloves everyone! Oh-and if your huffing rocks that are in the ground a tank top is probably not the best shirt selection for the task! LOL When will I learn?

Tonia : )

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

It certainly sounds like you've come across a female black widow spider. Please don't freak!!!! I assure you that they are so non-agressive! The southern black widow can be quite large and often has red or even yellow splotches on her back. It is ONLY the female that has the hour glass pattern on her tummy.

These spiders aren't uncommon, but you truly have to make them bite you. Keep up with the yard work, clearing out their habitats, but don't lose any sleep about these rather lazy, slow critters.

Take care and continue to enjoy your garden.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2004 at 10:34PM
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putchika(z7 VA)

WOW! Thanks for the information. I tell you..it scared me SO badly that I called a pest company to come and treat my house and yard!! Then when they came for the free estimate I realized the HARMFUL products they used so I opted against it. Do you possibly have any advice as to how to "Spot" them? What their webs look like or anything? Thanks again! Tonia

    Bookmark   September 20, 2004 at 9:42PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I've attached a pretty good fact sheet for you. The more you know about them, the more in control you'll feel....right?????

The webs are sort of hodge podge, disorganized....no pattern. They tend to make them low to the ground, like between two porch containers, underneath a picnic table or bench, in the garage, a wood pile, stacked pots, etc. They will always choose areas where they do not expect to be disturbed. Outside, look before you stick your hands anywhere. I'll bet if you and your husband walk around the yard, you'll find many such places to investigate.

They don't jump and attack so these spiders can be swept to the ground with a broom and stomped on. I hate spiders, too, and this is what I would do. I've learned to tolerate most spiders and to leave them alone. Poisonous spiders have to go, as do any I find inside the home that are bigger than a pencil eraser! Good luck and don't be afraid.

Here is a link that might be useful: black widow information

    Bookmark   September 21, 2004 at 5:05PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

The natural predator for black widows and other spiders is the mud dauber wasp. If you are not allergic to wasp stings, you can host a mud dauber convention in your garage or shed by leaving a crack open for them to come and go as they please. Mud daubers are very sociable wasps and, after an initial period of curiosity, will leave you completely alone unless you swat at them or happen to poke your finger into their nest. My office has been in my garage for several years, so I've been seeing them come and go with me all this time.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2004 at 9:36AM
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putchika(z7 VA)

Thank you for the link. It was very helpful. Just to let you all know...I decided to go on a kindof "hunt" for those creatures and have found 2 more. In my greenhouse I had a big stack of jiffy peet pots on the ground. Picked some up and sure enough another black widow. I was a little more calm and funny thing...she just sat on my potting table. I did kill her though. I am almost glad that I had the original encounter because it has made me more aware of my surroundings and their behaviors.
I found another one under a fake stone in my garden. SO...I am defiantely being more careful.
Thanks for the advice about the wasps-anything particular I need to do to attract them? : ) OH! Almost forgot about the 3rd widow I saw this afternoon. Walking through the back yard-we have a lot of wild ferns and it is shady/wooded. Walked right through a web-low to the ground-there she was!!! Their webs are VERY sticky. I was freaked out all those times but I am MUCH more aware now. Cant they just leave my yard and go to my neighbors? LOL Thanks again!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2004 at 11:43PM
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TreePapa(10/So.Calif)

My favorite weapon against spidies in or around the house & or garage is my shop vac. DW is phobic of spidies, so all of 'em gotta go around the house. In the garden, compost pile, wood pile, etc., it is a different story ... I leave 'em alone unless they strongly resemble a black widow ... then I do as rhizo suggests and stomp 'em dead.

And I almost never garden in shorts and tank top ... but that is more to protect myself from the sun than from spidies or any other critter.

Peace,

- Sequoia

    Bookmark   September 25, 2004 at 1:51PM
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megan_anne(TX U.S. z8a)

I had some BW's in my Passionvine... I thought I'd "live and let live" until I saw them killing my Gulf Fritillary caterpillars! At least, the ones I had missed and didn't bring in to be hand-raised, anyway. I just knocked them to the ground and beat them with my hand spade. Yuk!

I agree that wasps are an enemy of many spiders including the BW but they also prey upon caterpillars. So, I probably have a different feeling than many others here about wasps. Some are predatory, while others are parasitic. The parasitic wasps will lay eggs on a butterfly caterpillar and the larva burrows into the caterpillar. One may never know this has happened until the time draws close for the new butterfly to emerge from the chrysalis... only to have nothing happen except for a bunch of bugs to come out and a dead butterfly. Certain flies do the same thing. I just had that happen to a Giant Swallowtail... the chrysalis began to darken as though it were getting ready to emerge... I could see the markings of the new butterfly inside... but then the pupa just burst and all these bugs came out. Made me mad!

Megan
:)

    Bookmark   October 27, 2004 at 12:39PM
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turaloora(z10Cal.)

I have black widow spiders all over my garage so im careful when i move anything to see if there is one there. I think ill go around this week with my vaccum and try to vaccum up alot of the spider webs in there. Anyone try spraying for them? Gigi

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 7:16PM
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lisakaebee

We grew a bunch of "cinderella" pumpkins (large, flattish ones), and I swear when I harvested them I found a black widow in the middle under most of them!
My boyfriend has a "black widow relocation program"-- when he finds them in the garage/shed etc, he moves them to the back of the yard. I admit, I kill them, though I've come to appreciate spaiders in general for eating other bugs. I like to check out their "catch" to see what's out there.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2004 at 2:05AM
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