Black Widows in flower beds and rocks

angiebyteJuly 13, 2012

I have several times noticed black widows in the rocky border of my flower beds and also in the plants. I always find them when I am weeding and I am surprised I haven't been bitten yet. They also nest on the cracks and crevaces of my patio and the other day I found a disabled one I think the dog had been mouthing on the patio. Do I need to eradicate these? I have some blue skinks living in the flower beds- they try to come in the house every time I open the door. I wish they would eat the spiders!

Any adivce? Thank you

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Black widow populations should be kept to a minimum, absolutely. They are, after all, one of the very few truly poisonous spiders in North America.

They also seem to go through regional population explosions for one reason or another. I've seen it happen in my community, so much so that public parks and pools had to be closed until the spiders could be controlled.

That was the year they were everywhere around our own property, too. I had the creepy crawlies all summer long. We used a shop vac periodically, boric acid perimeter sprays and horticultural grade diatomaceous earth. And a broom. They weren't too difficult to get under control.

BW spiders are very dangerous to dogs and cats, by the way.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 5:22PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

You must have created a habitat that is very attractive to these wee buggers, but there is no real need to eradicate them as many arachniphoids might suggest. Spiders, including the Black Widows, do not really want to do you harm and will bite only when they are threatened. Most of the time, given half a chance, they will leave the area you want ot be in. Spiders are passive insect controls, mostly.

Here is a link that might be useful: About Black Widows

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 7:42AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

What kimmsr says is true, under normal conditions. Use your own best judgement and common sense in your situation. If you are coming across these spiders on a regular basis....such as every time you go outside......and in locations where you are likely to come into contact with them, you should make an effort to control their numbers.

It's all about judgement. The summer I was referring to brought BWs in enormous numbers. Every time we entered the garage, we would see more and more spiders. My husband had to inspect the mower before he got on it, they would climb the walls of the garage and garden shed and hang out by the scores. They took up residence all around the outside of the house and patio. They become active at night, leaving their messy webs to actively hunt. Sitting outside on the patio of an evening was not something that anyone (in their right mind, lol) would do.

We were invaded by hundreds of these creatures. Hundreds and hundreds, and as I mentioned before, we were not alone. It was fodder for the local news that year.

As far as creating a habitat, if 'neat and tidy ' is prime BW territory, then we're guilty! One thing we did change that year was to turn all of the outdoor furniture upside down when we were not using it. That seemed to prevent them from taking up residence....every single day....under each and every chair, table and bench.

BWs are a little bit sneaky in that they wander some distance from their webbing. It should be comforting to you that they are not aggressive spiders, nor do they jump or race like others we've all seen.

The more you understand about the behavior of these and any spiders, the better able you are to make an educated decision about what to do about them. Keep in mind that they are very poisonous. I suggest that you read up on the symptoms of a bite both for you and your dog.

Speaking of bites.....I've never been bitten (though they've crawled on me), nor do I know of anyone else who has. It's important to remember that. I'm not the least bit afraid of these spiders, but will always exercise my common sense in regards to them.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 1:16PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Far more people are bitten by the Brown Recluse Spider then are bitten by the Black Widow. Contrary to what yo may have seen in any of the arachniphoid movies these spiders do not sit around just waiting for you to approach so they can wrap you up to devour you. Spiders, even Black Widows, are beneficials in the garden, and given a chance will leave when you are present.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 7:55AM
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