black widow angst

dirtgirl(So. Illinois)July 20, 2010

i know there's going to be a lot of you who tell me I'm crazy to even be asking's ok, I've been called much much worse.

Went on a flashlight hike about the yard last night, one of my favorite things to do in the summer. The fishing spiders are really doing good and putting on some size, and easy to keep track of since they are creatures of habit and will still-hunt from the same location if the eatin's good. Well, I had just scoped out one corner of the foundation and had come up empty handed when my flashlight beam fell upon an unexpected sight: a dense cluster of freshly hatched, ruby-red spiderlings and the largest, healthiest black widow I have ever seen. I know we have the occasional recluse but I have never found a widow here, and I have looked for them. I honestly love spiders, and the ones that take up residence in the house are hand-fed and welcome to stay til fall as long as they dont ramble about underfoot. But widows...I truly don't want to have to destroy this lady and her brood, but I don't care for the idea of them being on the house. I guess it's psychological, and I tell myself that if she's on the outside, there's every likelihood there are others underneath, yet we have coexisted peacefully . As long as I don't go sticking my hand in her face or messing with her brood, I'm much more of a threat to her than she is to me.


is there any way I could capture them and relocate for peace of mind? I thought of getting a clean vac bag and sucking them all up and then taking the bag out to an old barn or something somewhere and propping it open for them to disperse.

I know what my husband will say when I show them to him. Maybe I won't do that..

any advice?

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If you have one of those large grain scoops you might be able to scoop most of them up then carry on the scoop to another location. You will lose some but some would die from natural causes, other bugs etc. You could just leave them alone as they will be leaving mama to go out on their own shortly.

Nice of you to want to assist but I think my real thoughts are probably close to your husband's.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 12:26AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Black widows are a part of our life in this home. I should say OUTSIDE this home. They are all over the perimeter of the house, residing in the landscaping. At night, they can be found on the brick foundation. We kill them when we find them.

They are also in residence in our garage. I'll occasionally go on a daytime widow hunt in the garage and always find a few. We use boric acid and diatomaceous earth in the garage nooks and crannies and I am sure that that helps.

I have a totally relaxed attitude about them, but absolutely understand your fears. I will say that our population of other spiders, centipedes, earwigs, and other garage visitors has dramatically dropped over a couple of years, lol.

Ok, maybe not TOTALLY relaxed: I do inspect my lawn and patio furniture often. Yikes!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 11:45PM
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Whoever owns the barn might not be happy about the extra black widows. lol

I'm pretty sure I've read that they're not as likely to invade a house as brown recluse spiders. I've come across a few black widows outside in my yard over the years but have never found one in my house. I worry that I might someday since I found one right by my front door, one next to my patio door and one in the garage. There were two under my kids' sandbox lid and one inside a handful of weeds that I was pulling.
I squish them and don't feel a bit of guilt for it. I would feel very guilty if I ignored them and someone in my family got bit.

I've found DOZENS of brown recluse spiders in my house. They're very common in Missouri. I keep sticky traps behind my furniture now. That's the best way to keep them in check without using pesticides and works just as well anyway. Walmart has them in packs of four and they're cheap.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 1:46PM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

I hope that old barn is yours on your own property and you aren't passing your problem off on someone else.

Live and let live, I say, until you bite me. Then all bets are off.

Mother Nature is unforgiving, and a black widow who moves into my place has simply made a fatal mistake. Not much different than if she made the mistake of nesting in a bird's nest or set up house keeping too close to a wasp nest.

I don't permit rattlesnakes to take up residence, either. If they are out in the wild, I leave them be. Move onto my property, threaten the life of my dogs, and the snake has made a fatal error in judgement.

Black widows are gorgeous, but they threaten your health and they are not endangered.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 11:39PM
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I would not worry about killing a lethal spider and her brood. I have been bitten by them and it's a very painful experience involving ER and shots of muscle relaxants and other stuff - and that was a mild bite. They can kill children and elderly people.

Spray her and her brood with spray shellac. It's biodegradable and kills them where mnost insecticides don't.

To discourage them, sweep and clean and don't have litter or bushes near the walls of your house. Indoors the usual clue to their presence will be a pile of dead bugs under where the next is - the will nest inside dressers, in potted plants and even in sofas.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 3:35PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

Well I decided to let nature decide. Checked on them again yesterday and there were only a few spiderlings left hanging about. No sign of mom.
A couple of things helped me make up my mind: this is the first one I've seen here in the yard--ever. Can't be like we are overrun with them. I am allergic to beestings, so you could say given the number of wasps, hornets, yellowjackets, etc. around the place, the stinging insects pose a bigger threat to me than a single spider, yet I avoid problems with them by just trying to be observant and a little respectful.

I think if this were a recluse, which is a wanderer and not a web-based spider, things would have been different. And I also know firsthand how dense recluse populations can get!

If and when we ever have to go into the crawl spaces under the house, we will simply have to be extra careful, shine the corners and beams for others, and watch where we put our hands.

I coexist when I can.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 4:48PM
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