Even people who don’t consider themselves arachnophobes probably have a healthy fear of black widows. Not only does research indicate that these venomous arachnids have an ever-expanding habitat in US, but their bites can also lead to serious health complications, including vomiting, chest pain and, in rare cases, even death.
According to researchers at Brooklyn Hospital Center, St. Luke’s University Health Network and the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, encounters with black widow spiders tend to peak in late summer and early summer. fall – and these unexpected pests are found inside homes more frequently than expected. Read on to find out where pest experts say you’re most likely to encounter a black widow in your home and how to protect yourself and your space.
1. Black widows hide near the ground
Black widows tend to take up residence in sheltered areas outside the home. “These spiders build webs, so they usually hunker down in areas where they can build their webs without interruption,” says Emma Grace Crumbley, entomologist for Mosquito Squad. The webs are built closer to the ground and the sheds are not only cool but also easily accessible for these creatures. Crumbley adds that black widows wear shoes, clothing, gloves or waders that are not regularly worn. Typically, items like these are stored in sheds, so it’s likely that more spiders will seek shelter there.
2. Under porches and decks
Many black widows reside on porches or decks because the area is usually hidden and quiet. However, Matt Smith, owner and licensed professional pest control technician at Green Pest Control always advises checking under the gutter splash guard/pan, as black widows like cool, damp, dark places. “The downspouts in the gutters are very protected and that’s where the food source is,” Smith says. He recommends not reaching under the gutter pans when you need to empty them.
3. Piles of firewood
That pile of firewood in your living room can look charming and help warm your home. Unfortunately, it could also provide a refuge where black widows can go unnoticed, says Tom Mascari, PhD, an expert entomologist at SC Johnson. In fact, seeing black widows in your woodpile may indicate that there is yet another pest camping out in your space. “Black widows feed on insects and other spiders, so if you find them in your home, it may be a sign that other insects are present,” says Mascari.
4. Crawl spaces and storage boxes
Before removing your outdoor furniture or tools from your crawl space, you may want to first put on protective gear. “You may encounter black widows in dark, sheltered, quiet places in and around your home, like crawl spaces,” says Mascari. He explains that black widows can hide in boxes, so it’s best to inspect containers carefully before dipping your hands into them.
5. Basements and attics
If you’re clearing clutter from your basement this fall, you may want to be extra careful, as black widows tend to thrive in these low-traffic areas. “Just like outdoors, where they try to find places where they won’t be disturbed, indoors, they are found in rarely used areas like basements,” says Michael Thome, associate certified entomologist and director of technical services at Ehrlich Antiparasitaire. Thome says keeping clutter at bay is a great way to limit the ability of black widows to take up residence in your home, but notes that if you notice a problem, it’s best to call a professional to handle it. If you’re moving items through a potentially infested area, Thome recommends wearing work gloves to avoid getting bitten.
Your garage is the perfect place to protect your car from the elements and it’s also an ideal habitat for black widows. “We often find black widows in garages,” says Charles Lang, senior pest control technician at Rhode Island Pest Control Debugger. “They especially like to spin webs and nest near garage doors where they can capture and eat small insects that come into the garage.” Like basements and attics, eliminating clutter is a simple first step toward reducing the likelihood of a problem.
It’s important to know where to look for black widows in your home so you can protect your space and yourself. Be sure to check dark, damp, and low-traffic areas, such as sheds, basements, attics, garages, and crawl spaces. Clearing out clutter and wearing work gloves when moving items through potentially infested areas can also help prevent black widow bites.
I was an intern at the editorial office. When I saw their ad for a freelancer, I decided to come back. I’m a fan of series and movies, I spend my weekends at the cinema and my nights in front of Netflix