Jul 182011
 

Fort Worth Pest Control & ExterminatorThere are only two main types of venomous spiders found in Fort Worth, Texas: The Brown Recluse and the Black Widow.

Black Widow Spiders are often found in or under objects where their presence is not immediately obvious. In order to maintain safety, it is recommended that people performing activities where they cannot see where their hands are being placed (such as lifting boards or firewood, or reaching into storage boxes) should wear gloves to prevent being bitten by a hidden spider. Also, clothing should be checked before wearing–especially if unused for a considerable time–as a spider may have taken up residence within it. Around homes, they may live in out-houses, garages, cellars, furniture, shrubbery, ventilators, rain spouts, gas and electric meters and other undisturbed places

Fort Worth Pest Control & Exterminator: Black Widow Spiders

There are four species of widow spiders are native to the Fort Worth, Texas area.

Southern Black Widow: Most common of the native widow spiders. It is the epitome of the classic widow spider, occurring in all the normal widow spider habitats. It is a glossy jet black all over, including body and legs. The only red marks are the bright red hourglass mark on the underside of the abdomen, and a red spot just behind and above the spinnerets. It occurs throughout the state.

Northern Black Widow: Very similar to the southern black widow, with the exception of its hourglass mark which is broken into 2 triangle-shaped markings.  In addition there is a row of red spots down the middle of the back. Its web is a large tangled mass which is generally found at the tip of a low tree branch.

Western Black Widow: Western Black Widow spiders are a glossy jet-black, with a bright-red hourglass marking on the underside of their abdomen. The hourglass of the Western Black Widow is typically complete, with the bottom half (farthest from the head) typically being slimmer and not as wide as the top half of the hourglass. In addition to the typical hourglass marking on the underside of their abdomen, immature Black Widow spiders can vary greatly in the way they are marked on the top of their back. Typically they have red or white spots running down the middle of their back. Sometimes they will also have red and white markings patterned down the sides of the abdomen.

Brown Widow: Variable in color from almost white to almost black, although typically, it is a light to medium brown, with an orange hourglass marking on the underside of the abdomen. The Brown Widow leg segments are banded, with one half of each segment lighter in color than the other half. Its back often has a row of white spots (rarely they will be orange or light blue), and there are a few white stripes on each side. The darker Brown Widows lack these markings and are difficult to distinguish from black widows.  They can sometimes be identified by their eggsac if it is present. Brown Widow eggsacs resemble a sandspur and are tan, spherical, and have many small tufts of silk sticking out from them, while the other widows make white, smooth eggsacs tending to be pear-shaped.

The Brown Widow tends to be extremely timid and has rarely been reported to bite. However, it is an introduced species and is the most human-adapted of the species occurring in Texas. Its webs may occur anywhere that there is sufficient space to make one. It may be extremely abundant on houses and other man-made structures (e.g., barns, fences, guard rails, bridges). The Brown Widow reproduces frequently and disperses rapidly, which makes it nearly impossible to control.

Generally, Widow Spiders are very timid and only bite in self-defense such as when they accidentally come in contact with humans. Bite symptoms of the widows are systemic, spreading through the body via the lymphatic system.  They usually start about 1-3 hours after the bite has occurred. The most common symptoms of a widow spider bite are intense pain, rigid abdominal muscles, muscle cramping, nausea, vomiting, general malaise (not feeling well), local sweating and hypertension (high blood pressure). If left untreated, bite symptoms will generally last 3-5 days. Treatment includes Calcium gluconate and/or antivenin which is administered to relieve or counteract symptoms.

You can get more information on black widows as well as other spiders of concern in Texas by going to the Texas DSHS site here.

For all of your spider and other pest control solutions call Fort Worth Pest Control & Exterminator!