Seven Black Widow Spiders

I spotted Black Widow spiders number six and seven in my laundry room. One through five appeared last summer. I managed to wrangle most of them, unfortunately six and seven eluded capture. This is not good. Laundry is in the basement, fingers crossed black widows like basements.

Growing up in rural B.C. we were taught to be on the lookout for two things – rattlesnakes and black widow spiders. Not once did I encounter either. Here I am 40 years later, encased in urban sprawl with black widows everywhere. Hard to call it surprising – I never saw a coyote, skunk, or raccoon either, and all of them are regular occurrences in my city yard.

This leads me to ponder evolution and adaptation of species. Why my house in the middle of a city is besieged by an infestation of spiders remains unanswered. Not just any spider, but black widows with potential to deliver a very bad day. Spiders that are supposed to reside in a climate far different than rainy Vancouver. I guess my dry basement offers  warm haven – small comfort in the face of possible flesh eating bites.

It could be worse; the bite of a black widow won’t kill you, only melt your flesh. If Brown Recluse were the problem, I’d be packing my bags instead of writing. All the same, I’d like them to move out – seven black widows in less than a year doesn’t make me happy.

36 thoughts on “Seven Black Widow Spiders

    • At least in Australia you expect them. A basement full of black widows in Vancouver is rather unsettling.I must say, they are rather beautiful.I kept number four in a jar for a while just to look at her.

      • Gorgeous, yes… but safer by themselves. We had them everywhere as a kid, but i wasn’t worried by those. It was the huntsmans that freaked me out. Those suckers are fast!

  1. Ugh…Spiders! I moved rented a house once and on the first day discovered about the same amount on my front porch. I was wildly beating them to death with a broom and just had that creepy crawly feeling all day. I couldn’t even sleep there.

    A friend of mine is an exterminator and he came out and thoroughly sprayed house and yard. Good thing as they had webs all in the back yard as well. In spraying they need to try to get the underbelly (not easy to do) as their hard outer shell is resistive to chemical toxins. Thankfully it worked.

  2. I didn’t realize Vancouver was Black Widow country.
    I’m down in Arizona right now and found a scorpion in my bathroom. I think I would rather have them than black widow spiders, though really, I would prefer to have none of them!

  3. I hate and loath spiders. Snakes I can deal with, but not a spider. I have a post I named “Spider Guy” on my blog that gives some idea of my typical reaction.

    • I’ll take a look at spider guy. 🙂 Normally I’m the opposite – I loathe snakes, and am the official spider killer in our house. Black widows are a little tricky though, not only are they extremely fast, they freak me out a bit as they have the potential to ruin a perfectly good day if you are bitten.

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  6. My son made a bench (with a back on it) so I’d have somewhere to sit when I was in the backyard. I was reading and enjoying the sunny day when I felt something crawling on my leg. It was one small spider. I brushed it off as I jumped up and danced around. Then I glanced toward the other end and saw a handful more of babies crawling all over the armrest and back. I quickly retreated into the house! My husband found a large web of Black Widow spiders on the back. He sprayed them, but I never sat on the bench again.

  7. I’m not sure if your comment section will let me link an image, but let me try:

    So many critters are just doin’ their thing and we have invaded their territory and all they have done is attempt to survive in a changing world. Sound familiar? 🙂

    We had a friend living in Sacramento who was bitten on the wrist by a Black Recluse and she nearly died — so glad your big problems are smaller by comparison.

    Happy Spider Hunting.

    • I see that didn’t work. Hmmm. Picture a four frame cartoon with a bear watching his habitat being re-purposed by humans and then a person screaming, “It’s a bear, where’d he come from” and the bear saying, “I live here.” The graphic is funnier than the explanation.

    • I find my spider situation astounding. As a kid I grew up on a fruit orchard in the Okanagan Valley. We were taught to look out for two things – rattlesnakes and black widows – I never saw either one. Now here I am in Vancouver, have coyotes in my yard, skunks living under my front steps, raccoons knocking my garbage over, and black widows in the basement.Crazy!

      • As a nature lover I’d be tempted to say, “Count Yourself Blessed” but I know each has their drawbacks.

        But I wouldn’t leave any small mammals out in the yard though.


  8. Just two words: “Professional extermination” and quick and as often as needed, also between you and your neighbors houses. If they are in your basement they are all over the place by now even if you haven’t seen them. I would not want you bitten by one of those. I know friends that have been bitten by the black widow and others by the brown recluse. Neither died but I could not tell any difference between the bites of either.

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  10. I happened to come across this again and thought I would send you a copy of ways to naturally get rid of spiders. Unfortunately, I did not copy down the blog site. I have no idea if any of them work.

    Let’s be completely honest. Nobody REALLY likes spiders. Even if they are completely harmless little things, nobody really wants spiders hanging around inside their house. But, how do you repel them naturally without hurting them, and without exposing your family to any potentially harmful chemicals? Read on for the answers you are looking for!
    Mint Them Out
    Did you know that spiders HATE peppermint? Most people don’t! An easy way to keep spiders from invading your space is to fill a spray bottle with peppermint essential oil and water, and then spray it around your home. Plus, your home will smell great!!
    For more info on repelling spiders using peppermint oil, check out this great article:
    Clean It Up
    The cheapest and most organic way to repel spiders naturally is probably not the easiest! Keeping your home neat, tidy and free of dust or webs is the best way to keep spiders from moving in. Regular vacuuming, dusting, and de-cluttering will keep any insects from making themselves at home!
    Use Vinegar
    White vinegar has about five trillion uses around the house (look it up!), and repelling spiders is one of them! Repelling spiders with vinegar is much like repelling them with peppermint oil, in that you fill a spray bottle with vinegar and water, and spray all the cracks and crevices around your home.
    Enlist The Help Of A Furry Friend
    Cats are a great spider deterrent! Four legged furry friends can be great hunters and will definitely not let a spider crawl across the floor without going on the prowl and taking care of business!
    Don’t Let Them In
    A great way to keep spiders out of your home is to never let them in in the first place! Make sure the exterior of your home is free from leaves, grass clippings, wood piles, or any other notorious spider hangouts. You can also check all door openings and windowsills to make sure there isn’t room for spiders to get in that way,and apply caulk when needed.
    Citrus Does The Trick
    It’s common knowledge that spiders hate all things citrus. Rubbing citrus peels on areas where spiders are known to frequent, like baseboards, windowsills and bookshelves, is a great way to keep them from coming around. Even using lemon scented furniture polish can drive spiders away!
    Let Cedar Do The Work
    Cedar can be a great deterrent for spiders. You can use cedar mulch outside around the perimeter of your home to try to keep spiders from ever getting inside. If you have access to a cedar chest or cedar hangers to use in your closet, that is a good choice as well. Using cedar blocks or shavings inside closets, cupboards or drawers can make them think twice about hanging out in there too!
    Yes, you read that right, chestnuts! They have been known to drive away spiders, so placing a few in your windowsills or along your baseboards can keep spiders from hanging out there. Many people also believe that the same thing can be done with an osage orange (also known as a hedgeapple) You can keep chestnuts and hedgeapples in the house for a long time before they go bad, so it’s worth giving it a shot!
    It sounds weird, but spiders hate tobacco just about as much as they hate lemons and chestnuts! You can sprinkle small pieces of tobacco where spiders are troublesome, or you can soak tobacco in water and then spray the mixture all around. However, tobacco is pretty expensive these days, so you can likely find a more affordable fix for keeping spiders at bay!

    • Wow – many thanks for going to the trouble of sending this info. Much appreciated. I’ll let you know what I try and what works. Much like my problem with ants last year (solved with a solution of Borax and sugar in water):)

  11. OMG! I would not be able to sleep! You are courageous! I cannot believe they exist in Vancouver! Centipedes are the curse in my house. Yes, we have invaded their territory, so I do suppose they have a right to be. I once lived in Kiriko, Kenya, teaching in a rural school, where we had no electricity and I would correct the assignments by candlelight. After completing my work, I crawled into my bed and extinguished the light. I was asleep and awakened by a bite on my cheek. By the time I got the candle lit, all I could see was this 3 inch circumference-wide spider scooting away on the wall! I did NOT sleep the remainder of the night and NO, I never found the spider. I still have the spider scar.

  12. I’ve never had any fear of spiders – snakes yes. But I’ve never had black widows or brown recluses in my house either. Living in Jersey I have always allowed my house spiders to coexist unharmed. My thought is that as long as there are spiders then there will not be other undesirable bugs.

    • I’m a “catch and release” advocate – spiders have an important job to do. Whenever possible they’re scooped up and placed in the garden. Black Widows aren’t likely to roam about – they are timid, preferring to find some out of the way corner, politely minding their spider business. For the most part I’ve formed the mindset – being aware of their turf is better than scattering them to unknown corners. The downside being nature taking its course – one or two, fine – Black Widow resort, not so good. Finding one under the dresser in my bedroom required immediate attention.

      I believe in karma – a few weeks ago I spotted a bee on the bedroom carpet. It was late – instead of gently placing it outside, I stomped on it. In the morning, my first step out of bed was met with a bee sting on the bottom of my foot. That bee limped 8 feet across the floor to the exact spot I stepped in the morning!Unwilling to take that chance with a Widow – I find myself in a true dilemma.:)

      • Bats are environmentally helpful like that, too.

        That was funny about the bee. Usually a bee will die soon after if the stinger stays in the victim depending on the type of bee.

        Since black widows do carry risk, I would not hesitate to remove them from inside the house.

        Good luck with the merry widows! 😉

  13. Thanks for following my Blog, it’s a pleasure to meet you on line. It just so happens that this year in Paradise I too had an invasion of sorts. Black widows here and everywhere. Lasted just a couple weeks in Sept. but enough to drive you crazy ever looking around the garden. Looking forward to exploring your garden of words and not for spiders.

  14. Reblogged this on notestoponder and commented:

    Statistically this is my most viewed post. Since original posting, I’ve learned my black widow house spiders are actually False widows – still doesn’t explain why this of all my 1,000 plus posts is the most read.

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