Spiders are arachnids and closely related to mites, ticks, and scorpions. All spiders have two body regions - the cephalothorax and abdomen. They have eight legs, fangs (chelicerae), but no wings or antennae. Spiders have eight eyes, but some species may only have six. All spiders have fangs that deliver venom. However, only a couple of spiders in the United States have venom that is strong enough to cause health problems in people.
Black Widow spiders are typically identified by an orangish-red “hourglass” mark on the underside of their abdomen. These spiders also have light red or white markings on the abdomen and backs. Their round bodies are shiny-black in color. Black widow spiders also have a comb foot (a row of strong, curved bristles located on their hind pair of legs), allowing them to cover their captured prey in silk.
Spiders like living outdoors where there is plentiful food, water, and shelter. Spiders are a predatory species and feed on a variety of nuisance insects and other spiders. Dense vegetation, gardens, tall grasses, sheds, barns, and piles of debris can all attract spiders. Spiders often find their way inside while following food sources. Spiders may also move inside during the cooler winter months to feed on the insects that have moved inside for the winter season.
Spider infestations can have multiple causes. Most commonly, spiders are seeking food sources. Their diet consists of insects, which may be attracted by light, moisture or food scraps, and those insects may in turn attract spiders. Spiders also seek shelter in rock and wood piles as well as in bushes and ornamental vegetation. In fact, a home spider infestation may result when arachnids hitch a ride on a houseplant that you bring into the home.
Spiders are shy, nesting and hiding in dark, quiet, out-of-the-way places. Outside, they make their webs in tall grasses, inside bushes and shrubs, between rocks, underneath decks and porches, in gardens, in wood piles, under lawn furniture, and in the corners of entryways. Black widow spiders like to place their irregular-shaped webs at ground level. Spiders that create burrows instead of webs typically do so in the soil under rocks or underneath debris. Inside, spiders hide out in basements, closets, attics, the corners of rooms, crawlspaces, and under furniture.
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