Are Black Widow Spiders Dangerous?
It is only the bite of the adult female black widow spider, not the male, which poses any danger to humans. Although the female is generally timid, she will attack if she is protecting her eggs or if she is disturbed.
Black widows lurk in areas where they are less likely to be bothered. Outdoors, this includes piles of firewood, under decks, or in sheds or tree houses. Indoors, they may be found in basements, garages, or cluttered areas where they are likely to find insects to feed on. It is advisable to exercise caution in these places to avoid danger.
The bite of a black widow feels like a needle puncture in the skin, but sometimes, a victim may not feel anything at all. However, pain usually sets in pretty quickly and can last up to 48 hours. A person may observe two small red dots where the spider’s fangs entered the skin. Other symptoms may include cramping, nausea, fever, sweating, or in extreme cases, paralysis.
People’s reactions to black widow bites can vary, depending on their sensitivity, the location of the bite, or the amount of venom injected. However, if treated promptly, black widow bites are rarely fatal. Bites are more dangerous for the very young and very old, as well as those with high blood pressure.
Fortunately, there is an anti-venom available for black widow bites. If you or another person is bitten, immediately see a doctor or visit the emergency room. If possible, take the spider along for identification, even if it is not fully intact.