Common in most states, black widow spiders are perhaps the most dangerous of the three medically important spiders in the United States. Famous for their shiny black bodies and red hourglass shapes on their bellies, black widow spiders can deliver a serious bite that has been known to be deadly to both animals and humans.
Though they are incredibly beneficial to the environment, black widow spider infestations in the home can be dangerous. So, how do you get rid of black widows? That’s what we are here to find out.
Join us today as we learn more about these interesting yet poisonous arachnids, why it’s so important you make sure they don’t invade your home, and how to get rid of them for good.
What Are Black Widows?
Black widows are one of the three medically important spider species in the United States.
There are currently three medically important spiders in the United States. These spiders include the brown recluse, the hobo spider, and the black widow.
While the brown recluse is generally regarded as a flesh-eating arachnid whose bite can cause skin to rot and decay, and while the hobo spider of the US is often confused for its much deadlier cousin in Australia, it is really the black widow we American’s should be concerned with in the US.
Like all spiders, the black widow spider is not an insect but instead belongs to the class Arachnida. It is related to other animals like scorpions, bed bugs, ticks, and mites.
Black widows can be found almost all over the United States. They can live both indoors and out and prefer secluded spaces like overgrown grasses or gardens, or even dark basements and attic, but we’ll get more into detail on that below.
While black widow bites are not as common as you may think, black widow infestations can occur often in homes if the conditions are right. This is because these critters multiply rapidly and have a long life span of up to three years.
The video below is an interesting portrayal of the black widow’s mating ritual and discusses how many black widow eggs can hatch at a time.
The “scary” looking black widows we know of are female, and there are several different species in the US classified as Latrodectus. These are true widows and include spiders like the black widow, the brown widow and other types of species.
Black widows vary greatly in size, but the most famous black widow in the United States is the Southern black widow, who grows to be around 3 to 13 millimeters in size. Female black widows are much larger than males and they also tend to look quite different.
In fact, if you were to encounter a male black widow, you may not even realize it. Male black widows are often small and can be gray, brown, tan or black. Some do not have red markings at all while others have red dots on their abdomen.
If you’re wondering how to get rid of black widows, you can rest a bit easier knowing that male black widows are not poisonous. Well, they aren’t poisonous to humans, we should say. They have very small mouthparts and tend not to bite humans or animals. They are also much more reclusive then their already reclusive mates, the female balck widow spider.
Mating with a female black widow is a rather dangerous task for male widows. This is because the female may eat him while they are mating. She also might turn around and chase him down after mating with him, which is how the infamous black widow received her devilish name.
After mating, female black widows lay around four to 9 egg sacs during the summer in webs they built near the ground. These egg sacs contain between 20 and 900 eggs.
Yes, we said 900 eggs.
When these eggs hatch, hundreds upon hundreds of black widow spiders are unleashed into the surrounding habitat. This is not good news if you have noticed black widows inside your home.
So, how do you get rid of black widows? Well, first we should make sure you do have a black widow infestation. Keep reading.
How To Get Rid Of Black Widows – Identifying An Infestation
Black widow egg sacs have a unique look to other spider egg sacs.
Before you panic and blow your savings on repellents, insecticides, and professional pest control experts (not that it should come to that anyway) let’s make sure you do indeed need to know how to get rid of black widows.
Identifying a black widow infestation in your home is easier than you may think, especially considering these arachnids are shy, reclusive creatures who prefer to keep to themselves and stay away from humans.
However, black widows are incredibly easy to identify as females look like no other spider. They are shiny, black and have that red hourglass shape on their bellies. That said, some female black widows can have only a red triangle on their bellies.
Another tell tale sign that you need to look into how to get rid of black widows is if you find messy, unorganized webs near the ground or in corners. These webs may have funnel-like tunnels where these predators hide and wait for their prey to become ensnared in their webs.
Unlike the brown recluse, who builds its web mostly as a sanctuary to live and prefers to hunt for prey outside of his web, the black widow’s best hunting weapon is the very web she weaves. Black widows have poor eyesight and rely on their senses to feel when prey has landed in their webs.
Black widows feed on an abundance of insect prey including ants, other arachnids, flies, mosquitoes, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and sometimes even small animals like lizards and rodents.
The black widow’s bite is extremely potent, making larger prey like mice and lizards easy targets. Their venom is also what makes them so dangerous to humans and makes it important for you to know how to get rid of black widows. And while death from a black widow bite is extremely rare in humans, it can still cause intense cramping, nausea, pain and more.
This is one of the reasons it’s so important to know how to get rid of black widows and keep them from returning. Of course, another reason is because if you have an abundance of black widows in your home, you may also have other insects.
With that being said, let’s learn more about what has possibly attracted black widows to your home and how to get rid of black widows for good.
What Attracts Black Widows To Your Home?
Firewood and long grass can attract black widows.
Both indoor and outdoor arachnids, black widows are critters of opportunity. They will spin their webs and make their homes wherever conditions are ideal and are seeking shelter, food and water.
Black widows are shy and reclusive, so they prefer areas in your home or yard that are typically left undisturbed.
Black Widows In The Yard
Like most spiders, black widows can be highly beneficial to the environment. They help control other garden-destroying pests like ants, caterpillars, mites, flies, and more. That said, they can be dangerous if they live outside on properties where children and pets often play.
In your yard, black widows prefer overgrown grasses, gardens, and debris. They are often found in piles of wood and leaf litter. They are also commonly found in garden sheds, buckets, garden tools, and old debris left in storage over the winter.
Black Widows In The Home
Many of us have areas in our home designated to storage. These areas or rooms include basements, attics and crawl spaces. Many black widows get into our homes via cracks and crevices, or may get brought in accidentally by human travel.
Once inside, they will seek out dark, uninhabited areas rich in clutter. They like storage boxes, unused furniture, holiday decorations, and more. Female black widows can live as long as three years and, as we mentioned above, in that time can produce thousands of offspring.
How To Get Rid Of Black Widows – Most Popular Methods
Black widow bites can be serious, but there are plenty of methods you can use to get rid of them.
No one wants an infestation of any kind in or around their home, but black widow spiders can be especially concerning if they invade our property in large numbers due to the potential danger of their bite. Luckily, there are a few different methods you can use for how to get rid of balck widows both inside and outside of your home.
How To Get Rid of Black Widows Using Natural Methods
For a very serious infestation of black widows, natural methods may not do the trick on their own. With that being said, many people find that using natural methods is an easy, effective, and safe way to get rid of black widows without the use of harsh chemicals or poisonous.
Many natural methods can include ultrasonic pest repellers, natural sprays, and even dusts that repel and kill black widows and other pests.
How To Get Rid of Black Widows Using Home Remedies
If you prefer do it yourself pest control methods for how to get rid of black widows, we have you covered. Many people find that everyday household items they have in their fridge or pantry work well for how to get rid of black widows and many other pests. If you are interested in how to get rid of black widows using ingredients you already have in your home, scroll down.
Otherwise, we will cover it along with several other products and methods you can use for how to get rid of black widows below in just a moment.
How To Get Rid of Black Widows Using Insecticides
While we love using environmentally friendly products for how to get rid of black widows, sometimes a very large black widow infestation may require more intensive treatments. Remember, black widows are considered the most dangerous spider in North America and an infestation inside your home should not be taken lightly.
The good news is that there are plenty of products you can use for how to get rid of black widows that should do the trick when used properly. Keep in mind that insecticides often contain toxic chemicals that are dangerous for people, pets and the environment. They should therefore only be used only as directed and kept out of reach of children.
How To Get Rid Of Black Widows Using Professionals
Because black widows can be so dangerous, we recommend contacting a professional for how to get rid of black widows if you have discovered an infestation in your home you feel is out of control.
But before we get into when it is time to call a professional for how to get rid of black widows in your home or garden, let’s first talk about some methods and products you can use for how to get rid of black widows on your own.
How To Get Rid Black Widows Using Natural Methods
People with children and pets may prefer natural methods for black widow control.
As we mentioned briefly above, using natural methods for how to get rid of black widows is often ideal for those with children or pets in the home. Natural methods are also safer for the environment as they generally contain organic, plant-based ingredients that repel spiders and other pests and keep them from returning.
That said, remember that black widow spiders can be dangerous to people and pets and an infestation in or around your home should not be taken lightly. In order to keep black widows from becoming an overwhelming problem, we recommend using natural methods like those listed below at the first sign of black widow activity.
Mighty Mint Spider Spray
Mighty Mint spider spray is an all natural spider spray and repellent that kills on contact and keeps spiders from returning using a minty scent that spiders do not like. The product is safe for people, pets and the environment and is made with natural ingredients like peppermint oil and other organic, plant-based products.
This spray can be used indoors and out for how to get rid of black widows and is safe to use in areas where food is stored and prepared. It can also be used around people and pets and is gentle on the environment.
Along with spiders, mighty mint spray can help repel other pests like mosquitoes, flies, fleas and bed bugs.
Eco Defense Home Pest Control Spray
Another organic and all natural pest control spray that protects against spiders inside the home is a spray by Eco Defense. This spray uses plant-based ingredients like essential oils and non-toxic ingredients that are chemical free and safer for people, pets and the environment.
EcoSmart Spider Blaster
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The above spider spray is an aerosol spray that uses organic ingredients designed to repel and kill a number of pests including brown widows, black widows and other potentially venomous or medically important spiders.
The product is non-toxic and uses plant-based ingredients including rosemary oil, white mineral oil, and wintergreen oil that are safe for people, pets and the environment and can be used both indoors and out.
Wondercide Outdoor Pest Control Spray
We like Wondercide products because they use all natural ingredients to get rid of and repel a number of pests and insects from black widows to fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and more. The above product is a perimeter spray you can use to naturally repel black widow spiders and keep them from getting into your home.
The spray is made with natural ingredients including essential oils like lemongrass oil, cedar oil, peppermint oil and rosemary oil.
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Diatomaceous Earth is an excellent tool for any homeowner looking for organic pest control products. This dust is made from fossilized algae and is perfectly safe for people, pets and the environment while being highly effective in killing insects and pests like spiders, earwigs, beetles, bed bugs, and spiders.
You can use diatomaceous earth inside your home along doorways, entry and exit points, and in basements, attics and closets for how to get rid of black widows in the home. You can also use Diatomaceous Earth in your garden to help control the number of black widows and other pests in your garden.
Brison Ultrasonic Pest Repeller Plug In
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Ultrasonic pest repellers can be effective in how to get rid of black widows as well as many other pests like mice, rats, snakes, lizards, bed bugs, flies and more. The above product does not require the use of any chemicals or poisons and instead uses ultrasonic sound waves to irritate pests and make your home less hospitable to them.
The above product by Brison includes an order of four ultrasonic pest repellers that can be used in different rooms depending on your needs. It plugs into any outlet and reaches up to 1,200 square feet.
TERRO Spider Traps
Sticky spider traps are not best used for how to get rid of black widows but can help you moninter an infestation. Place these traps around your home where you suspect or have noticed black widow spider activity and watch them as you use other methods of black widow control.
TERRO spider traps are great for black widow control because they are non-toxic and safe for people and pets. They can also help you monitor other types of pests in the home like brown recluses, ants, hobo spiders and more.
How To Get Rid Of Black Widows Using Home Remedies
Essential oils like tea tree oil, eucalyptus, and citronella can help repel black widows.
Do you like organic pest control or do it yourself pest control? Then this is the section for you. Many people hear the words “black widow” and run to the store to buy products to get rid of these poisonous pests fast.
But did you know you likely already have ingredients in your pantry or refrigerator that can help you get rid of them on your own? While we do not recommend using home remedies for how to get rid of black widows in a very large infestation, home remedies can work in the beginning to get rid of and prevent future black widow problems.
Below are some of our favorite household products you can use for how to get rid of black widows:
How To Get Rid Of Black Widows With Essential Oils
People use essential oils for a number of reasons, but did you know they can also be used to get rid of pests like mice, brown recluse spiders, earwigs, rats, mosquitos and black widows? That said, not all essential oils will work on all types of pests.
The essential oils that work best to repel black widows include:
- Peppermint Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Citrus Oil
- Citronella Oil
- Cinnamon Oil
- Cedar Oil
Peppermint oil is first on our list because it is one of the most popular and most highly recommended essential oils to repel spiders. However, you can use any of the essential oils above or even a combination of above to make your own spider spray.
- 5 to 10 drops of the essential oil (or mix of oils) of your choice
- 1 spray bottle
- 2 cups of water
Pour the two cups of water into the spray bottle and then drop the essential oil or oils of your choice into the bottle. Shake the mixture thoroughly and then spray it anywhere you have noticed black widow activity. You can also spray this solution as a preventive around doorways, entry and exit points, and window sills.
How To Get Rid Of Black Widows With A White Vinegar and Dish Soap Spray
White vinegar mixed with dish soap can help kill spiders and many other pests because it coats their bodies and suffocates them. This spray can also destroy black widow spider webs while the smell of white vinegar is an excellent repellent.
- 1 pump of liquid dish soap
- 1 spray bottle
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- 1 cup of water
- 5 drops of an essential oil (if desired)
Pour your water and vinegar into a spray bottle and then add a pump of the liquid dish soap. Mix the solution until it is sudsy. You can also drop essential oils into the solution to give it a nice smell and further repel the black widows from your home or property.
Like the essential oil spray above, you can spray this solution anywhere you have noticed black widow activity or found nests or egg sacs. That said, this spray should be used in conjunction with other methods and remedies for how to get rid of black widows, especially in a large infestation.
We should also note that you shouldn’t use this homemade spray on gardens or plants, as white vinegar can be hard on plants and liquid dish soap can be toxic to them.
How To Get Rid Of Black Widows Using Insecticides
Large black widow infestations may require more intensive treatments like insecticides.
While we are always fans of using chemical-free spider repellents and sprays for how to get rid of black widows, it’s important to protect your family and pets from these poisonous spiders in a massive infestation.
You can use natural repellents along with insecticide sprays to help eradicate a black widow infestation around your property and inside your home, or you can use the below insecticides and sprays on their own for how to get rid of black widows quickly.
Take a look.
Ortho Home Defense Lawn Granules
If you live in a region rich in black widow activity outdoors and potentially indoors, you may need to use a more intensive treatment that includes insecticide ingredients. The above product by Ortho comes in a large container and includes a spray wand for easy application outside your home.
When used correctly, the above insecticide should work to protect your home from a number of or insects pests including black widows, earwigs, stink bugs, roaches, ants, and more. This product is free of odor and does not stain, though it does contain toxic chemicals and should be used only as directed and kept out of reach of children.
Black Flag Spider and Scorpion Spray
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This is an aerosol spider spray that can be used indoors and out is Black Flag spider spray. This spray is designed to protect your family against serious critters like scorpions, poisonous spiders, and other creepy crawlies you don’t want around.
You can use this aerosol spray for how to get rid of black widows on contact. It works particularly well against venomous spiders like black widows, brown recluse and hobo spiders, though this is better used as a targeted spray as opposed to a preventative spray.
Miss Muffet’S Revenge
The name of this product may seem cute initially, but there is nothing cute about MIss Mouffet’s Revenge. The above product contains harsh chinameca ingredients that are ideal for dealing with a serious black widow infestation,
It works to kill spiders on contact and can continue killing them for up to 12 months. And while this product is excellent for how to get rid of black widows, remember that it does contain some harsh chemicals that can be toxic to people and pets and should be used only as directed and kept out of reach of children.
How To Get Rid Of Black Widows – When To Call A Professional
Black widow infestations can be serious and dangerous, and may require the help from professionals.
Black widows are nothing to mess with, especially if you have small children or pets in the home. While a bite from a black widow is rarely deadly to adult humans, small children and pets can be at risk of a more serious reaction.
If you have a very large infestation in your home that you feel you cannot get rid of on your own, we recommend contacting a professional pest care expert.
Many professional pest care experts charge between $100 and $500 for how to get rid of black widows, though they can charge more or less depending on your region and the severity of your infestation.
It is also a good idea to contact professionals if you have a large infestation of black widows as this may be an indicator of another infestation in your home like insects or rodents, which black widows prey on.
Once you have figured out how to get rid of black widows and their potential food sources, we recommend you follow through with some preventative measures to keep them from returning.
How To Prevent A Future Problem With Black Widows
Reducing clutter can help reduce the chances of a black widow infestation in your home.
Though they only bite if provoked and are generally good for gardens and the environment, black widows can be problematic and even dangerous in large numbers. For that reason, it’s best to get rid of them if you see them and take steps to prevent them from returning to your home or yard in the future.
Are you wondering what the best preventative measures would be for how to get rid of black widows and keep them from coming back around? We have listed a few expert tips you can take to prevent black widows from becoming a problem in the future.
Reduce Clutter Inside Your Home
Like many other spiders, black widows prefer areas that are quiet, dark and undisturbed. Cluttered areas like basements, storage units, closets, attics and crawl spaces are usually ideal homes for black widows because they accumulate a lot of clutter, dust and insects for spiders to feed on.
You can help prevent future black widow infestations in your home by organizing and consistently removing clutter. It is also a good idea to use storage boxes that seal securely to ensure black widow spiders do not get into bedding, toys or clothing that may be used in the future and lead to a potential bite. You should also dust and vacuum frequently, paying special attention to beneath appliances and behind boxes.
Remove Wood Piles and Debris From Around Your Home
Black widow spiders especially like wood piles. Firewood piled up near your home makes an excellent hiding spot for black widows and can even lead to black widow infestations in your home if you aren’t careful.
If you do have firewood piles, experts recommend keeping them at least three feet from the perimeter of your home and wearing gloves when you pick through the pile. They also suggest perhaps storing the pile in sealed storage units or clean garden sheds that have been protected with spider-repellents.
Avoid Walking Barefoot
Black widow spiders can live just as well outdoors as they can indoors, so it’s important to be careful and extra vigilant when out and about. Children especially should be encouraged to wear shoes and pants when playing in long grassy areas or fields where black widows are known to live.
Keep Your Lawn Landscaped
Black widows are attracted to overgrowth, so you can keep them out of your yard by ensuring your lawn is cut short and your garden is kept nice and tidy. You can also repel black widow spiders by planting spider-repellent plants in your garden like peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and lavender.
Caulk and Seal Entry and Exit Points
Like most pests, black widow spiders get into our homes through means of opportunity. This means cracks and crevices along entry and exit points like gaps in doorways, windows, and tears in window screens.
You can help keep black widows and the pests they prey on out of your home by caulking and sealing entry and exit points, repairing ripped screens, and ensuring there are no gaps in your doorways.
Use A Year-Round Pest Control Method To Repel Insects Black Widows Prey On
Last but not least, we always recommend you use a year-round pest control product or method to keep pests at bay. Remember, black widow spiders can only live in your home or on your property if the conditions are ideal. Black widow spiders feast on insects and will not stick around your home long if they cannot find an abundance of them.
To keep insects at bay, use a perimeter spray around your home and a year-round repellent inside your home to keep it pest and spider free.
And remember, while black widows are dangerous, they rarely bite humans unless provoked. So keep your eyes open and be vigilant, and practice the above methods for how to get rid of black widows and keep them from returning for good.
Best of luck!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.