Don’t Believe the Black Widow Hype?
They have the classic spider look, with a shimmery black coat and bulblous body, and a reputation to with it. Yet these spiders are not after you and rarely kill.
Black widows are among the most misunderstood of bugs. They are, of course, not an insect but an arachnid. They weave webs and catch insects, and use venom to kill their prey, like many arachnids do. And sometimes, the female does kill her mate after copulation. But their reputation among humans as killers is overblown.
A recent bite in Vermont involved a victim who reached into a bag of grapes and came out with a black-widow bite. The 21-year old woman received care, and recovered, but this incident did nothing to help black widows. Yes, they can live near grapevines and, by an incredible feat of survival, make their way into your home. But given the processing of fruit, the washing, and the packaging, it’s highly unlikely you will find black widows among your bunches of grapes.
Theses spiders do like secluded places, though, and are know to be quite shy. When they bite humans, however, they often use no venom (it’s a precious commodity to be saved for securing food). They won’t react to being just prodded or poked.
A recent study found that black widows are most likely to bite only when pinched along the whole length of its body – an event most likely caused by sitting on a spider or attempting to crush it.