I have to say, I had never seen a Black Widow spider until I moved to the mountains of central Virginia (and I did grow up in Virginia). It seems that where I live is where they love, and they are ubiquitious, especially in rock crannies, in holes in rotting stumps, anything that’s kind of cave-like, you just might find one.
Luckily, in my experience, and unlike brown recluses (which I am not good at identifying) I have found that the Black Widow really wants to be left alone, and leave you alone. Just don’t poke the bear, I mean bug (well, spider). They will sooner hide away from you than attack you, unless you’re getting way too much in their space. In fact, I might classify these spiders as shy.
I always make sure to wear my gloves when working around wood, logs, rocks and other dark places.
They are black, have a big abdomen, and on the underside they have a red marking that some say looks like an hourglass. I’ve seen some range from very small (the size of a nickel) to as big as a quarter.
As one local described to me once “their webs are all messy like Charlotte’s Web” and I’ve found that to be true. True haunted house spider webs.
The female carries a potent venom containing the neurotoxin latrotoxin. Bites from these spiders rarely cause death or produce serious complications (but, you know, don’t get bit).
Size: up to about 1.5" long Family: Theridiidae (Tangle-web spiders) Habitat: Dark holes and hidden areas like woodpiles, rotting stumps, rock walls, sheds. Identifiers: Black with red markings on abdomen