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Black widow spiders are of the latrodectus species and are poisonous. Several species of the black widow are found throughout the United States and their venom may cause serious harm or in rare occasions may be fatal.

These poisonous spiders are shiny, black and have a red hourglass making the underside of their abdomen. They are about the size of a quarter with coarse webs that tend to be irregular and approximately one foot wide. Both adults and tiny spiderlings just after they are hatched are able to inflict venomous bites.

Female black widows produce egg sacks that contain hundred of eggs. These hatch into hundreds of tiny venemous spiderlings that may be carried many miles by the wind before finding a resting place. They live under rocks, wood, piles of dirt and other rubbish piles outdoors. Indoors they may be found in areas such as garages, cellars, attics and other secluded places in the home. They prefer dark, secluded spaces but will inhabit areas under boards, in clutter cupboards, in piles of old clothing or in exposed crevices.

The best bet to avoid black widow spiders is to avoid allowing them a secluded area to set up shop. Make sure piles of clothes, debris, wood and other such piles are regularly maintained or taken care of. It is best to keep woodpiles away from the home to avoid black widow spiders coming indoors. When cleaning infested sites make sure you wear heavy gloves and protected clothing. Webs and infested areas of spiders may be neutralized by spraying with propoxur, chlorypyrifos or diazinon containing insecticides. You can also dust areas where spiders may hide with chlorypyrifos. Once indoor areas have been infested and sprayed, vacuum areas thoroughly to remove any remaining egg sacks, webs or spiders. Then destroy the vacuum cleaner bag. If you are bitten by a black widow spider, immediately call your physician and keep ice on the site until you receive further medical instruction from a professional.