Everyone knows what dangerous black widow spiders look like, but it's less commonly known that these spiders have a lookalike. Here's what you need to know about false black widows.
Do they look the same as real black widows?
False black widows are in the same family as the real thing, so they look very similar. They have the same round body shape, but they're brown instead of black. In addition to being a lighter color, they also lack the red hourglass marking that real black widows are famous for.
Are they found throughout the United States?
False black widows have a large range within the United States. They are found along both the west and east coasts, and also throughout the Great Lakes region. You may find them outside of this range, but it's not common.
Where might you encounter them?
False black widows like to hide in dark places where you're not likely to bother them, like underneath your stairs or behind your furniture. They can also hide inside boxes or bags that you've put in storage. If you're rearranging your furniture or cleaning out your closet, it's a good idea to wear gloves, just in case you accidentally disturb this spider.
What happens if one of them bites you?
False black widows have mild venom, so it's very unlikely that you'll die or suffer any serious symptoms. The bite causes pain and swelling in the area, and some people will also develop a fever. Most people feel fine after a couple of days. If your symptoms are more serious, you need to get medical attention right away.
How do you rid your house of these pests?
There are things you can do to get rid of these spiders. It's important to seal any gaps in the exterior of your home, no matter how small, to keep more spiders from moving inside. You also need to get rid of the small insects in your home, like ants, that spiders like to feed on. Once that's done, focus on killing the ones that are already inside your house. You can use glue traps to catch and kill them, or you can hire a pest control company to spray your house with insecticides.
False black widow spiders are scary looking, but they're not as dangerous as real black widows. If you don't want them around, take steps to get rid of them, and if you need backup, call a pest control company.