Black Widow Spider


Actual Size: ½ to 1 ½”

Characteristics: Shiny brown or black body, bright red marking.

Legs: 8

Habitat: Builds irregular-shaped webs in quiet and low-traffic areas, such as rock piles, sprinkler valve boxes, sheds, or garages.


  • Most venomous spider found in North America.
  • Constructs messy and erratic webs with irregular shapes.
  • Generally not aggressive despite their deadly venom.

Black Widow Spiders in the Pacific Northwest

Black widow spiders are notorious for their painful and deadly venom. Both males and females usually range from dark brown to black in color, though only the females have the famous red hourglass or spots on their abdomen. These spiders spin very erratic and strange webs, which fit perfectly in the clutter around homes, barns, rock walls, or other human structures. While black widows are the most venomous spider in North America, their bites are rarely fatal – however, they can still be incredibly painful.

Black Widow Habitat

Black widow spiders are drawn to dark and undisturbed areas outdoors, and they typically build their erratic-looking webs near the ground. Rock piles, block walls, playground equipment, and the underside of patio furniture are popular hiding places for these pests. Most black widows prefer to remain outdoors, though they can be accidentally carried inside in a box or on furniture. The messy and irregular-shaped webs are one of the most obvious signs that there is a black widow spider infestation on or near your property.

Black Widow Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Though black widow spiders are venomous, they are not aggressive and typically only bite if they are provoked. Most bites occur when a human accidentally brushes against one of these spiders, often while cleaning a dark space or grabbing an item. If bitten, most people begin to show symptoms within 20 minutes to an hour. Fever, chills, and nausea may accompany stiffness and intense pain in the bite area. These symptoms can progress, so it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect you have been bitten by a black widow. If you notice the signs of black widows in or around your home, contact a local spider exterminator today to keep you and your family safe.