If You Never Clean This, You're Inviting Black Widows Into Your Home

You may need to do some scrubbing to avoid attracting this highly venomous spider.

Many of the most common household spiders like wolf spiders and daddy long-legs are more creepy than harmful. In fact, they prey on the other bugs in your home that you don't want around, including cockroaches, flies, and millipedes. But there is one dangerous spider you do want to keep out of your home: the black widow. As the most venomous spider in North America, it's seriously dangerous to humans, and you may be inviting this creature into your home by forgetting to clean one important area. Read on to find out what you should get to scrubbing if you want to avoid coming across a black widow.

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If you never clean your storage areas, you're inviting black widows into your home.

This photograph is of a garage lined with shelves full of things stored at home including, tools, cleaning supplies, holiday decorations and sporting equipment. The garage door is open.

Black widow spiders can typically be found in storage areas, like basements, attics, and crawlspaces, according to LawnStarter, a lawn care and pest control company based in Austin, Texas. This is because they like building their spider webs in dark corners, where they will be undisturbed and more situated to catch prey. "The more cluttered an area is, the more likely it is to attract black widows," Home Pest Control, which is based in Columbia, South Carolina, explains.

According to National Geographic, female black widows are easiest to spot, as they have distinctive shiny, black bodies with red-organ hourglass patterns on their abdomen. Male black widows are brown or gray with small red spots. But the male black widow is "reclusive and hardly ever seen by humans," so you'll likely only ever come across a female black widow.

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Cleaning helps limit black widows' ability to build webs in your storage areas.

A man is sweeping the floor up his home garage with a large brush. The garage door is open.

The experts at WebMD say you should keep storage areas clean if you want to "reduce your risk of being bitten," as black widows normally bite humans when they're startled or surprised. If you happen across their webs while messing around in a cluttered storage area, you might get a bite. LawnStarter says you should "limit web-building opportunities" by keeping your storage items in tightly sealed containers. And you should also organize storage areas in a way that forces black widow spiders to build webs in more visible locations to make them easier to spot, they say.

Black widow bites can affect your nervous system in severe ways.

 woman suffering from stomachache on sofa at home

A black widow's venom targets your nervous system, and while some people are only slightly affected by it, others may experience a severe response, according to WebMd. "Right away, you may feel severe pain, burning, swelling, and redness at the site. You may even see two fang marks," the medical outlet says.

Other symptoms of black widow bites include muscles that begin to hurt and become stiff within eight hours, nausea or vomiting, difficulty breathing, severe abdominal pain or cramps, excessive sweating, rash and itching, swollen eyelids, and weakness or tremors. Some people may not even be able to move their legs after being bitten, experts say.

In rare cases, a black widow bite can lead to seizures and even death, according to Healthline. "Death generally doesn't occur in healthy adults. Young people, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to serious complications and death from a black widow spider bite," Healthline says.

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There are three species of black widows common in the U.S.

Close up of black widow spider on window

It's likely that there are black widows in the vicinity of your home, as they are prevalent in most regions across the U.S. According to Terminix, there are three black widow species common in the country: the Southern widow, the Northern widow, and the Western widow. The Southern black widow is typically found in the Southeastern states but has been seen as far north as New York and as far west as Arizona. Northern black widows are located in New England, but some have been spotted as far west as Texas and as far south as Florida. And Western black widows tend to accumulate in dry deserts or high mountains, mostly residing in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Pacific Coast states.

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