5 Ways You're Inviting Black Widows Into Your Home
These bad habits may accidentally allow this deadly pest inside.
Any spider is typically an unwelcome sight in our homes, even though they're actually important for pest control. But black widows can actually be dangerous. As one of the most venomous spiders in North America, the black widow has a bite with the potential to cause "severe pain and life-threatening symptoms," according to the Mayo Clinic. Only a few cases end up fatal in the U.S. every year, but you still could experience nausea, perspiration, tremors, breathing difficulties, increased blood pressure and fever if you find yourself punctured by this pest.
With that in mind, you probably want to make sure black widows are staying outside your house. Unfortunately, you could be making mistakes that are causing the exact opposite to happen. Read on to discover the five ways you're inviting black widows into your home.
READ THIS NEXT: 9 Cleaning Habits That Attract Spiders.
You're not cleaning your storage areas.
Black widow spiders prefer to build their webs in dark corners so you're likely to find them hanging out in basements, attics, and crawlspaces, according to LawnStarter, a lawn care and pest control company based in Austin, Texas.
Many people don't clean out their storage areas often, so they know they will usually "be left undisturbed" if they take up shelter in these types of places
"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, also confirmed. "This is due to the fact that cluttered storage areas will tend to harbor more of their preferred prey than clean, well-ventilated ones."
You're keeping cardboard boxes in your basement.
But don't just pile all your storage items into cardboard boxes and assume your basement's all good to go. As Nancy DeWitt, owner of Patriot Pest & Termite Control, previously told Best Life, "undisturbed and unsealed boxes are an attractive place for black widows to hide—especially those that are near to the ground and corners near the foundation."
The corners of cardboard boxes "provide a suitable place for them to construct their webs and lay their eggs," DeWitt added.
If you still need something to store your items in, opt for something a little sturdier, Doug Webb, a board-certified entomologist and manager of technical services at erminix, also previously told Best Life.
"One thing that can help with keeping black widows out of stored items is to use plastic bins with tight fitting lids rather than cardboard boxes for storage," Webb said. "While it is still possible for these pests to get in a plastic bin, it is much more work and usually not worth the effort for them."
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You're letting your lawn get too long.
Every once in awhile, you might be tempted to let your lawn go by for some time without a fresh trim. But don't let this become a regular habit. Leonard Ang, a home expert and the CEO of iPropertyManagement, says this is one of the easiest ways you could be accidentally inviting black widows into your home.
"Allowing tall grass or weeds to grow in your yard—especially right next to your home—is a great way to create good black widow habitat just outside of your house," he warns.
According to Ang, tall grass creates the "opportunity for them to slip inside at some point."
"Keep your grass mowed short," advises Jeremy Yamaguchi, the CEO of Lawn Love. "And ideally have something like rocks or gravel around the perimeter of the home because that won't allow black widows to spin webs and will help keep them from venturing into your home."
You're not checking firewood before bringing it inside.
Not only could you be inviting black widows into your house, but you may also be bringing them in yourself—literally. These spiders "can be found around woodpiles and often enter homes when firewood is carried into a building," according to the experts at Arrows Exterminators.
To avoid accidentally giving this pest a first-class ticket into space, those at the Alabama-based pest control company Mr. Bugg's Pest Patrol, Inc., recommend doing a check before bringing firewood inside.
"That firewood pile that's been in the yard for months may have become home to some not-so-friendly black widow spiders. The gaps between the wood present a perfect harborage area for both spiders and the insects upon which they feed," they explain on their website. "Be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves when bringing the wood into the house and check each piece to avoid bringing in a spider as well."
You're not patching up cracks in your house.
But black widows can typically get into most home by themselves too. These spiders are able to "get through incredibly tiny holes and cracks," potentially leading them straight inside your house, according to Ang.
"So make sure you keep up on patching gaps around windows and other openings in the exterior of your home," he recommends.
Ang says that fixing cracks also helps to keep black widows' main food source from getting inside your house—making it less enticing for these spiders to come in altogether. "This has the added benefit of allowing fewer insects—AKA black widow food—into your home," he explains.