Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Black Widow Spiders


Black widow spiders have a red (sometimes orange-yellow) hourglass-shaped marking on their underside (abdomen).  Outdoor woodpiles, rocks, hollow stumps, sheds, and indoor basements and crawlspaces are common areas where the black widow spider is found.  For more information - http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/entomology/factsheets/blackwid.html.

For added protection, wear a long-sleeved shirt, hat, gloves, and boots when in such locations.  Use insect repellant on clothing and footwear.

Symptoms include pain at the bite site, redness, sweating, nausea, stomach and muscle cramps, increased pain at bite site, dizziness or weakness, difficulty breathing 15 minutes to hours after the bite.

Call 911 immediately.  Monitor breathing.  Immobilize the bite area and wash with soap and water.  Place an ice pack on the bite area to slow absorption of venom and reduce pain.