Black Widow vs. Brown Recluse

Black Widow vs. Brown Recluse


The appearance and characteristics of Spiders are easily recognized. Spiders possess eight legs, which is the main characteristic that sets them apart from insects. Spiders lack wings and antennae and have two major regions of their bodies: the carapace, which includes a fused head and thorax, and an abdomen.

Young spiders look just like their parent, with the exception of their size and sometimes their coloration, but all spiders have jaw like structures with hollow claw-like fangs where their venom can be injected into their prey. Their abdomen contains Spinnerets which are linked to glands where they spin silk to create their webs.

The most common places you will find spider webs inside your home is on lamps, in corners and in basements, but some spiders prefer dark and damp areas like crawlspaces, attics or places with moisture.

Under most conditions outdoors, spiders are considered beneficial because they feed upon insects.

All spiders carry a venom they use to kill their prey, but these are two spiders humans want to avoid being bitten by.

Their Bite & Venom:

The Brown Recluse and Black Widow are well documented North American spiders that are dangerous to humans. Although they do not seek out humans, they will bite if frightened.

A couple examples of frightening an spider would be rolling over onto them or slipping your foot into a shoe they have made their home and in return they bite you.

The Black Widow and Brown Recluse both have venomous bites but different types of venom that affect you differently. *Everyone reacts differently to venom and bites. If you are worried, talk to your doctor.

In general, Spiders will retreat when you happen upon them. They only seek your home to feed on the insects already inside or surrounding  the outside of your home.

To avoid nesting inside your home, remove all clutter or items that would be easy for them to make hiding spots and seek. Below, you will find a photo of each of these dangerous spiders along with some interesting facts about each.

Black Widow:

Black Widow

Scientific Name: Latrodectus mactans

Identification: The female has a shiny black abdomen with two reddish or yellowish triangles that look like an hourglass.

Venom: Nero toxic venom- causes nervous system problems.

Symptoms: The bite will feel like a tiny needle has poked you. The severity of the bite depends upon the sensitivity of a person, depth of the bite, the amount of venom injected, as well as, the area of the body where the bite occurred. If not checked by a doctor, the Black Widow bite could lead to a variety symptoms, like convulsions, and even death.

Web: An irregular mass of fibers with a small central area where the spider awaits it’s prey entanglement. Most often found under boards, stones, slabs, shrubs, and most often around brick or wood siding close to ground level.

Brown Recluse:

Brown Recluse

Scientific Name: Loxosceles reclusa

Identification: Soft bodied, yellow to dark brown markings with a dark brown Violin shape on top of the body. Growing up to one inch in diameter.

Venom: Necrotic Venom- cause damages to the tissues.

Symptoms: You may not notice much pain when first bitten, but over the next 12 hours the pain will intensify. Then, over a few days the bite will turn into a large ulcerous sore. This will heal very slowly and leave a disfigured scar.

Web: Their webs are not very elaborate and come in an off-white grayish color usually found basements, garages or ceilings.

**IMPORTANT: Always seek medical attention if you feel you have been bitten by any spider- especially a Black Widow or Brown Recluse.

Protect your families health from pests.  We will help you get rid of spiders quickly, effectively, and most importantly, safely.


Source: Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations.