The female Western Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus) is the most well known of the widow spiders with its shiny black abdomen and red hourglass on its underside. It builds a messy web, often near the ground, under overhangs, ledges, and benches, and likes to dwell in barns and garages. It is a common spider in San Diego County.
This spider will hang upside down near the middle of their webs waiting for unsuspecting insects to entrap themselves in the web. Once captured, the spider will bite the prey and wrap it in silk.
Not aggressive, the female Western Black Widow will only bite when provoked but it is a dangerously toxic spider. Its bite often requires medical attention and the venom can sometimes be fatal to small children and the elderly. If bitten by a Western Black Widow spider seek medical attention immediately! If possible, bring the offending spider to the hospital so the correct treatment can be determined.
Did you know? The male Western Black Widow is about half the size of the female with tan coloring and lighter striping on its abdomen and is harmless to people.
PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Ryan