Although not considered aggressive towards people., the female Red Widow spider is venomous and does present some danger. Red Widow spider bites result in similar symptoms to that of the black widow spider (pain, nausea, cramping etc.) and should be approached with caution.
Red widow spiders are found primarily in the sand-pine scrub habitats of central and southern Florida. Constructing their webs is rosemary, palmettos, and other shrubs throughout the region. Female Red Widow spiders specialize in capturing flying insects.
The red widow spider has a reddish-orange head, thorax and legs, with a reddish or black abdomen. The top of the abdomen typically sports red or orange spots with each spot surrounded by a yellow or white border.
The underside of the abdomen may contain a red hourglass shape (common to many widow spiders). However, specimens have been found sporting only a single triangle or even one or two distinct red marks.
The leg span of the female red widow spider is 1.5-2" long. Males are much smaller however, typically only about 1/3 as large as females.
Egg sacs are white and smooth.
The web of the adult red widow spider is typically situated 30 cm above the ground. Restricted to inland areas of dry, sandy scrub habitat. Red widow spiders construct their webs in palmettos scrubs and other similar shrubs.
Webs are constructed in the form of a large sheet, containing snare line like structures that emanate upwards. Flying insects collide with these snares, falling into the sheet where they intercepted by the eager spider.
Adult red widow spiders eat crickets, flies and other large insects, with a notable fondness for scarab beetles.
The red widow spider will lay anywhere from 200 to 400 eggs per sack while producing upwards of 9 sacks in a single summer. Females guard their eggs diligently and will move their sacs around the web to maintain optimal temperature and humidity. Spiderlings typically hatch within two weeks and shed their skins only once before emerging from the egg sack and will go through another seven molts, before reaching sexual maturity.
The life span of the red widow spider varies by temperature and food availability, however they typically live about one year.
How do l recognize a red widow spider?
The red widow spider has a reddish-orange head, thorax and legs with a reddish or black abdomen. The top of the abdomen typically sports red or orange spots with each spot surrounded by a yellow or white border.
The underside of the abdomen may contain a red hourglass shape (common to many widow spiders). However, specimens have been found with sporting only a single triangle or even one or two distinct red marks.
Are red widow spiders hazardous to humans?
Yes, the female red widow spider is considered dangerous and harmful to people. The female's venom is a neurotoxin which can cause sustained muscle spasms. The much smaller male, however, does not bite.
How do I remove a red widow spider infestation?
If you think you have a red widow spider infestation, contact Abell Pest Control. We are familiar with their habits and have the necessary tools to remove an infestation.
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