Black Widow Spider


Actual Size: ½ to 1 ½”

Characteristics: Shiny black or brown body with a distinctive bright red marking on their back.

Legs: 8

Habitat: Known for building erratic webs in undisturbed areas, such as rock piles, bricks, sprinkler valve boxes, and sheds.


  • The most venomous spider in North America.
  • Typically non-aggressive, but bites require medical attention.
  • Easily identifiable by erratic-shaped webs and distinctive red marking.

Black Widow Spiders in Memphis TN Metro Area

Widow spiders have gained global notoriety for their capacity to inflict pain and distress upon humans. Both males and females of these spiders can display shades ranging from dark brown to black, yet it is only the females who possess the distinctive hourglass-shaped marking or spots on their abdomen. The untidiness commonly found in human-made structures creates a perfect environment for black widow spiders. They are frequently encountered near residences, barns, outbuildings, and rock walls. Despite being the most venomous spider in North America, black widow bites are seldom fatal, though they can cause significant discomfort and agony.

Black Widow Habitat

Black widow spiders generally inhabit outdoor spaces, showing a preference for serene, dimly lit areas undisturbed by human activity. These widows construct irregular webs with an erratic appearance, taking up residence in crevices or recesses found within rock piles, block walls, sprinkler valve boxes, and the undersides of patio furniture. They also tend to frequent garages, outdoor sheds, and playground equipment. While black widows primarily reside outdoors, they can inadvertently be brought into homes or structures, often hitching a ride within boxes or on furniture. One of the telltale signs of a black widow spider infestation is the presence of disordered, irregular webs inside the house or surrounding the property.

Black Widow Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Black widow spiders, despite their venomous nature, are generally non-aggressive creatures. They only resort to biting when provoked, often in response to being pinched, squeezed, or pressed. The majority of bites occur unintentionally when a person inadvertently brushes against a black widow, typically while reaching for an object or cleaning a dimly lit area. Symptoms of a black widow bite typically manifest within 20 minutes to an hour, presenting as stiffness, intense pain at the site of the bite, nausea, chills, and fever. If a black widow bite is suspected or confirmed, immediate medical attention is essential.

If you are dealing with a black widow problem, always contact your local spider exterminators.