Black Widow Spider

Actual Size: ½ to 1 ½”

Characteristics: Shiny brown or black body with red markings on abdomen.

Legs: 8

Habitat: Builds irregular and erratically shaped webs in areas such as sheds, garages, rock piles, and patio furniture.


  • Can be identified by distinctive reddish triangular markings on abdomen.
  • The most venomous spider in North America.
  • Generally not aggressive, despite venomous bite.


Black Widow Spiders in your area

Black widow spiders are notorious worldwide for their painful and venomous bites. These spiders build messy and erratic webs, often within cluttered areas such as rock walls, barns, and sheds. Though black widows are the most venomous spider in North America, they are not aggressive and their bites are rarely fatal – though a bite can be very painful. Male black widow spiders are generally much smaller than females, but have much longer legs. Male black widows may also exhibit more colors, such as red and white stripes, than the female spiders that typically only have a few reddish markings.

Black Widow Habitat

Black widow spiders are common throughout the world, and they can be found on every continent except for Antarctica. That said, these spiders typically inhabit warmer regions, which makes eastern Washington a prime location for these pests. Black widow spiders build irregular and erratic-looking webs, typically in crevices and dark spaces. Rock walls, sprinkler valve boxes, playground equipment, and outdoor sheds are all popular spots for these spiders to build their nests. Though black widows are not aggressive, they are venomous and can cause extremely painful bites.

Black Widow Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Black widow spiders are not aggressive and generally only bite if they feel threatened or provoked. Since these spiders prefer to live in dark and hidden areas, most bites occur accidentally when a human reaches to grab an item or clean out a dark space. Though black widows are not aggressive, they are venomous and can cause an immense amount of pain. Within an hour of a black widow bite, victims may experience stiffness, serious pain, nausea, chills, and fever. It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you suspect you have been bitten by a black widow spider. If you see the signs of black widow spiders on your property, it is recommended to contact your local spider exterminators to quickly and safely remove these pests.