Is there a Canadian Black Widow?

Is there a Canadian Black Widow Spider?

The Black Widow is among the deadliest of all spiders. While they are not native to most of Canada, you can find them in some southern parts of the country. However, you will likely not find the Black Widow spiders out of their ranges in Canada, except on rare occasions when they hitch a ride on produce like grapes.

Canada has two species of Black Widow spiders: the northern and the western Black Widow. The western Black Widow inhabits areas across British Columbia all the way to Minnesota. You can find the northern species in eastern and southern Ontario, majorly in restricted areas on the border of Southern Canada and the U.S.

Black Widow Spider Species in Canada

There are a few Black Widow spiders that live in the Southern regions of Canada, but many varieties arrive in the country by hitching on grape transportation. These species are widespread in Canada, but you will find the largest population in Ontario province.

In addition, most of the Black Widow species occupy the southern areas from British Columbia to Minnesota. Their existence in Ontario is because they need warm climates to survive, and this province is deeper in the warm southern regions.

However, you can relax knowing you will not likely find them in your home. Black Widow spiders appreciate sheltered, dark spots near the ground like trash, underwood, rock piles, or sometimes underneath the house.

But still, some will crawl into your house on rare occasions, primarily to hide from the deadly cold of winter.

Northern black widow spider

Latrodectus variolus, commonly known as the Northern Black Widow spider, is dominant in various parts of the U.S and southern Canada. They prefer warm outdoor climates, like hollow logs, old stumps, and fallen fence posts. The most distinctive characteristic of this spider species is the incomplete “hourglass” marking that runs on its underside abdomen.

It also has a series of bright red dots lining its dorsal midline on the abdomen. Additionally, many of them have an abdomen lined with a series of lateral stripes.

The northern Black Widow constructs a web to trap and capture other insects for food. It creatively designs a mesh of strands where it hangs in an inverted position.

is there a canadian black widow spider?
Northern Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus variolus). Notice that the hourglass marking is incomplete – this is how you ID the species

Black Widows in Ontario

Ontario is home to the northern Black Widow spider. As Ontario dips deep into the south, it experiences a warm climate that allows this spider species to thrive and reproduce. These spiders can be deadly, but luckily enough, you will rarely find them inside your house.

Furthermore, they are timid and not likely to attack you except under threat or when provoked. Usually, they love to stay outdoors by identifying a comfortable spot where they build their mesh-like webs.

You can identify a black widow spider from its color, dark brown to deep black. Moreover, the female ones are known to eat the males right after mating.

It would also help to distinguish the female from the male, as the first is more dangerous than the latter. A female Black Widow is much larger than the male, and the male is slightly lighter in color.

Brown Widow Spider Ontario

The Brown Widow Spider (Latrodectus geometricus), is a less venomous relative of the Black Widow. Found in various parts of the US, it is spreading steadily as an invasive species. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to have colonized large parts of Canada – yet!

The Brown Recluse (Loxosceles spp) is the most common brown spider species in Ontario. However, these spider species are not native to Ontario since the province’s climate does not favor their survival. Therefore, the ones you will likely find here are accidental visitors from the southern and central U.S.A.

The Loxosceles spp derives its name from its color and rare antisocial behavior. While these spiders prefer solitude and rarely attack, they can be poisonous if they bite you. It produces a potent venom that destroys tissues and causes lesions if it bites you.

A mature brown recluse is about a half-inch long, with a light brown color and six eyes. Its most outstanding distinguishing feature is the violin shape of its thorax. It produces a sticky orderless structure or webbing that only serves as a shelter.

is there a canadian black widow spider?
Brown Widow Spider (Latrodectus geometricus)

Black Widow Spider Edmonton

You can find Black Widow spiders in Alberta, but few will likely live in Edmonton. However, these spider species are not native to Edmonton, and experts say that many come in through grape shipment.

The Black Widow is the most poisonous spider in Edmonton and Alberta. Therefore, it would be best to identify and avoid provoking it whenever you encounter one.

The following are some distinguishing features of the Black Widow:

  • Shiny blackness adorned with an outstanding red hourglass mark.
  • Visible line of red dots
  • The males grow to about 9.5 mm long, while the female only reaches 6.35 mm.
  • The male has a smaller body but longer legs than the female.

Although the Black Widow is venomous, it is less aggressive. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid disturbing it and call for professional extermination whenever it appears in your house.

Black Widow spider bite

A Black Widow can bite in defense if it feels threatened. The following are some symptoms you may experience after its bite:

  • Painful swelling near the bitten spot
  • Uncomfortable cramps
  • Muscle achiness and spasms
  • Nausea and stomach discomfort

These symptoms worsen within the first twelve hours of the bite, after which they should start fading away. Nonetheless, it may take a few days for the pain to subside completely.

is there a canadian black widow spider?

Can a Black Widow spider kill you?

Black Widow spider venom can result in seizures and even death, but only in rare occasions. However, the impact is more profound in elderly people, kids, and those with compromised immune systems. Therefore, healthy adults rarely experience intense symptoms or die from the Black Widow’s bite.

Regardless, it is advisable to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect a Black Widow bite. The doctors will determine the intensity of the venom and counter it before it can react.

Is there a Canadian Black Widow Spider? Conclusion

Canada has various spider species, but only two Black Widow spiders are dominant: the western and the northern species. Most of them live in the warmer southern regions where the climate allows survival. Again, these spiders are less aggressive, so it is best to leave them undisturbed to avoid their bites.

is there a canadian black widow spider?

FAQ related to Canadian Black Widow spiders:

What is Canada’s Deadliest Spider?

The Black Widow is the most venomous and deadliest spider in Canada. However, its venom rarely causes death, except in individuals with compromised immunity.

How Rare are Black Widows in Canada?

Black Widows are rare in Canada, with only two species in the country and only one, the northern species in Ontario. That said, most evidence suggests that they are steadily moving north, and there have even been reports of sightings in Lac Saint-Pierre, Quebec. This obviously need corrobarating by scientists.

What Happens if You are Bitten by a Black Widow Spider?

A Black Widow spider bite causes severe pain around the bitten spot. You may also experience muscle spasms, nausea, and seizures. It’s important to seek medical attention – even if you don’t experience major symptoms at first. Everyone reacts differently, and you should take a bite seriously.

Are False Black Widows in Canada?

 You can find False Black Widows in British Columbia, Canada. They are common in gardens, near fences, and often hide under rocks and wood barks. Like Black Widows, False Widows are steadily creeping northward.

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