What is a false black widow spider?

What is a false black widow spider?

The False Black Widow Spider is a small spider that looks like the venomous Black Widow, but is actually in a different genus altogether…

The False Black Widow, scientifically known as Steatoda grossa, is a common spider that is found mostly in the Pacific regions, gulf, and coastal states of the Atlantic. The spider resembles the true black widow but does not have the red hourglass pattern found in the true black widow females.

Some people believe that the False Black Widow is native to the USA but it is not. It actually arrived from Europe many years ago, and has also been spreading to other countries, to the point where it is now considered “cosmopolitan”. Though it isn’t a true Widow spider, it’s important to remember that it does have an irritating bite.

How to Identify A False Widow Spider?        

False widow spiders can be black or brownish and with distinctive white or cream patterns or markings on the abdomen. They resemble the black widow spiders but lack the hourglass pattern and that is where it draws its name.

The other characteristics of a false widow spider that would help to easily identify them include the following:

  • Females have a round abdomen while male ones are elongated.
  • They have long legs of about 15mm in length and hence they are larger compared to most other spiders.
  • The body and the legs are orange-brown.
  • Females are larger and can measure up to 15mm in size while males can measure up to 10mm.
  • The males are tiny and slimmer than the females.

Are False Black Widow Spiders Poisonous?

False black widow has venom but is not powerful to have lasting effects. When bitten, you will, however, experience pain and swelling in the affected area. Their venom is considered to be less harmful compared to that of true black widow spiders.

It is also useful to note that the false black widow spider, just like the black widow is less aggressive and hence it rarely bites. When it bites, you may experience symptoms that include the following:

  • Moderate to severe pain.
  • Headache and lethargy.
  • Mild or moderate nausea.
  • Blistering and swelling on the bitten area.

Bite How to Identify A False Widow Spider

A bite from a false black widow spider may look like that of most other insects. You may feel some acute or throbbing pain and swelling in the affected area. It is also possible to see a small hole where the sting is, and in most cases, the area becomes inflamed, swells, and becomes reddish.

What Is the Difference Between A Black Widow and A False Widow Spider?

The main noticeable differences that exist between the two are in terms of the body characteristics and size, especially from the females. The difference includes the following:

FeatureBlack WidowFalse Widow
Common nameBlack widow SpiderFalse black widow spider, Cupboard Spider, Brown House Spider
ColorGlossy black with a red hourglass marking on the underside of the abdomenDark brown or black with light markings on the abdomen
Body sizeFemales are about 1.5 inches long including legs, while males are smallerFemales are about 0.5-1 inch long including legs, while males are smaller
Web typeIrregular tangle of sticky silkOrb-shaped with a dense, tangled silk pattern
HabitatFound in dry, dark, sheltered areas such as woodpiles, sheds, and under rocksFound in a variety of habitats including gardens, forests, and homes
VenomNeurotoxic venom that can cause muscle pain, spasms, and paralysis in severe casesMildly toxic venom that may cause local pain and swelling
Danger to humansCan be dangerous, especially to children and the elderly, but fatalities are rareGenerally not considered dangerous, but may cause discomfort if bitten
What is a false black widow spider?

Why Is It Called A False Black Widow?

The false black widow spider is called so because of its resemblance with the black widow spider. It is easy to mistake it for a black widow, and also, they live in the same habitats. The false black widow male and the black widow male carry the same similarities since they are smaller in size compared to females and carry thinner bodies than the females.

The symptoms of the bite are also similar and hence it would be difficult to differentiate if you do not know the distinct features that are present in them.

Are False Black Widows Poisonous?

A black false widow spider is venomous but their venom is not deadly. Compared to the black widow, the false black widow is less harmful to humans according to Animal Corner findings. Therefore, in case of a bite, you should expect some severe pain that will last for only a few hours and even without treatment, you can survive the bite.

What Spider Can Be Mistaken for A Black Widow?

A false black widow can easily be mistaken for a black widow and that is the reason it is called a false black widow. It carries a lot of similarities, except for the differences in a few areas of the body and size.

What to Do If You Find A False Widow?

When you see or find a false black widow spider, you should get rid of it in many ways depending on the location where you find it. If the spider is inside your house, you should get rid of it by placing a receptacle or glass over it, then slide any piece of material that will help to cover it, and then take it to a far place where you can release it.

You also need to do a thorough vacuuming of the area to remove webs and other spiders that could be hiding. In addition to that, you can spray some insecticides to destroy their source of food and they will eventually move to an area where they can easily find their food.

What is a false black widow spider?

False Widow Spider Look-Alikes

The False widow spider has some look-alikes and the two of them that are common include the rabbit hutch spider (Steatoda bipunctata) and the Noble False Widow (Steatoda nobilis). Occasionally, some Orb Weavers may also be mistaken for False Widows due to their very similar body shape.

Should I Kill False Widow Spider?

You should not kill the false widow spider since they are less aggressive and their bites are not deadly. They are also helpful in controlling the most invasive insects that could be harmful. There are, however, the best ways to handle them when you find them in your home rather than killing them.

For instance, you can clean the clutter in your home, wipe your home surfaces with citrus spray, or use strong scents that will scare them away among other methods that you will learn later in this article.

Where Do False Widow Spiders Live?

The false widow spiders are present across the world but are mostly found in the Pacific regions, in the Atlantic Coastal states, and in the Gulf. They are also present in Southern England and live in different habitats that include:

  • Gardens
  • The bark of trees and tree trunks
  • Walls and fences
  • Sheds and pet houses
  • Rocks and wood
What is a false black widow spider?

FAQ Relating to What Is A False Black Widow Spider?

In this section, I will try to answer some common questions that surround this species of spider. Some of the frequently asked ones include the following:

How Long Does A False Widow Bite Last?

The pain from a false black widow bite can last for about 1 – 12 hours. In some cases, it may last longer but does not usually go beyond 24 hours. Some people experience other symptoms such as nausea and headache that may go on for about 2 to 3 days before the illness disappears (this is rare).

In addition to that, some other symptoms such as swelling and puncture marks of the bite may disappear within one to three days. It is, however, recommendable to use ice packs and antihistamines to reduce pain and swelling accordingly.

How Do You Keep False Widows Away?

You can keep false widows away from your house or home by keeping your yards clean, attracting birds that feed on them to your yards, sealing off the cracks and any point of entry, applying insecticides, and using home remedy solutions such as a mix of strong scents.

Other ways to keep the false widow away from your home would include the following:

  • Planting lavender or mint near your house windows.
  • Turning off outdoor lights.
  • Cleaning all the clutter that is in your home.
  • Wiping the surfaces of your home with citrus spray.
  • Mounting some sticky traps on the walls.

What Is the Most Poisonous Spider?

The most poisonous or venomous spider according to Guinness World Records is the male Sydney funnel-web spider, scientifically known as Atrax robustus. The spider is large with a black and shiny appearance and is native to Sydney, Australia as the name puts it. This spider lives under foliage, in moist habitats, and under logs. The female one is less poisonous than the males.

Can You Survive A Black Widow Bite Without Treatment?

Yes, you can survive a black widow bite without treatment. Black widow spider bite is less fatal and in rare cases can it cause severe complications. If your immune system is weaker, then you may need to receive some treatment. For healthy adults, the complications may not occur but the severe pain can only last for a few hours while some other symptoms may persist for up to 3 days.

Some of the few key takeaways that you can take home from this article include the following:

  • False black widow spider is less aggressive and their venom is not potent.
  • The false black widow can easily be mistaken for a black widow, and live in similar habitats, but a few distinct features can only be useful in distinguishing them.
  • You can control the invasion by clearing clutter in your home and using strong scents among other home solutions.

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