The black widow spider may be pretty, but it’s venom has been reported to be 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake.
This makes it easy to see why Northern Utahns are becoming worried by the unusually high number of black widows in the area this fall.
According to Standard.net, Clearfield resident Karen Chutka said she noticed a spider web in the entryway of her home last week. After destroying the web, she went about her business. The next day, however, the web was back, along with the spider.
“It was a black widow,” Chutka said. “It freaked me out. My granddaughter was just coming down the steps toward it when I saw it. I ran and grabbed a Mason jar and put it over the spider. I didn’t know whether it was going to jump or not. It was pretty creepy. I’ve never seen them that close, but she’s in the jar and she’s still alive.”
Chutka said she’s talked to others who have dealt with the spiders lately too. A neighbor told Chutka her son had 10 of them right outside the door to his apartment.
McKay-Dee Hospital also reports treating 97 poisonous spider bites this year, not including the month of October. Emergency department director Kathy Calton said the bite of a black widow is very poisonous, so if you have been bitten, you need to head straight for the emergency room.
The bite is not initially painful and may feel like a pin prick if felt at all. However, symptoms are anything but painless and include nausea, abdominal pain, muscle aches, chest pain, sweating and increased body temperature. There can also be severe rigidity in the abdomen. Symptoms can show up between 15 and 60 minutes after the bite and can last up to 12 hours or longer. She also said to try to bring the spider with you if possible so the hospital can identify and correctly treat the bite.
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All Seasons Pest Control in Ogden reported double the amount of calls coming in this fall over black widow sightings.
Owner Derek Mcwain advises the public to be cautious when dealing with this venomous spider.
“Black widows usually seek out cool, dark places, but they are going everywhere right now and they spin a very pretty web, so if you see a beautiful web, it probably belongs to a black widow.” said Mcwain.
Bill Evelyn, owner of Easy Green-Lawn Pride, said black widows are usually docile and will remain in their web if left alone.
“They don’t go out seeking anything. Instead, they spin their web and wait for their prey to come to them,” he said. “However, if they are provoked or someone accidently sits on them or disturbs them in another way, they will bite and they will attack, if a mother is attending to her babies.”
Evelyn said the spiders are also poor climbers and usually make their nests low to the ground. He said the spider is also nocturnal, so if you see a web, the spider will usually return at night.
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