What it looks like
Working in the garden you will undoubtably encounter spiders. Knowing what kind it is, is important, specially if you are bitten.

Yes it is true, the black widow spider is small, barely 15 mm and it can kill. All dressed in black, with two venomous hooks, she is the executioner of any insects that has the temerity to land on its web. Its spends most of its life waiting to catch a victim in its silk trap. Only the female, recognizable by its red hourglass shape under the abdomen, is venomous. The male is rarely seen, it is smaller with longer legs, and it has red and yellow spots on its sides.

The black widow spins a web almost a yard in diameter, in the shape of a funnel. Usually built close to the ground, in dark areas, at the base of a bush, or in the middle of a compost pile, unless it is cold, then the spider will erect its web near a shed or a garage. The female rarely leaves the web, it hangs on the silk with the belly pointing up. Like many other spiders it does not see very well, and it can detect vibrations on the web with some kind of hair on its legs; vibrations that signal the presence of a victim within reach.

For its protection, or for the protection of its eggs, the black widow bites those who touch it. But even with a very powerful venom, it rarely kills a human, because the spider can only inject a small amount of venom. Even this small amount can cause incredible abdominal pains, similar to an appendicitis attack, it can also cause muscular spasms and breathing difficulties. Pain from a black widow bite can take as long as 48 hours after the bite to be felt.

When the male find a consenting female, it will signal its intentions carefully, as she could mistake him for a prey and kill him on the spot. If successful he will fertilize her with his sperm, she will then lay a sac containing 250 to 300 or more eggs, which she will protect fiercely. This sac, made with silk has a paper like texture, and varies in color from white to brown. It is suspended in the web. When the little spider will be born, only about a dozen or so will survive because they will eat each other. Yellow at first they will continue to darken to reach their full black color at maturity.

The black widow spider eat insects that it catches in its web, by making little holes into the body of the victim, and injecting a paralyzing venom into it. The poison does its job in an hour or so, during which the spider takes a rest. She then inject a digestive substance into the body of its prey before eating it. The black widow can also eat other spider, millipedes, even scorpions in hot climates. In hot climates it will avoid the light of day and do all its hunting at night.Black widows are found in warmer areas of the planet, south east of the United States, Mexico and Panama, are good areas to find them in America. It lives often under a rock, a plant or a window sill.