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Black Widow Spider


Actual Size: ½ to 1 ½”

Characteristics: Shiny black or brown body, bright red marking.

Legs: 8

Habitat: Typically inhabits dark, sheltered areas such as woodpiles, crevices, or corners of buildings, where they construct messy, irregular webs to ensnare prey.


  • Are the most venomous spiders in North America, but are not considered aggressive.
  • Known for building messy, irregular-shaped webs in sheltered areas.
  • Females often consume the male after mating.

Black Widow Spider

Black Widow Spiders in Atlanta, GA

Black widow spiders are sleek, black arachnids that are known across the globe for their venomous bite. They can easily be identified by their glossy appearance and distinctive red hourglass on the underside of the female’s abdomen. Since these spiders typically hide in dark and sheltered areas, though, you’ll likely notice their messy nests first. The nests are very messy and irregular-shaped, typically located in undisturbed areas like a woodpile or old shed.

Black Widow Habitat

Black widow spiders prefer to live in undisturbed and shadowy areas that are far away from human activity. Places like wood piles, dense vegetation, and sprinkler valve boxes are common hiding spots for these pests. Since black widows prefer to live outdoors, they usually only wind up inside if they’re accidentally carried in on objects like planters or patio furniture. If you spot messy and erratic webs around your property, you may have a black widow problem.

Black Widow Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Despite their reputation, black widows often shy away from human contact, preferring to retreat rather than attacked. That said, if they feel threatened, they may still bite. As the most venomous spider in North America, their bites can be extremely painful and potentially dangerous. Within an hour of a black widow bite, victims may notice symptoms such as stiffness, intense pain, chills, nausea, or a fever. If you think you have been bitten by a black widow spider, seek immediate attention. Worried you may have black widows on your property? Contact your local spider exterminators to have them quickly and safely removed.