Photo by Melody

Western Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus)

Order: Araneae (ah-RAY-nee-ee) (Info)
Family: Theridiidae
Genus: Latrodectus (lat-roh-DEK-tus) (Info)
Species: hesperus (HES-per-us) (Info)


No positives
3 neutrals
No negatives


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Kingman, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Queen Creek, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Bostonia, California
Calistoga, California
Canoga Park, California
Chico, California
Fremont, California
Hesperia, California
Laguna Hills, California
Modesto, California
Paradise, California
Reseda, California
Sacramento, California
San Francisco, California
Cape Coral, Florida
Las Vegas, Nevada
Medora, North Dakota
Santaquin, Utah

By CactusJordi
Thumbnail #1 of Western Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus) by CactusJordi

By Xenomorf

Thumbnail #2 of Western Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus) by Xenomorf

By palmbob

Thumbnail #3 of Western Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus) by palmbob

By palmbob

Thumbnail #4 of Western Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus) by palmbob

By Ally_UT

Thumbnail #5 of Western Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus) by Ally_UT

By Ally_UT

Thumbnail #6 of Western Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus) by Ally_UT

By palmbob

Thumbnail #7 of Western Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus) by palmbob

There are a total of 11 photos.
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Member Notes:

Neutral palmbob On Jul 31, 2006, palmbob from Acton, CA
(Zone 8b) wrote:

This is probably, next to ants, the most common 'bug' in my relatively new yard. There are hundreds of them out there, and though I know they are potentially quite toxic, they are very shy (never even see them in the day) and seem reluctant to go after anything that REALLY moves their webs (like my fingers). And are pretty good about catching 'bad bugs'. Their webs bug me more than they do, actually. Their webs are some of the ugliest, sloppiest webs in the spider kingdom... no apparent pattern or design, and always where I weed, creeping me out as I grab a handful of grass or milkweed, and pull up more than I bargained for (like dead bug parts, webbing etc.). They make large nests full of 1-2cm fluffy white spheres simply loaded with spider eggs, that periodically open releasing a gazillion baby black widows (yuk). So I do remove the egg 'balls' when I see them (obviously I miss a lot of them or there wouldn't be so many spiders in the yard).

Neutral Tokoro On Mar 4, 2009, Tokoro from Sacramento, CA
(Zone 9a) wrote:

We have a hard rule about handling the wood pile without gloves because we have so many black widows. But last week I was cleaning up a silver sage (salvia argentea) and there was a huge black widow, full of eggs, hiding among the large leaves.

I generally wear garden gloves, more happily now that the nitrile ones are available and can protect my hands without a loss of dexterity - but glove are now the rule for all clean-ups where there is leaf litter and for reaching into or under plants to clean up old foliage.

I'm surprised that none of my cats has ever been bitten - in fact, they seem to eat black widows with no consequence. Anyone know anything about this?

Neutral Vestia On Jul 9, 2012, Vestia from San Francisco, CA wrote:

I always wear gloves now when handling or moving large plastic pots - I have found several widows under the rims of 10 & 15 gal. nursery pots.

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