Recently, I went on a routine service call for a long-time residential client in Manahawkin, NJ who had contacted us to resolve an issue with pavement ants in her home. Pavement ants often nest under stones and pavement cracks — which is undoubtedly why some entomologist gave them that clever name! These small ants are about 1/8 of an inch long and are dark brown to black.
As I began my inspection along the exterior of the home, I noticed a trail of pavements ants foraging from a nearby tree stump to a tiny crack in the pavement near the basement door. When I opened the basement doors, I was greeted by a surprise guest: A black widow spider! These homeowners had no idea that was a nest of black widows in the corner of the basement door!
Black widow spiders are perhaps best known for the females' tendency to eat their partner after mating. It is a hostile way to end a“date,” to say the least. Black widows are considered to be the most venomous spiders in North America! In fact, their venom is reported to be 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake’s.
As I took a closer look at this black widow that greeted me by the door, I noticed that it had a distinctive red hourglass-shaped marking on the underside of its abdomen, which means it was a female. Male black widows are lighter in color, with red or pink spots on their backs. Although a bite from a black widow rarely results in death, their bites are extremely painful, especially from a female. The pain from a bite can easily last for up to 12 hours. Those who are most affected by venomous bites are the very young, the elderly, and the sick.
Although many people fear the fierce black widow (and rightly so!), most don’t understand them. For example, black widows are non-aggressive. In fact, if they are agitated, they often first give a warning bite without poison. It’s that second bite that will get you! It is a variation of that old saying – bite me once, shame on you, bite me twice, shame on me. After being bitten once, you should not be anywhere near that spider! Should you ever come across a black widow, I have three simple words of advice: LEAVE IT ALONE!
Now, I had to treat the home for BOTH ants and black widows. For treating the ants, I applied a liquid application along the exterior of the home and the tree stump where they were nesting. The application is designed to keep the ants alive long enough to carry the application back to their colony. When ants come in contact with this application, they transfer it from one to another, and in a short amount of time, the colony is eliminated and the ant issue is permanently resolved.
For treating the black widows, I needed a different approach. I applied a direct contact solution directly on the spiders and their nest. This solution is designed to immediately eliminate the black widows upon contact. This is the safest and most effective treatment when dealing with black widows.
After the treatment, I reported my findings to the client. Although she was nervous hearing that there were black widows in her home, I assured her that I took every measure necessary to eliminate them. She was immediately relieved and happy to know that her home was now pest free.