Black Widow Spider

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Spiders are often reviled due to fear or misunderstanding, but these cool creatures should be revered for the complex and stunning webs many species create and for the important role they play in the ecosystem controlling pest insects. These small but mighty predators are important links in the food web, preying on others as well as serving as prey themselves to other insects, birds, reptiles, and more.

A rare species in Ohio, but found occasionally in southern counties, is the black widow spider as pictured here. The male black widow is smaller than the female and does not pose any risk to humans, but the female’s bite can be serious and medical attention is required. These spiders are not aggressive and bite only when disturbed; most bites occur when someone brushes up against the web and provokes a female to defend her space. Widows build their tangle webs under rock ledges, in old barns, and under benches and chairs.

Similar species of spiders that are often misidentified as black widows include the common house spider and the false black widow. These species are regularly associated with human structures and are probably hanging around simply searching for pests that are invading your home. Learn more about Ohio’s spiders in our Common Spiders of Ohio Guide:

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