Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I am not arachnophobic, but I'm not a big fan of spiders either. A few days ago Lachlan was sliding down my porch banister...numerous times, as he often does. Amy and I were sitting in rockers catching up on the day's news, when Lachlan said, "I think that's a black widow spider."

On his next slide down the banister he repeated, "I think that's a black widow spider."

On his third slide (and third pronouncement) I got up to take a look.

The spider was tiny, but I could clearly see the red spot on its back. The spider was busily working on a small web at the intersection of the banister and the porch railing. I captured him (or her) in a jar, and took a look through a magnifying glass. The spider is small, and the glass jar is thick and irregular, but I'm sure it's a black widow. Unfortunately I can't get a good photo, but I found this one on Wikipedia by "Trachemys":


Now I'm wondering what I might find if I haul out the old windows under my house...or even the lawn mower or power washer!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of our island Post Office. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042113.htm.


  1. Anonymous8:28 AM

    So, now that you have a poisonous spider, what will you do with it?

    1. He (she?) is still in the jar. It's a curiosity.

  2. Anonymous10:58 AM

    where can I find a BWS to deter children from sliding down a bannister. Sounds like a useful thing. Now all young people are not as observant as L. so perhaps the caveat be careful sliding down the bannister there is a BWS spinning a web on it -- or wait let me get a camera to take your picture if you get bit. It would be great on my blog. Debbie Downer

  3. Anonymous4:24 PM

    If it is a black widow, it is nothing to fool with! Only the female bites but her venom is more potent than a rattlesnake, serious side effects...about 5% of human bites are fatal. Females are ID'd by red or yellow hourglass on abdomen, males by red or pale brown stripe.

  4. Anonymous5:57 PM

    My girlfriend was bid on the back of her hand by a black widow while helping her grandmother clean out her basement of old paint cans.....she went to the hospital etc etc to make it short: she was in pain and miserable for a couple of weeks while she gained strength back in her hand..DON'T MESS WITH THEM! THEY ARE SERIOUS WHEN THEY DECIDE BITE!

  5. Anonymous6:25 PM

    Anonymous is right! Only the female bites and she is really dangerous. Please kill it, as it is the only safe thing to do. We lost a family friend when she was bitten by one. We live with lots of woods around us and when we find one, we kill it! We also spray around our house once a month to make sure spiders like the Black Widow stay outside where they belong!

  6. Please don't worry. I had no intention of doing anything reckless with the spider. She is safely done away with.

  7. debbie s.10:24 AM

    Most insects I let live happily (as long as they are outside, and no in MY home) but BW are one of those that get killed instantly, no matter where i find them!

    Found one last year under the lip of the cat litter pan when I took it outside to scrub it down.