10 Natural and Effective Ways to Get Rid of Black Widows

Black widow with egg sack
© Chuck Evans(mcevan)”. / CC BY 2.5

Written by Sharon Parry

Published: April 26, 2024

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More than 3,700 species of spiders make their home in the United States. Even people who do not like spiders have to accept that there will be some in their homes, yards, and gardens. Many people feel differently, however, about the notorious black widow spider because it is venomous. If you would prefer not to share your home with this spider, we have some natural and effective ways to get rid of black widows for you to try out.

Black widows can produce a powerful venom that is reported to be 15 times more potent than a rattlesnake’s. However, it is the female that produces it in significant quantities and who has longer fangs so she is more dangerous to humans. The bite feels like a sharp pin-prick and delivers a neurotoxin. Most bites cause muscle aches and nausea but they can be fatal for some people, especially children.

Three black widow species are widespread in the United States but there are other species here too. Latrodectus mactans inhabits the southern half of the country. However, in northern states such as Illinois, there is a northern black widow with the scientific name Latrodectus variolus. In the southwest of the country you are more likley to come across the western black widow (Latrodectus hesperus). The numbers in each state depends on the local conditions but they do tend to favor dry and arrid conditions. California, Arizona, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah have significant black widow populations.

Typically, you will find these spiders in dark, dry places. In your yard, they could be in woodpiles. Black Widow spiders are typically found living under stones, in hollow tree stumps, and around woodpiles which is how many get carried into houses. In your home, you are most likely to find them in eaves in the attic and in the basement. They hide in boxes, unused blankets and shoes, and other dark crevices.

Here are some natural ways to get rid of black widow spiders that do not require the use of powerful pesticides.

1. Organize Your Storage

Stacked plastic file storage boxes with folders, binders and miscellaneous items.

Spiders to not favor organized areas.

©trekandshoot/Shutterstock.com

Try to keep your storage area organized, especially in basements and attics. Use sealed containers for your possessions whenever you can so that there are no hidden areas for the back widows to gain access to. The advantage of this method is that it also deters cockroaches, beetles, and other spiders.

2. Declutter Your Home, Shed And Garage

Big mess in an over stuffed suburban garage. animal hoarder.

Hoarding attracts spiders!

©Denis Torkhov/Shutterstock.com

Closets, under stairwells, laundry rooms, under sinks, attics, basements, and garages are just a few areas in the home that can get pretty cluttered. This is the sort of environment that spiders, including black widows, love. By depriving them of their ideal habitats, you discourage them from sticking around in your home. This is a cheap and easy way to deter the spiders. The downside is that you run the risk of getting bitten when you are declutterring so always wear gloves, long sleeves, and pants!

3. Vacuum And Dust Regularly

Man cleaning dust from window blind by vacuum cleaner at home

Vacuuming and dusting disturbs black widows

©Chalabala/iStock via Getty Images

Black widows like to be left in peace. By regularly vacuuming and dusting your entire home you can put them off living there and remove eggs. Focus on window frames, room corners, and under furniture, and make sure that you destroy any webbing that you come across. The best time to look for black widows is at night. If you disturb any when you are cleaning, you can kill them with a fly swatter, a board or a shoe – they cannot run very fast! Empty your vacuum outside immediately after or the spiders will simply crawl back out.

4. Eliminate Cracks And Crevices

Construction worker using silicone sealant caulk the outside window frame.

Sealing around windows keeps out spiders

©Toa55/iStock via Getty Images

Tackle the areas where the spiders are entering your home. They can come in through open windows, holes in screens, and cracks in your home’s exterior. Once you have identified potential entry points, block them up. Replace damaged screens, repair holes and plug crevices with sealant.

5. Remove Food Sources

Cockroach infestation

Food crumbs attract many types of pests

©iStock.com/RHJ

Black widows primarily eat insects so by reducing the insect population in your home, you make it less attractive to the spiders. Get into the habit of regularly cleaning up food crumbs so the insects do not have a food source. The main advantage of this method is that it also discourages other pests such as cockroaches.

6. Install Door Sweeps

Under door insulation brush seal close up shot against white background.

Plug gaps under doors with door sweeps

©Nikola Spasenoski/Shutterstock.com

Door sweeps can be a little fiddly to fit if you do not have the tools or expertise but they are cheap and effective. They block the gap under doors so that spiders cannot crawl in. An added advantage is that they also help to keep out crawling insects and draughts.

7. DIY Insect Repellant

Lavender essential oil

Lavender repels black widows

©iStock.com/Olivka888

You may love the fragrance of lavender but black widows hate it! They also do not like peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus, or citronella. You can make your own natural spider repellant by mixing a couple of drops of the essential oil with a spray can of water. If you add a few drops of dishwashing liquid it makes the liquid sticky and more effective. Spray it around potential entry points but test delicate surfaces first in case it causes straining. Your home will also smell great!

8.Remove Outside Habitats

Burning Debris

Clear up debris in your yard

©iStock.com/Tabatha Del Fabbro Lead Images

The best way to stop black widows from entering your house is to reduce the numbers in your yard. Limit the number of suitable habitats by removing piles of firewood. If you have to keep some, make sure your woodpile is located as far as possible from your house. Wear protective clothing as you do this. Also, remove unruly bushes and tall grasses and mow your lawn frequently.

9. Discourage Insects in Your Yard

Australian Cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae) laying eggs.

Reduce pests in your yard

©Vinicius R. Souza/Shutterstock.com

Make your yard less attractive to black widows by limiting their food supply. Try to deter cockroaches, ants, and mosquitoes by reducing their habitats.

10. Attract Natural Predators

bewick's wren

Wrens eat black widows

©iStock.com/randimal

Black widows are prey for several animals including wrens. Attract these little birds to your garden with nest boxes and water fountains. However, bear in mind that by getting rid of black widows, you may trigger a surge in insect populations!


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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