Daily Archives: August 1, 2008

What you don’t want to see in your garden

black widow
This is what you don’t want to see in your garden. Especially at the base of the steps that your toddler just sat at and which you just walked over.

Every year we catch a few black widows, but they are usually back in the wood pile or under rocks. This time it was right out in the open. And it was huge. Unreal looking. I mean, doesn’t it look like a dime store plastic ring? Although we don’t use an exterminator, everytime I see one of these in our yard, I have a strong desire to call one and just have them spray the heck out of our yard. However doing a little reading up on them made me feel a tad bit better about Scott and my fatality should we ever get bitten:
black widow

Although their venom is extremely potent, (15 times more potent than that of the rattlesnakes; it is also reported to be much more potent than the venom of cobras and coral snakes), these spiders are not especially large. Compared to many other species of spiders, their chelicerae are not very large or powerful. In the case of a mature female, the hollow, needle shaped part of each chelicera, the part that penetrates the skin, is approximately 1.0 millimeters (about .04 in) long, long enough to inject the venom to a point where it can be harmful. The males, being much smaller, inject far less venom with smaller chelicerae. The actual amount injected, even by a mature female, is very small in physical volume. When this small amount of venom is diffused throughout the body of a healthy, mature human, it usually does not amount to a fatal dose (though it can produce the very unpleasant symptoms of latrodectism). Deaths in healthy adults from Latrodectus bites are relatively rare in terms of the number of bites per thousand people. Sixty-three deaths were reported in the United States between 1950 and 1990.

However I still live in fear that one of our boys gets bit. It’s a good thing the ER is just a few blocks away. Has anyone heard of anyone getting bit by one of these? Anyone have any near misses?
black widow

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