I have a real website now rather than a blog. Though I will keep this one open for a while, I will no longer keep this one up. My new site, "USA Spiders" is not fully completed but getting close. I made sure to get the Michigan page finished first. :o) Please use
USA Spiders in the future and if you find any problems with the site, please let me know so I can fix them.

Spiders verified to be here in Michigan are listed on the left sidebar. On the right sidebar, are the spiders of which pictures have been sent in to me.

The BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER! - Rick Vetter, the worlds top expert on the Brown recluse has published a book on the infamous Brown recluse spider. Learn the truth behind the worlds most misunderstood spider. (BUY IT HERE!)

My Disclaimer
My Knowledge and Why I am Not an Expert

Spider Questions and IDENTIFICATION Requests
My EMAIL can be found in the above link. I am always happy to help identify a spider, but please do us both a favor and read this before emailing me. Thanks.

Describing your Spider ..... Photographing your Spider

Your Fear of Spiders
........... Spiders in your Home?


Beyond Spider Dome - Where two spiders enter and one comes out.

Spiders and Drugs - Documentary video about the effects different drugs have on spiders.

Play with a computerized spider
- (flash)

Spider Diagram. - Basic anatomy of a spider.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Northern Black Widow

The Northern Black Widow spider is becoming more common in the southwestern part of the lower peninsula of Michigan. I have reported in the past that they were very rare but that no longer seems to be the case. Recently I had someone email me with a picture of a black widow spider he found near the western coast of the lower peninsula, almost half way up the state. I began looking into this and found the following three links (one of which he sent to me as proof).
Michigan DNR
Diagnostic Services (at MSU)

Michigan Spiders - Northern Black Widow Spider-2Female

Michigan Spiders - Northern Black Widow Spider-3Female

Michigan Spiders - Northern Black Widow Spider-MaleMale

PHOTOS - The pictures above are not taken in Michigan. They are simply pictures of the spider I found on the internet to help people understand the different looks of the Black Widow. Being as I found them on Google Images, I do not know what site they were from but I will add the address if someone can identify them.

In no way was I meaning to steal these pics as my own and I apologize to any who were misled.

- Females - A glossy black with a red hour glass shape on the underneath side (may be half a glass or split in half). Many will have red marks on the back of the abdomen as well as white stripes on the sides. Males - Usually have red or yellow stripes or spots across the back. Infant Widows of both sex usually look more like the adult males.

Cephalothorax - Approximately half the size of the abdomen, it is also glossy black but has no markings.

Legs - Both, Male and Female have long thin black legs. Though the male is much smaller than the female, it has longer looking legs. In some cases, the legs will have bands of red around them.

- Females are approximately 1.5 inches including their legs. Males are much smaller.

Bite Info - Though the Black Widow is the most venomous spider in the United States, less than 1% of its bites will result in death. Young children and elderly adults are most at risk of fatality if the bite injects its venom. Often it can bite without actually injecting any venom, leaving its bite harmless. However, if after being bitten, the victim begins feeling muscle cramps or abdominal pain, they should go to a hospital. Hospitals have medicines to counter the venom as well as reduce the symptoms.

Other Notes - There are a few different Genus of the Black Widow. The Northern Black Widow would likely be the one found in Michigan in Michigan.

In some cases, the Black Widow will have more of a brown coloring to it.

Genus - Latrodectus variolus


  1. I live in Ludington, Michigan and a couple of years ago a boy found one on the side of his house in the summer months. Was an article in our local paper about it with pictures. Although, no idea of why or how it came to be in Michigan

  2. my name is april and i live in anderson South Carolina.... i came home tonight, and found that my dog left me a surprise in my floor beside the door... i went to clean the "suprise" and found a black spot on the wall... it was a spider. it was black, with 3 red spots on its back, wh white stripes... it looks EXACTLY like the spider in picture 2 on this page... i searched and searched and searched for this spider on the internet, down here, we have the southern black widow, solid black, wh the red hourglass shape on its stomach... i have never seen a spider like this befor, so i thought in no way it would have been a black widow. how did it get all the way down here, to south carolina????? please help!!!

    1. you fucking dumbass you live in SOUTH CAROLINA it didn't travel all the fucking way from Michigan its called a southern black widow.

    2. What a fucking dumbass you are for calling her a dumbass... Get a life you fucking moron

    3. I guess I'm a fucking dumbass too, because i just found two of these in my window sill this morning and i live in Alabama.

    4. The Black Widow is actually much more common in the South than in the North. I'm from Georgia and we'd have these ALL OVER the outside walls of our house. However,we never had any trouble with them.

    5. Oh,my bad...This is the Northern Black Widow,which is not the same as the Southern Black Widow. However,there's very little difference between the two. They are equally dangerous.

  3. please write me at

  4. Sorry April, your address came back non-deliverable for some reason. Here is my reply....

    Hi April

    Though it is called the Northern Black Widow, it is still a black widow. I am not positive on where all it is found, but it would not surprise me if they are in South Carolina. Often when people put pictures on sites, they tend to just use the one everyone recognizes. I believe that black widow lives in quite a vast region covering many states and can even be found in Florida, but I am not positive of that so dont quote me on that. lol Likely it just isnt as common there as the other standard hour glass widow.
    You definitely want to get rid of him from in your home. Since she was by the front door, it is likely she had just come in that way and has not laid eggs or anything. That would be my guess at least. :o) They are not aggressive spiders, but not to be handled either. I sure wouldn't leave it in my home. lol There is always a possibility you have more around the house though. So you might want to get some spray and spray around the doors and windows every couple months. If you can afford it, have a professional do the whole perimeter of your home. Maybe the attic or basement if it is unfinished. If you cannot afford it, go to a Lowes or Home depot or something. They have jugs of spray meant for spraying around your doors and windows.
    As for getting rid of the one in your home on the wall? A good old rolled up newspaper would do the trick. lol I have a rule. If they stay outside I wont harm them. If they come into my territory they risk their lives. Whether they live or die depends on if they are aggressive or dangerous or the difficulty of removing compared to just finishing them off. Since we really dont have any dangerous ones in Michigan that usually isnt a problem.
    Hope this helped a little. Dont know what else to say. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask.

    Email me at

    1. Which Email to use....

      During warm months, use, for I will check that address a few times a day on most days while only checking my personal address once a week on average.

      During the colder season, I will only check once every couple weeks at best and use my personal address more often.

      If you do use, I would ask you to use it only to let me know I have an email at the other address. It is much easier on me if I have the pictures in one address only. So please send pictures to MichiganSpiders and use Kenjaa824 in the winter to only notify me a picture was sent.


  5. April- Northern Black Widow Spiders are found throughout the eastern US, from southern Canada south to Florida, and west to eastern Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

    We have a spider infestation in the kitchen window above the sink. While I am terrified of spiders- somehow because the spiders have been half 'outside' and seem to stay in the same area- I have grown to like watching them. About 2 years ago a gazillion eggs hatched and it was really neat to see all the teeny tiny babies all over the window screen.
    I always thought they were just a black orb weaving spider- but after realizing they hang upside down- and are glossy- I've identified them as Northern Black Widows. I always thought they would be larger than a wolf spider- and these are tiny- like dime/quarter size with the leg span.
    Hoping to get some photos soon to post. I most likely will just leave them be, as they haven't seemed to cause any harm. My only concern is that they will crawl into the house when the window is open- but so far seems like they stick to their webs or they hide during most of the day in the side of the window casing.

  6. While you may very well have black widow spiders in Michigan, the female in the first picture is not one of them. This specimen was photographed in Houston Texas in 2008.

    You are welcome to use the image but please include proper attibution.

  7. I apologize for the misleading pics. These and the Brown Recluse (I believe) are the only ones I have that are not from here. I added them from Google images only because I felt it was important to have an image of them for people to identify.

    I have added the address under the pic you mentioned and a message about the pics below the pictures. I do hope this is done to your satisfaction.

  8. I went into my basement last night and I seen a big black spider. My first thought was black didn't have any markings on it..but I had read that not all of the females do. I put the spider into a ziplock container and put it outside. After re-evaluating the spider I found, I have ruled out the possibility of a black widow. The butt was not as big and round as the widow and it was not as shiny. The spider I found is all black..the length of the body was at least 1/2 in.(Could have been closer to 1 in. or maybe even 1 1/2.) The width of the body was probably about a 1/4 in. I took a couple of pictures of this spider and would like to get your take on it..After doing some research I think it was a black house spider..but I would like a 2nd opinion. If you give me your email address I will send them to you.(Saginaw, MI.)

  9. My son just found a spider in our house & I can't find any pics of it on the internet. It was black & about the size of a nickel with interesting red lines on the top of the abdomen. Just black on the underside. Any idea what it was?

  10. I am sorry but without a picture or a much more detailed description, I cant identify it. Even with those there are times when I cannot.

    It could be several different kinds. I believe the Northern Black Widow usually has the hourglass, but I cannot guarantee it always does.

    If I had to guess, I would say possibly the Steotoda, also known as the False Widows sometimes. Usually its markings are tan or orangish yellow, but they do sometimes have red lines along the sides of their abdomens. has a page of them and the first photo has one that is red.

    Copy and paste this address to your address bar.....

  11. I found this same spider on my porch today. This is the first site i went to and find it weird that I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma but its considered a Northern Black Widow... Ive also found a Brown Widow which has said to be moving its way into our area of the states.

  12. I live in Missouri and I killed one inside today on my ceiling. Looked young... but markings matched up perfectly.

  13. ken if you need a picture, we just took one yesterday of a female, she was inside a electric meter can, dnr says this is a normal place for them to hide. the location is 3 miles east of lake city, michigan off m-55
    (near houghton, too!)

  14. Hello, I have no photos, but am 90% certain I've seen multiple juvinile spiders (both male and female) in the basement bathroom at my mother in laws house. (Niles, MI) The males had yellow hour glasses and a few of the females had the red on the bottom, both were pretty small though, about the size of jumping spiders, but also spindly and shiny black with the markings. The females were underneath the cabinet, the male was up in the corner of the room. I was panicking and caught between shock and embarrassment, I squirted them with bleach. I didnt tell her until a few months later because I didn't think I was right..Until these photos.

  15. I live in between Grayling and Roscommon Mi. I killed one of these spiders on my front porch just the other day. So they are becoming more populated in Mi. Also the area I live has never had a tick problem till this year. I think the mild winters have something to do with it.

  16. My wife caught one, observed six others and 200 or so of it's little ones on m-28 near Strongs Michigan.

    They were found under the eaves of the house.

  17. I Have Found Northern Widows At Camp owasSipe (Forgive My spelling) On several Occasions. NE Of muskegon.....Despite The Nature Coordinators insistence Otherwise.....Best Place To Find Them Is Under The Sand steps Leading Down To The Range.... :-)

  18. A few years back I found one in the corner of my room. Odd I thought, but neverless I knew it was a black widow. Just recently I found another one in my shed.
    Roseville, MI

  19. I found a black spider with two triangles red with the tips close on the under belly and a red dot on the top it was found in the top of my book case I use every day it is now sitting in a jar.... it is the frist time I have ever seen a widow not something you see every day in Rothbury MI

  20. im sorry but you seem to take the widow litely you may not die from its bite but my daughter is in the hospial now from being biten. Her hand swelled up three times its normal size they lanced her thumb to drain the poision out an insisted she stay in the hospital another day.So beware///// From muskegon.

  21. Greetings from Brethren, Michigan, a tiny town (no stop lights, but somehow we have a Post Office...?) 10 miles North East of Manistee, Michigan. My husband and I were out splitting wood this evening, and there on the splitter stood a Black Widow. Female. I'm the very outdoorsy type and have spent years of my life pouring over books, identification guides, field guides and college classes to learn as much as I can about the flora and fauna of Michigan. I knew Black Widows had been sighted in my 'neck of the woods,' but in all my travels, trails and rivers, I had never encountered one. I had also never actively sought them out for, shall we say, obvious reasons? Now I have one in a jar in my garage, as tomorrow I will take it in to my Tribal Conservation unit, then on to the DNR if needed. Nothing short of terrifying. Somehow, my husband, my dog and myself eluded a bite from THIS Widow. But now we're both looking at the woodpile with fear. We have 20 acres that include every wildlife habitat you could imagine; heaven on earth for me. Heaven has a price, a hefty one the three of us came dangerously close to paying today. I do have 14 megapixel pictures that I would be more than willing to submit for confirmation.

  22. I have found many northern black widow spiders around the outside of my house and in my garage. I lived in the EUP for 23 years, and I've never seen one. I've lived in Traverse City for 2 years and have seen so many. I have pretty good pictures of them if needed.
    Traverse City, MI

  23. New sighting of black widow in Brighton, MI.

  24. Hey i found a Northern Black Widow spider in my window this morning. I didnt know that we get them in Michigan until i read this post. We live in Lake Mi, Clare County. Thats right in the center of the lower. I have it in a jar at home and plan on bombing the house and spraying the yard. The spider is still alive in the jar but i will not be letting this one go. Better safe than sorry.

  25. I live in West Branch Michigan and I usually have 3-4 of these hanging out in my kitchen window every summer. Except for this year for some reason, I think it was because it was really cold last winter. I usually just leave them alone though there not hurting anything.

  26. I just found one inside the bed of my truck in davison michigan, but believe the spider came out of a old tire that I brought home from Lupton Mi.

    1. IF you find a Northern Widow, please get a picture of it and send it to me at Please attach the file and do not paste the image in the body of the email.

      I would like to keep track of where these spiders are sighted and when. But I cannot just take peoples words for it either as too many people do not know one spider from another. So I need pictures, or the actual spider sent to me as proof. :o)

  27. My husband was bit by a black spider (presumably a Widow) while traveling out west near Reno. He found the cottony web in the corner of the motel room and decided to poke at it with a pen (had a few beers in him lol). The spider then very quickly ran up the pen to his finger where it struck him. He described feeling very nauseous, having neck pain, and suffering from abdominal cramping. It went away after a day or so and he never sought treatment. Keep in mind that he is a 6', 250 lb man, if it had been a child or elderly person the outcome might have been much different. I myself have witnessed many Black Widows while I lived in California, they do not typically attack unless they are disturbed or threatened and are active at night. Back in Michigan now, have not seen one yet but I will send in a photo if I ever do.

    1. Also, their webs are located near the ground and are very messy/fluffy in appearance.

  28. It won't let me upload a pic here, I don't know what kind of spider I just saw and killed, but it had a black body and long skinny legs that were red. There weren't any stripes on the legs or body, but I've never seen any spider with red legs before and it was in the outside of my children's bedroom window. (I'm in Pullman,Michigan)

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  30. I discovered a northern black widow spider with red spots on it's back in my garage tonight. It was suspended in it's web at about 3 feet below the ceiling. Very rounded, almost balloon shaped body, not a huge spider, but bigger than most spiders I see. I held a container up to it, severed the web with my hand and the spider fell into the container. I lightly touched it with my finger at which point it recoiled. I took it outside for release. I live in an oak-pine forest close to Roscommon, in northern Michigan. Fascinating find. Thanks for posting all the good info on spiders. I like to say that I promise not to bite spiders if they won't bite me. So, far it's been working out well. Patrick Demers

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