I just got a call from a lady in Albuquerque who had a question about a black widow. She said there was a black widow on the side of her house in a web. A neighbor came by and said she had to hire an exterminator and kill it or kill it herself. She asked me why she had to kill it. She doesn’t have any children. I said she didn’t have to kill it. It will not hurt her and it will feed on flies, mosquitoes and other pests, so it is paying rent. She laughed and said it can stay there.
Black widows are venomous, and their bites can be fatal, but they are not at all aggressive. They will bite if mishandled, squeezed or if you threaten their egg sacs. They bite in self-defense and to defend their baby spiders. They do not run around a house looking for people to bite. In reality, all species of spiders kill approximately 7 people a year in the U.S. Black widows are responsible for some of them and brown recluse are blamed for a few. Other spiders can cause a problem if the person has an allergic reaction to the venom, but as I said, no spiders will bite you except in self-defense. In the U.S., nobody has died from a scorpion sting in over 40 years and centipedes have painful bites but the species we have in the U. S. are not deadly. In reality, furniture kills more people than all the spiders, scorpions and centipedes combined. So watch out for a falling furniture!
We spray lots of pesticides in and around our homes to control these so-called dangerous critters. It is a scientific fact that exposure to pesticides that are commonly used by pest control companies can cause children to be 47% more likely to get leukemia and 43% more likely to get lymphoma than children who aren’t exposed to pesticides. The same pesticides have been found to cause pregnant women to have autistic children and have been linked to Parkinson’s Disease. And this is just what we know. When somebody is exposed to pesticides, they may not get sick right away or even in the near future, but the pesticides can certainly compromise their immune systems making them more likely to get sick a few years down the road and even making them more susceptible to coronavirus.
I would never recommend letting black widows, scorpions or centipedes to live in or around your home if you have children, as accidents can happen. But using pesticides applied by a pest control company is not a safe way to control them. I asked one fellow who was spraying office baseboards what he was using and he said he couldn’t pronounce it and walked away. Another fellow was spraying the baseboards in a home and using a lot of pesticides. When the homeowner asked him why, the fellow said his nozzle was broken! These are the people who are licensed and certified to spray toxic pesticides in and around your home.
There are safe, non-toxic products you can use and kill them yourself. It is cheaper, safer and much better for the environment if you do your own pest management without the use of toxic pesticides. Be careful. Watch out for falling furniture and some exterminators, but don’t worry about the spiders and other bugs. If you have any questions, or if you want to join my Earth Friendly Bug Club, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.