DENVER (KDVR) — Black widows can be found anywhere in the U.S. And yes, that includes Denver.
Since it was a humid year, insect populations, like grasshoppers, increased. With insects being a spider’s main prey, the black widow population rose, according to Francisco Garcia, an entomologist at the Butterfly Pavilion.
That being said, black widows are lurking around all of Colorado, but they aren’t necessarily common to see. This is because the spider is extremely shy.
“They only prefer to be in places that are completely undisturbed. We don’t want to mess with them, and we don’t want to interact with them, and they also don’t want to interact with humans at all,” said Garcia.
In cases where people get bitten by a black widow, it’s usually because people are working in a space they don’t normally go. This could be the corner of an unused closet or the basement of a house. Garcia attributes it to bad luck.
“Most of the time, a spider will avoid, at all costs, an interaction with humans,” said Garcia.
Black widows have poisonous venom, and if you’re bit by one, you should go to the hospital. However, it’s usually not deadly. The last time someone died in the United States from a black widow bite was in 1983, according to Garcia.
The odds of seeing a black widow are slim. The odds of getting bitten are even slimmer, especially because only females can bite.
“Black widows tend to have this horrible reputation and we villainize them a lot. I think these spiders are actually super important because they control a lot of pests that can happen in our households,” said Garcia. “They also can eat other things such as mosquitoes or small cockroaches, which tend to be pests in our houses.”
Due to the lack of science, it’s hard to have an exact number on the black widow population, said Garcia. To understand just how many spiders are in Denver, there needs to be a thorough study and more research.
While black widows may be around your house, it’s no cause for concern. You most likely won’t even know they are there. However, if you do get bitten, be sure to seek medical attention.