Most everyone thinks black widows are bad, and I have to admit, I felt the same way not so long ago. Then something happened to change my opinion of them, to see them in a different light. Now I recognize that black widows aren’t bad.
I was working under the overhang to our barn, cleaning up the place, and I was about to reach down and lift a piece of plywood to move it. I was just about to pick it up when my wife shouted a warning.
“You’d better put gloves on,” she said.
I knew the rules. We have so many black widows on the property, that we made a rule that we wouldn’t pick something up without gloves because even though black widows aren’t bad, they like to hide on the underside of things, especially wood.
So I put on my gloves, lifted the piece of plywood, and there she was—a black widow guarding her egg sac. I turned the plywood upright, then got a small stick to scoot her onto a smaller board so we could relocate her. I moved her, then carefully moved the egg sac. She was frantic while I tried moving the eggs, running around as if panicked. When I finally did move them, she meticulously cleaned the sac, then took about fifteen minutes moving the sac to the center of the board where it would be safe.
I have to tell you, after witnessing that, I had a change of mind regarding not only black widows, but all spiders. Black widows aren’t bad, they’re simply mothers protecting their babies or their homes. I had a newfound respect for them. Below is a short video of her while she prepared to move the egg sac.
I wrote another piece about black widows here. You should read it. It’s enlightening. It also shows one of the best pictures of the well-known hourglass image on the black widow’s belly.