But don’t worry! They’re cruising for insect nosh, not your ankles. Black widows, the most venomous spiders in North America, are rushing into NY for terribly uncool reasons, possibly as nature’s payback for our mild winter: the spiders follow the insects, and there are more insects than normal in NYC. “Some of it is due to the mild winter followed by a warm summer and some of it is due to the heavy downpour rains we have had,” Gill Bloom, entomologist and president of New York City-based Standard Pest Management, told the NY Daily News. Temps in the Tri-State area are the highest they’ve been since records started being kept in 1895, which boosts insect mating rates but also drives them inside (with you!) to beat the heat.
Yes, their bite can kill you if you’re a senior, have compromised health, or are currently a small child. They won’t bite unless cornered or bothered; regretfully, they like moist and damp places (e.g. closets, garages) which you might bother while hunting down that dusty pair of shoes. If you get bit: try to identify which spider did the deed and wash the wound with soap and water. After the pinprick bite, the area swells and nausea follows, along with chest or abdomen pain: if you weren’t sure whether the bite was venomous, this is a fantastic indicator that emergency services should be contacted. Serious side effects last 2-3 days, while mild symptoms can last weeks. Above all, stay calm! Rarely will a black widow bite kill an adult. Rarely.
(Photo: Dope on the Slope/Flickr)