Life to Black Widows?

Tuesday September 4, 2012


Mr Pest Control


An industrial client called us about black widows in their paint shop. Upon inspection I found black widows and multiple other species of spiders in the four ventilation ducts. This is a relatively small area where mining equipment is spray painted. I was amazed at the large number of spiders living in paint fumes. I was wondering if you could bat that around a little.

Barry, WV

Mr Pest Control


Sort of like the canary in the mine shaft? Perhaps if the employees at this shop started seeing the spiders dropping dead from the overhead areas it would be a bigger concern that something is amiss in the air they breathe. It is amazing what kinds of conditions spiders and other bugs can tolerate, and not to get overly colorful, but in the past a high percentage of black widow bites were acquired by people sitting on the throne in outhouses, men in particular because of their.........ummm.........increased exposure. This tidbit brought to you courtesy of a well known spider guru at U.C. Riverside. 

I assume those vents that have so many spiders would be for outgoing air, and the attraction to the vents could be due to a higher population of other bugs at those points as well. Spiders seem to figure out what attracts their own food and they hang around those places, such as porch lights at night and bright windows on the interior. Perhaps their survival is a testament to the fact that the air within this painting facility is kept relatively clean, without the excessively high levels of paint or fumes that might kill them. Many arthropods also have a means for shutting off the intake of air when they detect something hazardous to them, so perhaps these spiders manage to close their "book lungs" during those periods when fumes are highest and keep the chemicals out of their system. 

Mr. Pest Control

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Please note, Mr. Pest Control is answering questions supplied by PMP customers across North America. His answers are generated from industry and manufacturer-provided information. The answer may not be specific to the laws and regulations for your State, Province, Territory or Country. In addition, products mentioned may not be registered and or available in all areas. Always check with your local Univar office for specific information to your area. Always read and follow label directions.