The males black widow spiders do not bite. But female black widows do when their webs are disturbed by people. This usually happens when people are moving items or debris and unknowingly disturb the spider. Areas like sheds, utility boxes and other often undisturbed areas are prime habit for these spiders, so people need to be alert when reaching into these types of areas.
Black Widow Bite Symptoms
Any person who is bitten by a black widow will only feel a pin prick at first. The pain sets in a few minutes later. The pain spreads with varying speeds to arms, legs, chest, abdomen and back, depending on how much venom was injected and the persons natural reaction to the venom. As time goes by the human bitten by a black widow might experience chills, vomiting, violent abdominal cramps, perspiration, delirium, and/or partial paralysis. Any or all of these symptoms may appear within a few hours after the bite.
Black Widow Bite Treatment
Mild symptoms at first may lead to unwarranted complacency, so the bite victim needs to be careful of that. For severe bites professional medical attention should be sought. In mild cases a hot or cold compress can help ease the swelling, and over the counter pain relievers can help with the pain.
Black Widow Venom Effects
Black widow venom is 15 times more poisonous than that of a prairie rattle snake. Of course, a spider will inject much less venom than a snake. Most black widow spider bites are non-fatal.
Black widow venom contains a number of neurotoxin proteins that have effects on insects. Only alpha-latrotoxin is specific for vertebrates. This compound binds to high-affinity receptors in nerve terminals and causes massive stimulation of neurotransmitter releases. Hence, this material will cause multiple responses in organs and muscles throughout the body. It takes some time for the alpha-latrotoxin in the venom to circulate in the blood steam and make its way to those specific nerve receptors. That is why the effects of a black widow bite may seem trivial at first and then keep on increasing in severity.