Black widow spiders invade northern Utah

NORTHERN UTAH (ABC 4 Utah) – Halloween festivities are in full swing, but experts are warning Utahans about one creepy critter that will stick around after the holiday is over.

Eagle Mountain families are on high-alert, after thousands of black widows infested their neighborhood.

"We started noticing them in the summer. We would see them in our garage at least several times a week, sometimes everyday,” said Brie Breivik, a concerned Eagle Mountain homeowner.

Ever since, the problem has become worse. The family recently found eight black widows outside their home in just one day.

“This does not seem normal at all,” Breivik said.

Experts agree. They say it warm, dry temperatures, combined with an influx of tiny bugs, that has turned northern Utah into the perfect black widow breeding zone.

"They're actually surviving a lot longer. Usually they can survive a few months without eating, but now, they're just having a hay day!” said Brian Fullen, with Hybrid Pest Control.

This fall, pest control companies have responded to triple the amount of widow infestations than usual. They recommend spraying the spiders directly, but if that is not possible, you can also spray their webs.

"A lot people don't know this, but black widows will actually ingest their webs,” Fullen explained.

Widow webs are disorganized with no distinct pattern. You will typically find them in sheltered areas, away from people.

"A lot of people are going to start winterizing their sprinkler systems, and they're going to open up those valve boxes, and they're going to see some [widows] in there as well,” Fullen said.

A widow's venom is 15 times more poisonous than a rattlesnake's. The good news is that the poisonous spiders are not aggressive unless people provoke them.

Still, the Breiviks say they'll soon take their safety precautions to the next level.

"My husband has been doing it himself, like going and buying spray, but I mean, we might need to do professional [spraying] at this point because we just can't get rid of them,” Brie Breivik said.

Doctors say if a black widow does bite, it is crucial to seek medical help. They also ask that patients bring the dead spider in with them, if possible. That way, medical staff can more accurately diagnose a person's bite.

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