Keeping This in Your Basement Could Be Attracting Black Widows, Experts Say

With the holiday season fast approaching, you may be spending more time in your basement digging out decorations than usual as of late. And while you may find yourself somewhat spooked by those creepy Halloween decorations you find down there, there’s yet another frightful encounter you may have in your basement this fall. Pest control experts say that keeping this one thing in your basement could be making it a haven for black widows. Read on to discover how to keep your space safe from these venomous arachnids.

RELATED: If You Live in These States, Watch Out for the World’s Largest Spider.

Keeping cardboard boxes in your basement can attract black widows.

stack of cardboard boxesstack of cardboard boxes
Shutterstock/Africa Studio

If you’re storing your essentials in cardboard boxes in your basement, you may find yourself with a black widow problem on your hands before you know it.

“Undisturbed and unsealed boxes are an attractive place for black widows to hide, especially those that are near to the ground and corners near the foundation,” explains Nancy DeWitt, owner of Patriot Pest & Termite Control. “Corners of the box provide a suitable place for them to construct their webs and lay their eggs.”

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Cardboard boxes can also become havens for black widows’ prey.

cockroach crawling on wooden surfacecockroach crawling on wooden surface

It’s not just the protection offered by storage boxes that make them so attractive to black widows—those unsealed boxes also frequently become homes for the insects black widows like to eat.

“Black widows like to be near an easy food source and to have a somewhat protected environment. Rarely opened boxes in a basement would certainly qualify as a quiet, safe, and protected environment,” says Doug Webb, a board-certified entomologist and manager of technical services at Terminix.

“For black widow spiders, like most spiders, their main food source is live insects and undisturbed boxes in a basement may also provide a good hiding place for insects as well,” adds Webb.

De-cluttering is your best bet in terms of keeping spiders at bay.

white storage bins on wooden rack in basementwhite storage bins on wooden rack in basement

If you want to keep black widows from taking up residence in your home, try decluttering your space as soon as possible.

“One thing that can help with keeping black widows out of stored items is to use plastic bins with tight fitting lids rather than cardboard boxes for storage,”says Webb. “While it is still possible for these pests to get in a plastic bin, it is much more work and usually not worth the effort for them.”

Make sure to protect yourself before cleaning up your space.

person putting on yellow work glovesperson putting on yellow work gloves
Shutterstock/Virrage Images

However, if you’re worried you may already have spiders in your space, take adequate precautions before you start your reorganizing spree.

“Make sure to use heavy gloves if there are visible webs and the boxes or items have been stored there for a while,” recommends DeWitt, as black widows bites can cause serious health issues or, in rare cases, death.

RELATED: If You’re Not Cleaning These 2 Spots, You’re Attracting Spiders to Your Home.


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