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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Round Black Bug with Red Spot ID


Hello.  My wife killed this bug the other day (June/July) and is driving me crazy thinking it's a black widow spider.  I think it's possibly a tick or simply just a creepy crawly that all old houses get from time to time.  She found it on our drapes the other day.  She said it looked like a round belly spider with a tiny red spot on its back.  After she killed it, she said it bled.  She's not sure how many legs it had 6 or 8.  We live in northern Illinois.  Please tell us it is not a black widow so my wife will leave me alone about bug extermination.  Thank you!


It would be incredibly irresponsible of me to make an identification in the absence of the specimen, or at least a decent image.  There are simply too many suspects, and the description is flimsy at best....

That said, I will back you up on not needing extermination services.  Except for structural pests (termites, carpenter ants), stinging insects nesting in between walls or in unavoidable situations, bed bugs, or excessive roach populations, there is really no need for professionals.  Preventing insects from becoming a problem in the first place is the key.

Seal cracks and crevices where insects might enter.  Repair worn weatherstripping around doors, mend holes in window screens.  Store dry foods properly in glass, metal, or durable plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.  Store woolens, silks, furs in a cedar chest.  Be careful when moving items out of storage after long neglect (don't put your hands where you can't see).  Be careful when moving items from outdoors inside, including firewood, plants, etc.  Don't leave clothing or shoes or toys outdoors overnight.

Those simple measures can go a long way to reducing pest problems or eliminating them altogether.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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