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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/possible identification



Greetings and salutations! I am NOT in any way, shape, or form a fan of insects - especially spiders. I am the TOTAL average person who is terrified of them. However - like everything else (especially the potentially dangerous things) I have an appreciation for them. So, I guess the complete circumstances surrounding my question isn't really all that important. Because of my concern for myself, my family, and for the humans in this area - and my humanly serious insane curiosity, I was hoping that I could get an idea of what this is. I know you can't DEFINITIVELY state one way or the other, but I'm sure you can give a 'guesstimate' of what you think it is. I have the video, plus plenty of pictures. So if you need more, please let me know. I just have a hard time sending videos. But!!!!!!! IS THIS A BLACK WIDOW??!??!??!

                     Rachel Lofton

Hello Rachel!

Thanks for the question and your curiosity! This does look like a black widow to me, but there is no need to be afraid. Yes, you want to avoid being bitten, but the good news is that black widows won't bite unless they feel they need to (like if they feel threatened). If you found this girl outside, then you can just leave her alone.

If you do want to get rid of her, I recommend Black Flag Spider and Scorpion spray. It is pretty nasty stuff but kills on contact. That or a heavy shoe, of course. However, I try to avoid killing these ladies unless they are in my space.

Good luck!


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jessica Mellinger


I can answer questions about invertebrates native to California, including insects commonly found in homes. If you have an identification request, please attach a photo to your question.


I was involved in collection and identification of invertebrates for the United States Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division for six years. Also, I provided these same services intermittently for the UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment for many years. I have been a member of since 2009.

Department of the Interior: United States Geological Survey, Davis Field Station; University of California, Davis Aggie Alumni Association; UC Davis Center for Neuroscience; U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs

I have two B.A.'s from the University of California, Davis and two Associate's degrees from Sacramento City College.

Awards and Honors
Special Thanks for Achieving Results award from the Department of the Interior

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