What Do Black Widows Eat?

Black Widow Illustration

How Do Black Widows Find Food?

This spider species creates a strong, irregular web to catch insects. After a successful capture, black widows bite their prey several times while wrapping it in silken strands. In addition to paralyzing and killing the insect, their venom also starts the digestive process.

What Do Black Widows Eat Outdoors?

Black widow spiders will often change the structure of their webs to improve their chances of catching a meal when food is scarce. They are capable of attacking larger prey like mice and small snakes, but it is rare for a black widow to eat these pests. In their natural habitats, black widows eat other spiders as well as a number of insects and arthropods, including:

What Do Black Widows Eat in Homes?

Insect infestations frequently attract these spiders to houses. Pests that are part of the black widow’s diet can lure them indoors such as:

Garages, sheds, basements, and crawl spaces are common hiding places for black widows. Cooler fall temperatures also tend to bring them inside. Firewood and debris stacked against or near a cracked foundation provides an easy entry point for black widow spiders.


Black widows process their food outside of their bodies. After prey is caught in the web, it is injected with digestive enzymes. They consume the prey after it has softened and liquefied. Following feeding, the abdomen of the spider’s body expands as its stomach fills.

How Long Can a Black Widow Survive Without Food?

Like most spiders, the black widow is capable of living for several months without food. Some specimens have been known to survive almost one year in the absence of prey.

Getting Rid of Black Widow Spiders

Removing what black widows eat inside homes is a crucial step to control. Reducing clutter in yards may get rid of potential spider habitats as well. The experts at Orkin have the training and tools to deal with black widow spider infestations.