It seems like every third person on social media lately is posting a picture of a spider they found in their yard or in their home with the hopes that someone can identify it.

And inevitably, there’s always an amateur expert who comes crawling out of the woodwork to proclaim that you have stumbled across a black widow. And even though these people are far from being actual experts (unless of course you consider people who can spell Google experts), the mere mention of black widow sends chills down our collective spines.

So we thought we’d get to the bottom of this mystery. We reached out to the Monmouth County Health Department who got us in touch with the Public Information Office and the really nice people there got in touch with the actual experts and they were able to answer our questions quickly for us.

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We wanted to know just how many confirmed black widow sightings they have on record in Monmouth County, and our collective relief, black widows are so rare in Monmouth County that they don’t even keep records on them. That’s good news.

And just in case you need to confirm that for yourself, you can be on the lookout for the signature red hourglass marking on their bellies, but to tell you the truth, flipping a spider over for identification sounds like something I’d rather leave to someone else. You can also supply the Rutgers Entymology Dept. a photo and they’ll identify the creepy crawler for you.

However we should remind you that if you have experienced a bite from an unidentified spider you should seek out an expert or medical attention just to be on the safe side. There are two spiders that experts say could pose a medical threat in our parts. The rare black widow and the less rare recluse spider.

So just be careful this summer, but breathe a sigh of relief that the Black Widow sighting is a very rare one here at the Jersey Shore. And also that you might want to dig a little deeper that Facebook for your expert advice.

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