When a spider sits down beside us, we typically don’t wait to see what it looks like before running away. There are many types of spiders in the world and each has its own unique traits. Knowing which one is in your home can help you determine how to handle the situation. We’ve made a list of common spiders that you could find hiding in your house.
Black Widow Spiders
Beware the hourglass. This spider’s name evokes fear in just about anyone. The black widow—Latrodectus mactans—is known for its extremely venomous bite. However, only female black widows are reported as harmful. Males don’t have the same reputation and they aren’t known to bite.
- ½ʺ long
- Shiny, black body with hourglass-shaped marking on abdomen
- Red or yellowish marking can be rounded
- Secluded with few visitors and lots of hiding spots
- Piles of wood and stones, hollow stumps
- Basements, sheds, and garages
- Hanging upside down from web
- Not aggressive, but will attack when threatened
- Painful, red, swollen, itchy bite
- Side effects include: headaches, stomach pain, nausea, fever, and even a spike in blood pressure
These spiders pack a punch, so it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. It’s safe to say you don’t want to get on their bad side.
Brown Recluse Spiders
Beware the violin. The brown recluse—Loxosceles reclusa—has made quite the name for itself. Like the black widow, brown recluse spiders are venomous and both males and females aren’t afraid to strike.
- Dark violin-shaped marking on their brown body
- ¼ʺ - ¾ʺ in length
- Quiet and secluded locations
- Laundry rooms, basements, crawl spaces, and attics
- Found throughout the United States, most common in central and southern regions
- Not aggressive but will attack if they sense danger
- Initial bite may not hurt right away, but problems occur later
- Can cause swelling, reddening, painful blister
- Dead, shedding skin may develop in bite area
Their venom can leave people very sick, so don’t wait to act. Start by cleaning the bite area with soap and water. Then, immediately seek medical attention.
The traveler. Hobo spiders get their name for their traveling nature. It’s believed they would hitch rides with humans causing them to pop up in new locations. Males also wander in search of females. Though their name—Eratigena agrestis—implies they are aggressive, they aren’t unless provoked.
- Chevron-shaped markings on their brown body
- 1/3ʺ-2/3ʺ in length, 2/3ʺ-2ʺ in leg span
- Live near railroad tracks
- Prefer to be outside
- Will stay in basements or at ground level
- Western and northwestern United States
- Would rather flee than fight when threatened but can bite
- Bites may not be noticed right away but will produce painful, red, oozing blister
- CDC has deemed them non-toxic to humans but may make you sick
- Possible side effects include: bad headache, nausea, fatigue, muscle twitching
If bitten, wash the area with soap and water and head to your doctor.
Yellow Sac Spiders
The outdoorsman. Despite their name, yellow sac spiders—Cheiracanthium—come in several colors. These spiders may look like they walked through your brownie batter, but we promise that is very unlikely.
- Pale beige, green, yellow body
- Dark brown feet
- 1/5ʺ- less than ½ʺ in length
- Prefer to be outside, found in gardens in the summer
- Hide under yard debris like rocks and logs
- Move indoors in fall
- Corners, baseboards, and furniture
- Midwest and eastern United States
- Can bite repeatedly
- Bites aren’t lethal but are painful
- Can cause redness and swelling
Wash the area with soap and water. Like with other spider bites, seek medical attention.
Beware the hair. Tarantulas—Theraphosidae—look scarier than they really are. We think it’s probably their size that gives them their bad reputation. Though many fear them, they are non-aggressive.
- 4ʺ-11ʺ in length
- Brown or black, covered in hair
- Powerful fangs and jaws
- Prefer to spend days outside in underground burrows (come out in summer and fall to mate)
- Sunny locations in desert regions of the United States
- Typically not in homes but can occasionally slip in through open doors and cracks
- Their hair can irritate skin
- When threatened, they launch hair toward their attacker
- Prefer to avoid a fight but can bite
- Venom is non-lethal but will hurt
It’s possible to have an allergic reaction to their venom. If you start having difficulty breathing, swelling, itchiness, or pain, head straight to the doctor.
American House Spiders
The homebody. You probably already guessed it, but these spiders love to creep into our homes. American house spiders—Parasteatoda tepidariorum—find our houses to be warm and inviting.
- Range in size from 1/10ʺ-¼ʺ
- Long, skinny legs
- Yellow-brown to dirty white, may appear to have spots
- Males are darker and smaller
- Roam throughout the United States
- Closets, window frames, basements, attics
- Not a dangerous threat
- Non-aggressive, only bite if provoked
- Painful bites but not lethal
American house spiders love to eat mosquitoes, ants, flies, and wasps. If these bugs are flying or crawling around your home, American house spiders will follow them.
The basement dweller. Cellar spiders aren’t afraid to go in the basement. These spiders—Pholcus phalangioides—are often confused with harvestmen because of their long legs. To add to the confusion, they are both called daddy long legs.
- Two sizes: long bodies with legs reaching 2ʺ, others have ½ʺ legs and short bodies
- Oval-shaped body, thin legs
- Gray or brown with chevron-like markings
- Dark and damp environment
- Basements, cellars, underneath sinks, rocks, logs, and other sheltered places
- West coast and southwestern states of the United States
- Not known to bite humans
You may have heard a rumor about these spiders and their venom. The myth says that their venom is the most deadly of all spiders, but their fangs are too small to bite humans. This is just a rumor and there isn’t research that supports this claim.
Domestic House Spiders
The homebody: part 2. This is another spider who isn’t afraid to move right in. Domestic house spiders—Tegenaria domestica—love to find dark, dry crevices to live in.
- Shades of brown with pale or black stripes on heads and bodies
- Females are larger than males, 1/3ʺ-½ʺ
- Males grow up to 1/3ʺ
- Will live in a variety of places if dark and dry
- Cupboards, behind and underneath furniture, attics, basements, protected corners
- Found throughout the United States
- Not dangerous
- Like to avoid confrontation and will run away but can bite
- Bites cause pain, itching, and swelling
They typically do not require medical attention, but if you are experiencing severe side effects, seek professional help.
Funnel Web Grass Spiders
The bottom dweller. Funnel web spiders—agelenopsis—get their name from the webs they weave. They spin sheet webs with a funnel-shaped structure on one side. These are used for shelter and trapping bugs.
- Brown or gray, elongated bodies
- Light or dark stripes near head and chevron pattern on abdomen
- Prefer being outside in sunny environments
- Webs located low to the ground in areas with grass, heavy vegetation, and shrubbery
- Near steps and window wells
- Found throughout the United States but most common in the Pacific Northwest
- Not aggressive
- Bites don’t cause serious harm
Though they prefer being outside, these spiders will sometimes let themselves into your home.
Guess what they are known for. It’s no secret that jumping spiders—Salticidae—are great at jumping. When needing to leap, they increase the blood flow to their legs. This gives them the boost they need to jump and they can soar at least 25 times their body length. This combined with their excellent vision allows them to easily hunt prey.
- Compact bodies with short legs
- Usually black, but can be tan, gray, or brown
- Colorful markings in shades of red, blue, yellow, and green
- Tropical forests but can be found in grassland and prairies
- Prefer to be outside
- If inside, it’s by accident
- Avoid fighting and only fight when out of options
- Bites can cause mild pain, itching, and swelling
The good news is that their bites aren’t harmful. Jumping spiders sometimes catch a ride on us when we’re out in nature, so keep your eyes open.
Southern House Spiders
Mistaken identity. Southern house spiders—Kukulcania hibernalis—aren’t as scary as they look. Male and female southern house spiders have a tendency to trick people into thinking they are other spiders. Females are mistaken for small tarantulas while male spiders are mistaken for brown recluse spiders.
- Females: round brown, black, or gray body
- Female and males have a thin layer of hair
- Males: narrow violin-shaped marking on brown body
- Will live indoors or outside
- Dark and small spaces
- Spin webs around shutters, windowsill, and overhangs
- Hide under stones and logs
- Mainly found in the southern United States but have been seen in other states
- Not aggressive and want to avoid conflict
- If threatened, they will bite
- Bites won’t cause serious health problems, but there will be mild pain
These spiders have no problem making themselves comfortable in your home, so don’t be surprised if you see them.
The webless hunter. Like their furry namesake, wolf spiders—Lycosidae—are hairy. These large spiders don’t spin webs and prefer to live in burrows. They are skilled hunters known for their quick speed. Since they don’t spin webs, they actively pursue their prey by pouncing on them.
- Black, gray, or brown body
- Big, sharp fangs
- Can live in many conditions
- Grass or vegetation, where bugs are plentiful
- When cool, they will travel inside near windows, doors, plants, garages, and basements
- Found throughout the United States
- Not aggressive, will attack when threatened
- Prefer scaring their enemy with fangs
- Will bite if they don’t have any other option
Despite their fear-inducing fangs, their bite doesn’t pose a serious health risk.
When you spot a spider, fear will likely be your first reaction. However, knowing who your new roommate is can help you properly assess the situation. Some spiders are more of a threat than others, and knowing what you’re dealing with is important. One or two spiders isn’t usually a problem, but when your home is being invaded, quick action is needed. Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Spider and Insect Dust will help you claim victory.