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Types of Spiders

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

Black Widow Spider

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.

Appearance:

  • ½ʺ long
  • Shiny, black body with hourglass-shaped marking on abdomen
  • Red or yellowish marking can be rounded

Habitat:

  • 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

Threat:

  • 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

Brown Recluse   

Beware the violin. The brown recluse—Loxosceles reclusa—has made quite the name for itself. Like the black widow, brown recluse spiders are very venomous and both males and females aren’t afraid to strike.

Appearance:

  • Dark violin-shaped marking on their brown body
  • ¼ʺ - ¾ʺ in length

Habitat:

  • Quiet and secluded locations
  • Laundry rooms, basements, crawl spaces, and attics
  • Found throughout the United States, most common in central and southern regions

Threats:

  • 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.

Hobo Spiders

 Hobo Spider

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.

Appearance:

  • Chevron-shaped markings on their brown body
  • 1/3ʺ-2/3ʺ in length, 2/3ʺ-2ʺ in leg span

Habitat:

  • Live near railroad tracks
  • Prefer to be outside
  • Will stay in basements or at ground level
  • Western and northwestern United States

Threats:

  • 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  

Yellow Sac Spider

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.

Appearance:

  • Pale beige, green, yellow body
  • Dark brown feet
  • 1/5ʺ- less than ½ʺ in length

Habitat:

  • 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

Threats:

  • 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.

Tarantula

Tarantula

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.

Appearance:

  • 4ʺ-11ʺ in length
  • Brown or black, covered in hair
  • Powerful fangs and jaws

Habitats:

  • 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

Threats:

  • Their hair can irritate skin
  • When threatened, they launch hair toward their attacker
  • Prefer to avoid a fight, but can bite
  • Venom in 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

 House Spider

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.

Appearance:

  • 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

Habitat:

  • Roam through the United States
  • Closets, window frames, basements, attics

Threats:

  • 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.

Cellar Spiders

Cellar Spider

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.

Appearance:

  • 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

Habitat:

  • Dark and damp environment
  • Basements, cellars, underneath sinks, rocks, logs, and other sheltered places
  • West coast and southwestern states of the United States

Threats:

  • 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

Domestic House Spider

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.

Appearance:

  • 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

Habitat:

  • 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

Threats:

  • 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

Funnel Web Grass Spider

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.

Appearance:

  • Brown or gray, elongated bodies
  • Light or dark stripes near head and chevron pattern on abdomen

Habitat:

  • 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

Threats:

  • Not aggressive
  • Bites don’t cause series harm

Though they prefer being outside, these spiders will sometimes let themselves into your home.

Jumping Spiders

Jumping Spider

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.

Appearance:

  • 1/8ʺ-¾ʺ
  • Compact bodies with short legs
  • Usually black, but can be tan, gray, or brown
  • Colorful markings in shades of red, blue, yellow, and green

Habitat:

  • Tropical forests, but can be found in grassland and prairies
  • Prefer to be outside
  • If inside, it’s by accident

Threats:

  • 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

Southern House Spider 

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.

Appearance:

  • Females: round brown, black, or gray body
  • Female and males have a thin layer of hair
  • Males: narrow violin-shaped marking on brown body

Habitat:

  • 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

Threats:

  • 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.

Wolf Spiders

Wolf Spider

The web less 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.

Appearance:

  • Hairy
  • Black, gray, or brown body
  • Big, sharp fangs

Habitat:

  • 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

Threats:

  • 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.


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