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 aren’t known to bite. Black widows are about ½ʺ long. Females have a shiny, black body with a unique hourglass-shaped marking on their abdomen. These red to yellowish markings can also be rounded. Black widows like places that are secluded with few visitors and lots of hiding spots. Piles of wood and stones, hollow stumps, sheds, basements, and garages make the perfect home for them. They also enjoy spinning a web and hanging upside down. They aren’t aggressive, but will attack if threatened. If you and the spider happen to get off on the wrong foot, you’re in for a painful bite. They can leave you red, swollen, itchy and in pain. They also can have some unenjoyable side effects including headaches, stomach pain, nausea, fever, and even a spike in blood pressure. Clearly, they pack a punch, so it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. It’s safe to say that 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 very venomous and both males and females aren’t afraid to strike. These spiders are known for the dark violin-shaped marking on their body. They are typically ¼ - ¾ʺ in length and their bodies are varying shades of brown. Though brown recluse spiders can be found throughout the United States, they are more common in the central and southern regions. Peace and quiet are important to them. They choose to live in places that are secluded and out-of-the-way. You’ll likely find them in laundry rooms, basements, crawl spaces, and attics. If they’ve decided your house is the perfect fit, be cautious. Though not aggressive, they won’t hesitate to attack if they sense danger. Their bites may take you by surprise since the initial bite doesn’t always hurt. However, problems will appear later. The bite area will swell, redden, and form a painful blister. If not treated, dead, shedding skin may develop in the 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—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. In fact, many hobo spiders would rather flee than fight when threatened. These spiders can be identified by the chevron-shaped markings on their body. This helps to separate them from other brown spiders like the brown recluse. They’re typically 1/3-2/3ʺ in length and 2/3-2ʺ in leg span. These spiders like to hang out near railroad tracks and don’t typically come inside. When they do make an appearance, they stay in basements or at ground level because they lack climbing skills. They are most often found in the western and northwestern United States. If these spiders bite, you may not even notice it right away. However, the bite can become a painful, red and oozing blister. While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has deemed the spiders non-toxic to humans, their symptoms can still leave you feeling under the weather. You may experience a bad headache, nausea, fatigue, and muscle twitching for a few hours. 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 can be pale beige, green and of course yellow. These spiders may look like they walked through your brownie batter with their dark brown feet, but we promise that is very unlikely. Yellow sac spiders—Cheiracanthium—actually don’t like to spend too much time inside. They are more likely to be spotted in your garden during the summer. They like to hide under yard debris like rocks and logs. When fall rolls around, they may sneak inside hoping to find shelter. Corners, baseboards and furniture make great homes for these spiders. They pop up most often in the Midwest and eastern United States. These spiders range from 1/5ʺ to less than 1/2ʺ in length. Yellow sac spiders choose to hunt for their prey at night instead of trapping them in a web. This may send them crawling onto your furniture. Though not known for being too harmful, they will bite and sometimes repeatedly. They aren’t lethal, but their bites won’t go unnoticed. Their bites are comparable to brown recluse spider bites and can be painful. The bite area can redden and swell. Wash the area with soap and water and like other spider bites, seek medical attention.
Tarantula—Beware the Hair
Tarantulas—Theraphosidae—look scarier than they really are. We think it’s probably their size—4 to 11ʺ —that gives them their bad reputation. Though many fear them, they are non-aggressive. Tarantulas are brown or black and covered in hair that can irritate the skin. If they feel threatened, they will launch hair toward their attacker. Though they prefer to run away from a fight, they won’t hesitate to defend themselves. Their powerful fangs and jaws allow them to bite. Thankfully, their venom isn’t lethal to humans. The bite will hurt, but it shouldn’t result in severe side effects. However, 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. The good news is that tarantulas prefer to spend their days outside in underground burrows. However, they’ll come out in the summer and fall to mate. They enjoy soaking up the sun in desert regions of the United States. Typically, you won’t find these spiders in your home—but they will slip in through open doors and cracks.
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 homes to be warm and inviting. They slip inside looking for food and shelter. They love to eat mosquitoes, ants, flies, and wasps. If these bugs are flying or crawling around your home, American house spiders will follow them. These spiders range in size from 1/10-1/4ʺ and have long, skinny legs. Their coloring varies from yellow-brown to dirty white and they can appear to have spots. Males can be identified by their darker, smaller body. It’s no surprise they are frequently sighted because they roam all throughout the United States. Closets, window frames, basements, and attics are the perfect place for them to settle down. Even though they are likely to enter your home, they aren’t considered a dangerous threat. American house spiders are non-aggressive and only bite if provoked. Their bites can be painful, but aren’t lethal.
Cellar Spiders—The Basement Dweller
Cellar spiders aren’t afraid to go in the basement. In fact, they are quite happy there because of its dark, damp atmosphere. Cellar spiders are often confused with harvestmen because of their long legs. To add to the confusion, they are both called daddy long legs. Cellar Spiders—Pholcus phalangioides—come in two sizes. Some have longer bodies with legs reaching 2ʺ while others have 1/2ʺ legs and short bodies. Their bodies are oval-shaped and their legs are thin. They can appear gray or brown and have chevron-like markings. 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. In fact, cellar spiders are not even known to bite humans. These spiders are most commonly found on the west coast and southwestern states of the United States. While they do enjoy basements and cellars, they can also be found underneath sinks, rocks, logs, and other sheltered places.
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. They will hide in cupboards, behind and underneath furniture, attics, basements, and any other corner that’s protected. Though these bugs like our homes, they aren’t a dangerous threat. Domestic house spiders like to avoid confrontation. If a threat approaches, they will quickly run away from it. However, if their escape plan fails, they will bite. Their bites will cause pain, itching and swelling. They typically do not require medical attention, but if you are experiencing severe side effects, seek professional help. The domestic house spider varies in shades of brown with pale or black stripes on their heads and bodies. Females are typically larger than males and can grow between 1/3ʺ and 1/2ʺ. Males can grow up to 1/3ʺ. These spiders aren’t picky when it comes to choosing a place to live. They can be found all across the United States.
Funnel Web Grass Spiders—The Bottom Dweller
Funnel web grass spiders enjoy their time in the sun. These spiders—Agelenopsis—are mostly found outdoors. They get their name from the webs they weave. They spin sheet webs with a funnel-shaped structure on one side. They use this as a hiding spot and as a means of trapping bugs. The webs are kept low to the ground in areas of grass, heavy vegetation, and shrubbery. They also can be spotted near steps and window wells. Though they prefer being outside, these spiders will sometimes let themselves into your home. You’ll be able to recognize them by their brown or gray, elongated bodies and distinct markings. These consist of stripes near their head and a chevron pattern on their abdomen, which can be either light or dark. Thankfully, these spiders are not aggressive and their bites won’t cause any serious harm. Though they can be found throughout the United States, they are most common in the Pacific Northwest.
Jumping Spiders—Guess What They Are Known For
It’s no secret that jumping spiders 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. Jumping spiders—Salticidae—range from 1-25mm and have compact bodies with short legs. They are typically black, but can also be tan, gray, or brown. Their markings give them a pop of color with shades of red, blue, yellow, and green. These spiders are mainly found in tropical forests, but have frequently been seen in grassland and prairies. If they come inside, it was definitely an accident. Jumping spiders prefer to be outdoors, but will sometimes catch a ride on us when we’re out in nature. They avoid fighting and only bite when they are out of other options. The good news is that their bites aren’t harmful and will leave you with just mild pain, itching, and swelling.
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. Female spiders of this species look like small tarantulas. Their bodies are brown, black, or gray and tend to be rounder than males. Both males and females have a thin layer of hair. Male southern house spiders are mistaken for brown recluse spiders. They even have a similar violin shape on their brown bodies. However, their markings are typically narrower than the brown recluse. They also have eight eyes while the brown recluse has six eyes. These spiders aren’t aggressive and want to avoid conflict. Like most species, however, if they are threatened, they will bite. Their bites won’t cause serious health problems for us, but there will be mild pain. Southern house spiders prefer to stay in the Southern United States, but have been spotted in other states. As their name suggests, these spiders have no problem making themselves comfortable in your home. They’ll spin their webs around shutters, windowsill and overhangs. If it’s dark and a small space, these spiders will be happy. They also like to hide under stones and logs.
Wolf Spiders—The Web less Hunter
Like their furry namesake, wolf spiders—Lycosidae—are hairy, black, gray, or brown spiders. 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. They are able to live in many conditions and can be found throughout the United States. They settle down in areas with grass or vegetation and plenty of bugs. Though they like being outside, they have been known to travel inside when it cools down. They’ll curl up in windows, doors, and plants and can usually be spotted in garages and basements. Wolf spiders aren’t aggressive and typically only attack when threatened. However, biting isn’t their first means of defense. Instead, they will expose their big, sharp fangs in hope of scaring their enemy away. If left with no other option, they will bite. Despite their fear-inducing fangs, their bite doesn’t pose a serious health risk to us.
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.