If you’re like me, you’ve probably had a run-in or two with spiders in your home. North America alone is home to about 3400 species of these eight-legged critters. They’re arachnids, related to scorpions, mites, and ticks.
While most house spiders are harmless, it’s still useful to know what you’re dealing with. From spinning sticky webs in shadowy corners to keeping your home free from mosquitoes, flies, wasps, and cockroaches, these creatures can be more friend than foe.
In this article, we’ll explore the seven most common types of house spiders. I’ll provide some insights to help put you at ease when you encounter them or find their webs. Let’s dive in and get to know our arachnid roommates a bit better.
- There are seven common types of house spiders in North America: American house spiders, wolf spiders, cellar spiders, jumping spiders, hobo spiders, black widow spiders, and brown recluse spiders. Understanding their characteristics, behaviors, and habitats help cohabitate with them more effectively.
- Only a few of these spiders pose any substantial threat to humans. Black widow spiders are the most venomous, and their bites can be harmful, especially to susceptible individuals like children and the elderly.
- The brown recluse also delivers a potent venom that could cause more severe physical reactions. However, both the black widow and brown recluse spiders tend to be non-aggressive unless threatened.
- By contrast, wolf spiders, jumping spiders, and hobo spiders pose little danger to humans. Their bites are rare and usually only affect individuals with specific allergies.
- Spiders play a beneficial role in our home ecosystems, controlling the populations of insects such as mosquitoes, flies, wasps, and cockroaches.
- There are steps you can take to minimize spiders’ presence in your home, such as minimizing clutter, maintaining clean spaces, sealing off potential entry points, using natural spider repellents, and seeking professional pest control help when necessary.
- Cost-effective spider control measures balance professional pest services with DIY initiatives. The choice depends on the extent of spider infestation, home’s size, and the homeowner’s comfort level in managing the situation.
- The risk of spider bites can be mitigated with knowledge and caution. Every spider bite should be taken seriously, and medical help should be sought promptly to avoid possible complications.
1. American House Spiders
American house spiders are one of the most common household critters in North America, often confused with their notorious kin, the brown recluse.
The spiders are believed to have originated from the wetter regions of Europe, but today are spread all over northern America. So whether you’re in a bustling city or peaceful suburbia, chances are there’s an American house spider somewhere nearby.
- Size: Comparable to a US nickel when legs are fully stretched
- Color: Shades of brown and tan, highlighted with dark brown patterns
- Features: Spherical, bulb-like abdomen exclusively found within its messy cobweb
- Habitat: Mostly indoors and rarely ventures outside their web
Contrary to some misconceptions, American house spiders aren’t quite the troublemakers they’re feared to be! In fact, their bites, while perhaps scary to consider, are mostly harmless except to those with specific allergies.
Knowing about spiders found in your home is essential for peace of mind, and the American house spider, due to its prevalence, is one you’re likely to encounter.
These small creatures, less than an inch in size, are often brown with different shades of yellow for males and orange for females. They may be the most common spider in the homes, but that doesn’t mean you’re likely to run into them everywhere. They prefer to create their nests in secluded nooks – out-of-sight places where they’re unlikely to be disturbed.
One frequent query I encounter is the potential danger these spiders pose. Answering that, it’s essential to clarify that bites from this variety of spiders are rarely seen and seldom harmful.
Wolf spiders are among the most common yet misunderstood arachnids that you often find in your home. Mastering their understanding can change your perspective and let you appreciate their role within your home ecosystem. Let’s dive in and learn about these fascinating critters.
2. Wolf Spiders
When we start discussing wolf spiders you’ll notice they boast a fascinating variety of features and characteristics that set them apart.
Color and Features
Wolf spiders in Kentucky, along with their many species, mostly sport shades of dark or light brown. You’ll see contrasting spots or stripes, providing a sense of uniqueness to each spider. Adding to this, wolf spiders are fast-moving arachnids, generally seen scurrying across the ground instead of building webs.
Habitat and Misidentification
Wolf spiders, due to their color, often find mistaken identity by being labeled as brown recluses. However, like most spiders in Kentucky, wolf spiders are not dangerous unless the person bitten has specific allergies.
Now that we’ve peaked into the life of a wolf spider, let’s move on to one of the trademarks of these eight-legged critters – their biting process.
Bites and Allergies
Wolf spiders are not much of the biting sort, but these events do occur, especially when the arachnid feels threatened. It’s crucial to clarify something here – the bite of a wolf spider is harmless to most individuals. Allergy-prone individuals might, however, experience adverse reactions.
So what about the different species of wolf spiders? Each comes with a different set of features and behaviors. We’ll delve into three specific species of wolf spiders namely, the rabid wolf spider, Hogna wolf spider, and the Schizocosa wolf spider in another section of this article. You will also find insights around other house spiders, including the American house spider, jumpers, and the cellar dwellers.
Before we do that, let’s understand how to make your space less attractive to these common house spiders.
3. Cellar Spiders
Basic Facts About Cellar Spiders
The first thing you’ll probably notice about cellar spiders is their long thin legs. With a small thin body that ranges in color from light tan or gray to darker contrasting markings, these long-legged arachnids are easy to spot. You’re most likely to encounter them in their tangled cobweb habitat which is typically located in darker, damp environments such as cellars, barns, warehouses, and garages.
Often mistaken for the brown recluse spider due to their brownish color, cellar spiders have considerably longer and thinner legs. While they may be a bit intimidating to look at, it’s important to know that their bites are typically harmless unless you happen to be allergic, much like any Kentucky spider.
Interestingly, cellar spiders are sometimes referred to as daddylonglegs or granddaddylonglegs. However, they are not closely related to harvestmen — creatures many of us know as daddy longlegs — which are not true spiders.
Cellar Spiders come in two distinct varieties: short-bodied and long-bodied. This diversity accounts for why they’re found throughout Canada and the US, feasting on a diet consisting of insects and other spiders.
Despite the sometimes pervasive myth, long-bodied cellar spiders do not possess lethal venom for humans. For us, their venom is rather harmless and becomes an even smaller concern considering their inability to pierce human skin with their jaws. So, rather than being a threat, they’re actually beneficial as pest-eaters.
The similar-looking harvestmen that are often mistaken for cellar spiders truly aren’t spiders at all, but a more distant relative.
It’s always a good idea to get to know the different kinds of spiders often found in homes. For comparison, let’s take a quick look at some spiders one might encounter alongside the cellar spiders.
| Brown Recluse | Hobo Spider |
Yellow Sac Spider
| — | — |
Small thin body with long thin legs
| Violin-shaped marking on back | Large brown or gray spider |
Pale in color
Light tan or gray
| Brown | Seen outdoors or in basements |
Legs darker than body
Darker contrasting markings
| Six eyes in three groups of two | Strong thick web |
Causes painful bite
4. Jumping Spiders
Taking our discussion further, let’s shift our focus to another common house spider – the Jumping Spider. These fascinating little creatures are more common outside homes and buildings but occasionally wander indoors, causing alarm due to their unique hunting style.
Basic Facts About Jumping Spiders
These spiders have been mistaken for brown recluses due to their color, but like most spiders in North America, their bites are harmless unless you’re allergic. You’ll typically find jumping spiders about the size of a U.S. nickel with their legs outstretched.
What differentiates them visually is their dark reddish-brown head, grey abdomen, and orange legs. They are active hunters that stalk and pounce on their prey. Their web-weaving skills aren’t used for hunting but for laying trails, covering their eggs, and constructing temporary shelters. You might find these spiders intriguing because of their large eyes and the bright colors that most common species sport.
Not all spiders you come across in your home mean you harm or want to set up a dwelling there. In fact, many spiders, like jumping spiders, prefer the great outdoors to the confines of your home. If you do find one inside, chances are it’s lost its way and is trying to find a route back outside.
Avoiding unnecessary panic whenever you chance upon a spider in your home is easier when you have the right knowledge about these creatures. It’s also essential to be aware that not all spiders are created equal; some pose a serious risk, while many others are harmless.
There are over 45,000 known spider species worldwide, but not all types of spiders enjoy indoor living. Nonetheless, all spiders, poisonous or not, can be unsightly, leave messy cobwebs around, and startle you when you least expect them.
Making your space less attractive to spiders naturally could be your first line of defense. A tidy environment, intact screens, and sealing off cracks and possible entrance spots could go a long way. Some also use home remedies like peppermint oil spray, which has been said to repel spiders with its strong scent.
Putting these easy measures in place, you’ll reduce the chances of your home inviting free-spirited jumping spiders indoors.
5. Hobo Spiders
Getting acquainted with the next house spider on our list, meet the Hobo Spider. Named after its tendency to hitch rides on farm produce, it’s a visitor you may find lurking in your basement, garage, or garden.
Basic Facts About Hobo Spiders
Hobo Spiders (Eratigena agrestis) are a common sight in northern parts of Utah. Contrasting the myths spinning around their necrotic bites, there is hardly any concrete scientific proof backing such claims. Additionally, hobo spiders don’t even make it to the venomous spiders list put forth by the CDC.
An interesting fact about these spiders is their resemblance to Grass Spiders, commonly found amidst shrubs and grass around Utah landscapes. However, these spiders are not homely pests and they don’t pose any harm to humans.
Let’s dive into some fascinating facts about Hobo Spiders.
|Hobo spiders identification should not be based solely on color, it’s suggested to get an accurate diagnosis from UPPDL
|They are not listed among venomous spider species by CDC
|Closely resembles Grass Spiders
Hobo spiders display a unique appearance highlighted by their solid, slightly darker brown legs and a distinctive yellow pattern against a grey background. The size varies but is commonly within the 1/2 inch range – a sight that can indeed be somewhat unsettling. When it comes to house spiders, it becomes crucial to identify and understand their characteristics as each carries different habits and behaviors.
Based on the above facts, I’d issue a gentle reminder for everyone out there to keep in mind that all spiders are venomous to different extents, not poisonous. To clarify, venomous predators inject venom through bites or stings, while poisonous organisms deal harm when ingested. This is important to remember, especially when it comes to the species occupying our homes. Despite their venomous attributes, most spiders including Hobo are unlikely to bite humans and if they do, the effect is minor in most cases. So, generally, unless you’re planning on making a meal out of them, the threat level for you is relatively low.
6. Black Widow Spiders
Black Widow spiders certainly have a notorious reputation. However, many of the alarming traits associated with these arachnids can often be distorted or misinterpreted.
Basic Facts About Black Widow Spiders
Black Widow spiders, specifically the Western Black Widow spider (Latrodectus Hesperus), hail from the family of spiders known as Latrodectus. Unlike the worrying hobo spider, which I mentioned earlier, Black Widow spiders are indeed venomous.
Many of these spiders are noticeably shiny and black with characteristic red marks — often hourglass-shaped — located on their abdomen. But don’t be fooled; coloration can vary, so identification based solely on this can be misleading.
What really sets these spiders apart is their size and web-building habits. A grown female Black Widow can typically measure up to 1.5 inches (38mm) when including their leg span, far larger than their male counterparts. Additionally, their webs lack the orderly patterns we often associate with spider web design. Instead, a Black Widow web is irregular and jumbled, often described as ‘messy’.
Although Black Widow venom is reportedly 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake’s, these spiders often get a worse reputation than they deserve. Yes, their venom can indeed be harmful to humans, especially children and the elderly. However, they are predominantly non-aggressive unless provoked or threatened.
You might be wondering what draws these spiders to your home sweet home. Like many other spiders, Black Widows are drawn by favorable conditions such as warmth, darkness, and ample food supply. They aren’t fussy about their prey and will happily munch on various insects, and Black Widows play a valuable role in pest control, snagging insects we might not want fluttering about.
There’s a heavy emphasis on ‘might’ here. I wouldn’t recommend inviting a troupe of Black Widows in to take on your mosquito problem. Let’s remember they are venomous spiders, after all. Remember to keep living spaces tidy, properly seal windows and doors, and monitor dark and undisturbed spots around your premises to manage any unanticipated spider situation.
7. Brown Recluse Spiders
The Brown Recluse spider is a name often mentioned in hushed whispers, nodding to the danger it’s sometimes associated with. As the name suggests, this spider is notoriously elusive, giving rise to a reputation that’s both fascinating and fear-inducing.
Basic Facts About Brown Recluse Spiders:
An interesting feature of the Brown Recluse is its distinct violin marking, earning it the nickname “fiddleback” spider. Its actual size isn’t quite as intimidating, usually measuring around 1/3″ long with an oval-shaped body. It’s coloring varies from brown to gray which aids its sneaky lifestyle.
A trait that sets this spider apart from many other species is that it has only three pairs of eyes. This is in contrast to the typical arachnid, which often boasts four pairs of eyes.
The main cause for concern, though, is its venom. It’s potent enough to harm human cells. In some susceptible individuals, it can cause a slow-healing ulcerous wound at the bite site. Even though the original bite might not be immediately felt, after a few hours the symptoms start to manifest.
You need to always respect Brown Recluse spiders. The good news, however, is that they don’t actively seek confrontation. Like the Black Widow spider, their bites are mostly defensive, occurring when they feel threatened or provoked.
If you happen to spot one in your home, my advice would be to contact a pest control professional. Based on experience, if you see one, there are almost certainly more lurking in the shadows.
Another useful fact to remember is the habitat of these spiders. Brown Recluse spiders can primarily be found throughout the South and Midwest United States. Understanding their prevalence in certain regions can go a long way in identifying and avoiding potential encounters.
Remember, knowledge is power, and the same applies when dealing with spiders. You might not be able to avoid all run-ins with these eight-legged creatures, but with some understanding of their behavior and characteristics, you can keep potential risks to a minimum.
House Spiders and Their Level of Danger
Understanding a spider’s potential level of danger is vital for knowing when it’s okay to handle the situation yourself and when it’s time to seek professional help. When we examine the danger linked with house spiders, we’re not talking about poisonous spiders but venomous ones. Venomous spiders bite or sting to inject their venom, while poisonous creatures are harmful to eat, touch, or inhale.
The most venomous household spider is none other than the Black Widow. The females of the species are noteworthy, shiny black with a distinct hourglass-shaped marking of red, yellow, or orange on their underside. And while they may be small, their size (between 0.12-0.4 inches) doesn’t match their venom’s potency. Black Widow spiders usually reside in low structures or objects close to the ground, such as the undersides of railings and garden furniture. Indoors, you can spot them in basements, garages, and crawlspaces. Although they aren’t fond of company, spotting even a single Black Widow in your home could warrant an exterminator’s help.
On the less venomous end, we have spiders like the Parasteatoda tepidariorum, often found in homes. Yellowish in color and featuring darker streaks, they have eight eyes, six facing forward and two on the side – a spider stare if you will. Lengthwise, they measure between 1/8 to 3/8 inch, with females slightly larger than males. Though they can deliver a bite, they lack the potency that venomous spiders like Black Widows possess.
Another less venomous spider is the Cheiracanthium punctorium or the Yellow Sac Spider. These creatures have a unique habit of hiding in a sac-like structure during the day and hunting at night. Their webs are usually tucked in corners or at the top of walls and are more often found in living spaces: living rooms, bedrooms, and even kitchens. Their bites are not a common occurrence and have mainly been reported by those with compromised immune systems or pre-existing health conditions.
Remember, the chances of coming across spiders in general are much higher than facing a threatening situation with a venomous house spider. If you see a spider and are comfortable doing so, catch it and release it back outside. However, if the spider is venomous or you’re unsure, it’s safer to contact a pest control professional.
What to Do to Keep Spiders Out of the House
Let’s be frank, nobody likes an unwelcome, eight-legged guest hanging around at home. Luckily, I’ve gathered some practical tips that can help drastically reduce the spider population in your house.
Firstly, it’s all about making your property less appealing to them. Spiders love hunkering down in vegetation near your house. By relocating your plants, you can decrease the chances of spiders finding their way inside. Keeping a clean house can also help; reducing clutter minimizes the potential homes where spiders can live and lay eggs.
Turn off your house lights; remember spiders aren’t light-fans but seek places where their food flocks, and bugs love light. By keeping your home a bit darker than usual, you might just make it unattractive to those voracious spiders.
Next, it’s time to put on your DIY hat and seal off entry points. Spiders could be using gaps in your house siding, eaves, and overhangs to sneak in. A mesh screen or, if you’re in a pinch, a piece of duct tape can make a huge difference.
Also, ensure to keep an eye out for areas with rotting wood. They provide a perfect moisture, darkness, and prey-filled environment for spiders. Don’t let your property be an invitation to a spider feast, move those rotting pieces away.
Let’s switch to dealing with indoor conditions. Ensuring that your home is free of spider webs and silk goes a long way. And if the situation gets out of hand, it can’t hurt to break out the heavy artillery, like a trusted spider killer spray.
Lastly, we can’t count out the power of a natural repellent. While it might require a bit of time to make, believe me, it’s worth it when you know you’ve reduced the chances of running into a creepy crawler.
Remember, maintaining a spider-free environment is an ongoing process, so you need to be persistent. Despite these efforts, if you still spot spiders, you might need a pest control professional’s help. But with these tips, you’re making your house a fortress against spiders.
The Cost of Keeping Spiders Out
As an expert in the field, I’ve come across plenty of homeowners wanting to know the price tag attached to keeping spiders at bay. Unfortunately, like most things, it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Several factors, such as the size of your property and the method of prevention, can affect the cost.
Pest Control Services
Opting for professional pest control is a common, effective solution. The exact price can vary, usually ranging from $100 to $500 per visit depending on the extent of the spider infestations. If your home has a consistent problem with spiders, monthly visits might be necessary which could push your yearly cost up to around $1200.
Don’t fancy hiring a professional? There are other ways. DIY spider-proofing initiatives might prove cost-effective. A basic spider killer spray costs around $7 to $15 per can. Natural repellents, on the other hand, range from $10 to $20.
|Professional Pest Control Services
|Cost per Visit or Item
|$100 to $500
|$7 to $20
|Up to $1200
Remember that even though the cost of spider repellents seems lower, over time it might add up, especially if the spiders keep returning. Moreover, your time and effort spent in battling the eight-legged creatures should be factored in as well.
Inevitably, the addition or removal of external food sources and excess lighting can also have an impact on the degree of spider infestation in your home. Oftentimes, a properly placed outdoor lamp or the strategic relocation of plants might be all it takes to dissuade our little web-dwelling friends. Making the surroundings less enticing to spiders isn’t usually a costly venture and could possibly reduce your reliance on other spider control methods.
Regardless of the method you choose, it’s important to strike a balance between effectiveness and cost. The actual expense of keeping spiders out of your home will depend on your specific situation and the strategies you find most effective.
Spider Bites Can Be Dangerous
Make no mistake, not all spider bites are created equal. The severity of a spider bite depends largely on the type of spider you encounter. Take, for instance, the brown recluse spider. This spider, often identified by its violin marking on its back, carries venom potent enough to induce fever, nausea, and pain. In extreme cases, a bite from this spider can even be fatal.
But remember, a brown recluse spider is unlikely to bite unless provoked. If you spot one in your home, it’s worth mentioning that there are probably more hiding nearby. Agitating these spiders may lead to unwanted bites.
Let’s talk data for context.
|Brown Recluse Spider
|High; can cause fever, nausea, and pain
|Larger than a US silver dollar
|Low; harmless except to allergic individuals
|American House Spider
|Low; nontoxic to humans
Moving on to the Fishing Spider, which is slightly larger than a US silver dollar. A common sight near streams and wooded areas, they sometimes wander into nearby homes in Kentucky. These spiders can look alarming due to their size and contrasting darker brown patterns, but rest assured, their bites are harmless except to allergic individuals.
Lastly, we have the American House Spider. These spiders are not considered dangerous; they’re more of a nuisance than a threat. Poor vision often results in them running away rather than biting. In rare cases, if trapped or squashed, an American House Spider might resort to biting, but their venom is nontoxic.
While it’s essential to keep spiders out of your house, it’s equally important to be well-informed about the potential risks. Knowing what to do when you encounter these spiders can save you from potential health hazards.
What to Do if You Are Bitten by a Spider
Getting bitten by a spider can be a scary experience, especially if you’re not certain about the type of spider that’s responsible for the bite. First and foremost, never put yourself or others in harm’s way attempting to catch or photograph a dangerous spider. Safety should be your priority.
Let’s take the example of Funnel Web spiders – the only licensed procurer of Funnel Web venom in the entire country is the Australian Reptile Park. If it’s safe to do so, these spiders should be captured and taken to a venom collection point for the park’s milking program.
If you’ve been bitten, seeking immediate medical assistance is vital. Remember, there are about 40,000 species of spiders out there, but only a dozen or so have the potential to genuinely harm a human being. Even among these, less than a handful can be life threatening if they bite you – unless you live in Australia or South America!
One common house spider you might encounter is the Brown Recluse. Often referred to as the Violin Spider or Fiddleback Spider, these creatures are known for their solitary nature and distinctive violin-shaped marking. Though they only typically measure around 1/4 inch in length, do not underestimate them; they carry venom that induces fever, nausea, pain, and in extreme cases, can be fatal. But remember, it’s rare to be bitten as spiders aren’t blood suckers and have no real reason to bite humans unless provoked.
If you do get bitten by a spider, don’t panic, but don’t ignore it either. Always seek professional help to avoid potential health hazards, even if the spider appears harmless to you. Knowledge is the key to keeping safe.
Spiders Are Arachnids, Not Insects
I’ve shared a ton of insights about house spiders, their potential risks, and how to keep them at bay. Remember, these eight-legged creatures are arachnids, not insects. They’re part of our ecosystem and play a crucial role in controlling other pests. However, their presence in our homes can be unsettling and potentially dangerous, especially if you’re dealing with venomous species like the Brown Recluse.
Keeping your home spider-free is a matter of cleanliness, vigilance, and sometimes professional help. And while DIY measures can be cost-effective, they require a consistent effort. Always weigh the effectiveness and cost when choosing your spider control method.
Despite the fear they often cause, remember that only a handful of the 40,000 spider species pose a threat to humans. Most are harmless and won’t bite unless provoked. But if you do get bitten, seeking immediate medical help is crucial. Stay informed, stay safe, and remember, spiders are more scared of you than you are of them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I prevent spiders from entering my house?
To prevent spiders from entering your house, relocate plants away from the house, maintain a clean and clutter-free environment, and seal off potential entry points. Turn off house lights and remove areas of rotting wood. Inside, keep your home free of spider webs and silk, and consider using spider killer spray or natural repellents.
Are professional pest control services expensive?
The cost of professional pest control services can vary, typically ranging from $100 to $500 per visit. DIY spider control measures like spider killer spray or natural repellents are a cost-effective alternative but consider the long-term cost and effort.
Are spider bites dangerous?
The severity of spider bites depends on the type of spider. For example, the venom of a brown recluse spider can cause fever, nausea, pain, and in extreme cases, can be fatal. Most spiders are harmless to non-allergic individuals. But in case of a bite, seek immediate medical assistance.
How can I safely deal with a dangerous spider in my home?
If you encounter a dangerous spider, avoid trying to capture or photograph it. Certain species like Funnel Web spiders should be captured and taken to a venom collection point for a milking program. Regardless of the spider’s appearance, it is always safer to seek professional help.
Are all spiders dangerous to humans?
Of about 40,000 species of spiders, only a dozen or so pose potential harm to humans, and even fewer can be life-threatening. However, it is rare for spiders to bite unless provoked. It’s important to be informed and cautious to avoid potential health hazards.