BLACK WIDOW SPIDER Latrodectus mactans

Size:

Body may be up to 3/4-inch in length with the abdomen reaching 3/8-inch in diameter.

Color:

Typically glossy black but may also be dark brown to light brown. Related widow spiders may be brown.

Behavior:

The black widow spider is widely feared because its bite results in severe pain that may take several days to subside. Such bites are rarely fatal but small children and elderly persons are at risk. Black widow spiders construct irregular, scaffold-type webs usually near the ground level. These webs are almost always constructed in a protected site such as among items piled together, beneath boards, in firewood, and between boxes. Newly hatched spiderlings climb to high points, release a strand of webbing and are propelled by “ballooning” to new locations. For this reason, buildings may have new spiderlings float to it on a regular basis. Most of these do not survive. Black widows eat any insect they can capture. It is not true that the female always consumes her mate after mating, but it does frequently occur. Black widows are classified as dangerous spiders because their bite can cause severe cramping and pain throughout the body. Very young children, the elderly, and very ill persons are most at risk for severe reactions to the bite of this spider.
Bites most frequently occur when people are picking up an item under which the spider is hiding or putting on a shoe the spider has crawled into. Many bites are reported in outhouses where the black widow likes to spin her web below the toilet seat. (Be sure to check carefully before sitting down!) Black widows prefer to construct their webs in secluded, protected sites where insects are more likely to show up. Such sites are common in items stored haphazardly in garages or outside. Such clutter creates innumerable spaces suitable for spider harborage. Keeping boxes and objects stored neatly and away from walls is one step to minimize these spiders in or around a home.
Bites can be avoided by wearing heavy gloves when moving items stored for long periods outside, in garages, in basements or in warehouses.
Shoes should be stored inside shoeboxes or shaken vigorously prior to wearing.
When webs are visible, inspect carefully before putting your hand down under an object.
Control is best left to a professional company . If numerous spiders are encountered, they can be removed using a shop vacuum, but care must be taken when opening the vacuum to kill the spiders.

BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER Loxosceles reclusa

Size:

May grow to have a body about 5/8-inch in length and a leg span of about one and a half inches in diameter.

Color:

Usually light brown but may be darker in some specimens.

Behavior:

Like most spiders, the brown recluse spider does not seek to bite people. The bite is usually accidental. The spider crawls into a shoe, into clothing or into a bed and a person then puts on the clothing or lies on the spider in bed. The spider, being trapped, has only one defense – and that is to bite. Unfortunately, the bite of this spider produces a nasty result in people, such as open, ulcerating sores. Left untreated, such bites often become infected and significant tissue necrosis can occur. It is always best to seek medical attention, preferably from a dermatologist, if you think you may have a spider bite. This is especially true in areas where brown recluse spiders are common.
Any corner inside or outside is suitable for brown recluse spiders to construct their webs. These spiders are more common in garages, crawl spaces, and basements, as these areas are less disturbed and tend to harbor more insects.
If a home has experienced brown recluse spiders, the occupants can reduce the chances of bites by following the recommendations below:
Clothing can be stored in sealed plastic bags inside drawers or inside plastic storage compartments hanging in closets.
Shoes should be stored inside plastic shoeboxes.
Clothes that have been left on the floor, in a clothing basket, or are otherwise exposed should always be shaken well and inspected before being put on.
Avoid keeping clothing on floors.
Beds should be moved out so they do not touch walls or curtains.
Bed skirts around the box springs should be removed from beds, and bedspreads that come near or touch the floor should not be used. These items allow spiders easy access to climb onto the bed.
Persons living in infested homes should get into the habit of inspecting bedding prior to climbing in.

CELLAR SPIDER Family Pholcidae

Size:

Up to 3/4-inch in body length with an extremely thin shape.

Color:

Pale whitish or cream.

Behavior:

Cellar spiders spin large, tangled webs and hang upside down within the web. When disturbed, they shake the web violently. They are not dangerous spiders and actually are quite beneficial in that they have been known to capture and eat other spiders, including even black widow and brown recluse spiders. Once their web becomes old and unusable, cellar spiders construct additional webbing attached to the old web. Over time, considerable amounts of cobwebs can accumulate.
Cellar spiders prefer dark, damp areas, such as crawl spaces, basements, and sheds, although they may be common around doorways, in warehouses, and sometimes in garages of homes.
Regular removal of cellar spiders with a vacuum, brush or broom helps limit the numbers of spiders. Other steps may be helpful, including:
Sealing cracks and holes in the building’s exterior.
Installing tight-fitting screens in foundation and attic vents.
Using yellow bug light bulbs in exterior light fixtures to attract fewer of the flying insects on which the spiders feed.
Keeping garage doors and commercial overhead doors closed to exclude flying insects that serve as spiders food.
In cases involving considerable numbers of spiders or when control efforts are needed in crawl spaces, a professional company should be consulted.

CRAB SPIDER Family Thomisidae & Family Philodromidae

Size:

Body is usually less than 1/2-inch in length, but up to one inch in larger species.

Color:

The crab spider’s color varies, but most species are brown. Some are brightly colored in yellow, green or even pink, depending on the type of flower they frequent.

Behavior:

Crab spiders are passive hunters that ambush their prey. These spiders wait patiently on plants and flowers for flies, bees, butterflies and other insects to visit, and then they pounce upon the unsuspecting insect.
These spiders prefer to stay outside; they are rarely seen inside. On occasion a single spider will wander into a building searching for prey, or it could be carried inside in potted plants or fresh cut flowers.
Crab spiders are not dangerous and are not considered a “home pest.” If you find a single crab spider indoors, you can easily capture and release it. Place a cup over the spider and then slide a piece of paper underneath to trap it within the cup. Turn the cup over while holding the paper tightly over the top. Take the spider outdoors to release it.

DOMESTIC HOUSE SPIDER Tegenaria domestica

Size:

May measure up to one inch in length with a leg span up to two inches.

Color:

Brownish gray with a number of various markings.

Behavior:

Domestic house spiders are funnel-web spiders, meaning they construct flat webs which have a funnel shaped retreat at one end. The females spend most of their lives in the webs, while the males and immature spiders may wander about in search of females or better nesting sites. It is usually these males or young spiders that are seen by homeowners. Unlike the hobo spider, which resembles this spider, the domestic house spider does not have a dangerous bite.
The domestic house spider is found from central and northern California up through the Pacific Northwest in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. This species prefers to build its webs where a hole or crack exists in which it can locate its funnel retreat. Such webs are usually found in basements, crawl spaces, garages and outdoors in vegetation.
The key for controlling the domestic house spider is to look for webs and remove them, making sure a treatment is applied into any crack associated with a web to be sure the spider has been killed. Steps that should be taken to prevent new spiders from entering include:
Removing or limiting heavy, ground-covering vegetation near the building.
Sealing cracks and holes in the building s exterior.
Installing tight-fitting screens on all attic and foundation vents.
Sealing holes around pipes indoors to prevent spiders from entering the living spaces of the home by following plumbing lines in basements and crawl spaces.
Where numerous spiders are seen, a professional should be consulted to conduct a thorough inspection and recommend possible treatments.

FUNNELWEB SPIDER Family Agelenidae

Size:

The funnelweb spider has a body that is usually 1/2-inch to one inch in length.

Color:

Most species are brown in color. They usually have darker stripes on the cephalothorax (head region).

Behavior:

The funnelweb spider’s web is easily recognizable, consisting of a large, flat horizontal web at the end of which is a silken funnel. The spider sits in the funnel waiting for prey to become ensnared in the web. The spider will venture out, subdue the prey and then feed. If the web is disturbed, the funnel is open at the opposite end permitting the spider to escape.
These spiders are often called grass spiders because they construct their webs in tall grass, heavy ground cover and the branches of thick shrubs. Rarely will a funnelweb spider be seen indoors, except for an occasional wandering male. The hobo spider, however, which belongs to this spider family, is a regular invader of homes in the Pacific Northwest states.
Other than the hobo spider, which may live and breed indoors, members of the funnelweb spider family require few treatments to control. The following tips may be helpful in reducing the number of spiders around the home:
Remove or limit heavy, ground-covering vegetation near the building.
Seal cracks and holes in the building’s exterior.
Install tight fitting screens on all attic and foundation vents.
Seal holes around pipes indoors, especially those plumbing lines leading from basements and crawl spaces, to prevent spiders from entering your home.

GARDEN SPIDER Argiope spp.

Size:

This is a large spider with a body up to one inch long or larger and a leg span of up to three inches.

Color:

The garden spider’s color varies, but the most common species is black and yellow.

Behavior:

Garden spiders spin very large, flat, orb-shaped webs across open spaces between tree and shrub branches. The webs will be located along natural flight paths for flying insects. This spider sits in the center of the web, head facing downward, waiting for an unwary insect to fly into its web. The spider then hurries to the insect, bites it to subdue it, wraps it tightly in silk, and carries it like a prize to a more protected area of the web to feed on it later. The garden spider begins repairing the web immediately to prepare for its next flying prey.
Garden spiders usually live in fields and forests, but occasionally will be found next to homes or in yards.
These spiders are beneficial animals and are not dangerous, despite their large size. Garden spiders should not be killed, but should be relocated to another part of the yard where they will be out of the way of human traffic.

HOBO SPIDER Tegenaria agrestis

Size:

Measures up to 3/4-inch in length and has a leg span measuring more than one and a half inches.

Color:

Brownish gray with a number of various markings.

Behavior:

Hobo spiders are funnel-web spiders, meaning they construct flat webs which have a funnel-shaped retreat at one end. The females spend most of their lives in the webs while the males and immature spiders may wander about in search of females or better nesting sites. If a spider should wander into shoes, clothing or beneath covers, it puts itself into potential contact with people. If a person accidentally traps the spider against his or her skin, the spider bites out of defensive reflex. Unfortunately, the hobo spider’s bite may result in an ulcerating wound similar to that of the brown recluse spider. Allowing the bite to become infected only increases the potential skin damage. Any person receiving any perceived spider bite should consult a physician for treatment.
The hobo spider is found only in the Pacific Northwest in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. This species prefers to build its webs where a hole or crack exists in which it can locate its funnel retreat. Such webs are usually found in basements, crawl spaces, garages and outdoors in vegetation.
The key to controlling the hobo spider is to look for webs and remove them, making sure a treatment is applied into any crack associated with the web. This spider is a serious enough pest that a professional should be consulted to conduct a thorough inspection and possible treatments. Recommended steps to be taken to prevent new spiders from entering, include:
Removing or limiting heavy, ground-covering vegetation near the building.
Sealing cracks and holes in the building’s exterior.
Installing tight-fitting screens on all attic and foundation vents.
Sealing holes around pipes indoors to prevent spiders from entering the living spaces of the home from basements and crawl spaces by following plumbing lines.
Bites may be prevented in homes where this spider has been found (and until they are controlled) by implementing the following steps:
Remove any bed skirts and bed linens, covers, etc. that might touch the floor and allow spiders to crawl onto the bed.
Pull beds away from walls and curtains.
Do not store clothing on the floor or beneath beds where spiders might easily crawl into them.
Store shoes in boxes with tight-fitting lids.
Shake clothing and shoes vigorously prior to putting them on.
Check under the sheets and covers before climbing into bed.

HOUSE SPIDER Family Theridiidae

Size:

The body ranges up to 3/8-inch in length, with a spherical abdomen.

Color:

Typically brown or tan with various markings.

Behavior:

House spiders are responsible for most of the cobwebs seen inside buildings. Cobwebs are actually old webs that have collected dirt such that they become easily visible. The spiderlings float, or “balloon,” on tiny strands of silk onto buildings from wooded areas or fields. Once on the building they construct webs outside or crawl inside to find a suitable web site. Flying insects make up most of their diet, so these spiders are most common around windows and doorways.
Any corner inside or outside is suitable for house spiders to construct their webs. These spiders are more common in garages, crawl spaces and basements as these areas are less disturbed and tend to harbor more insects.
Regular removal of spider webs is the best way to limit these spiders.
Sealing up cracks around windows and doors helps prevent their entry.
Switch exterior lights to the yellow “bug” light bulbs which attract fewer flying insects on which spiders feed.
Treatments to exterior spider nesting sites can help reduce the numbers of spiders when combined with an overall pest management program.

JUMPING SPIDER Family Salticidae

Size:

The body is usually 1/2-inch or shorter in length.

Color:

Color varies, most being black or gray. Some are brightly colored or possess bright markings.

Behavior:

Jumping spiders are among the spiders more commonly seen around homes because they are active during the day. They are recognized by their stout, robust bodies, quick movements, and remarkable feats of jumping. They have two very large eyes in the bottom front row of eyes which they use to locate prey during their daytime hunting forays.
These spiders live outside where they wander about over plant foliage as well as fences, walls, decks and patios in search of insects to prey upon. They rarely enter homes — such invasions are accidental.
Jumping spiders are not dangerous and are not considered a “home pest.” If you find a single spider indoors, you can easily capture and release it. Place a cup over the spider and then slide a piece of paper underneath to trap it within the cup. Turn the cup over while holding the paper tightly over the top. Take the spider outdoors to release it.

SPINY BACKED ORB WEAVER SPIDER Gasteracantha spp.
TARANTULA Family Theraphosidae

Size:

The largest spider found in the United States and around the world. In this country, the body may measure up to two-and-a-half inches in length with a leg span of up to four inches.

Color:

In the U.S., tarantulas are varying shades of brown from medium to dark. The spiders are very hairy.

Behavior:

Tarantulas are passive hunters in that they wait near their burrows for insects and other spiders to walk past, then ambush their prey. They live in burrows in the soil and beneath items in contact with the ground, such as stones or logs. It is common in the desert Southwest to discover a tarantula burrowed beneath a landscape timber or a flagstone in landscaped beds around homes. They rarely venture far from this burrow, coming out only at night to feed. During the late summer and fall, however, male tarantulas will wander great distances in search of females with which to mate. Occasionally, one of these males will wander into a garage or a home.
The approximately 45 species of tarantulas in the United States are found in the south central and southwest areas of the country. Their range begins in Western Arkansas, extends north into Oklahoma, and west to California.
Despite their large size, tarantulas are not dangerous and are typically slow-moving. When discovered, they can be coaxed to crawl into a can or box using a brush, broom or stick to tap them on the abdomen and guide them. Once captured, they should be released into areas away from homes.

WOLF SPIDER Family Lycosidae

Size:

Wolf spiders come in many sizes with most having a body size ranging from 1/4-inch to more than 1 1/2 inches in length. The largest species may have a leg measuring up to 3 inches or more leading many homeowners to mistake them for tarantulas.

Color:

Most wolf spiders are brown although some may appear black.

Behavior:

Wolf spiders are active hunters which search for prey during the day or night, depending on the species. These common spiders may live in significant numbers around homes and other buildings, especially those structures which have lush landscaping. Wolf spiders enter underneath doors or through cracks in the exterior walls. Wolf spiders are unique in that they carry their egg sacs from the tip of their abdomens attached to the spinnerets. The young spiderlings also ride on the mother’s back for a few days after hatching. Bites involving wolf spiders are rare and are not dangerous.
Outdoors, wolf spiders occupy a wide variety of habitats, usually at ground level. They will be common in heavy ground covers, such as ivy or monkey grass, and can be found beneath stones and other items, as well as within cracks between landscape timbers. They do not breed in homes, and usually only one to a few will be seen inside.
The best approach for controlling wolf spiders is through placement of sticky traps to capture the few spiders that may have entered. Maintaining sticky traps behind furniture, to either side of exterior doors, and in the garage is an excellent way to intercept most spiders as they enter. Steps that should be taken to prevent new spiders from entering, include:
Removing or limiting heavy, ground-covering vegetation near the building.
Sealing cracks and holes in the building’s exterior.
Installing tight-fitting screens on all attic and foundation vents.
Sealing holes around pipes indoors to prevent spiders from entering the living spaces by following plumbing lines in basements and crawl spaces.
Where wolf spider invasions are persistent, a professional should be consulted to conduct a thorough inspection and recommend possible treatments.

YELLOW SAC SPIDER Cheiracanthium inclusum

Size:

About 1/4-inch in length.

Color:

Pale yellowish-green.

Behavior:

This spider belongs to a family of spiders known for resting in a small silken retreat or sac during the day. The yellow sac spider is a nighttime hunter which feeds on small insects and possibly even other spiders. As they wander about in search of prey they sometimes crawl onto people sitting on a couch or lying in bed. The spider may then bite the person one or more times. The yellow sac spider likely accounts for more bites on people than any spider in the United States. Fortunately, the venom of this spider produces minimal effects. The bite usually forms a hard, reddened area that may measure from one inch to several inches in diameter, depending on the individual’s reaction to the venom. A white pustule typically forms at the bite site. Although the wound does not become ulcerating, it should be cleansed and disinfected. Any person receiving any perceived spider bite should consult a physician for treatment.

The yellow sac spider is common throughout the eastern United States, in particular from New England through the Midwest. It is normally an outdoor spider but will readily enter and breed inside homes and other buildings. The silken “sac” retreats are usually seen in corners along baseboards, along the ceiling, and beneath and behind furniture. Outdoors, the sacs will be found beneath the bark of trees and under items such as stones and logs. Sacs may also be found along soffits, beneath window sills and around door frames.
The best approach with this spider is to find, destroy and remove the sacs and the spiders hiding within. Steps to be taken to prevent new spiders from entering include:
Removing or limiting heavy, ground-covering vegetation near the home.
Sealing cracks and holes in the building’s exterior.
Installing tight-fitting screens on all attic and foundation vents.
Sealing holes around pipes indoors to prevent spiders from entering the living spaces of the home from basements and crawl spaces by following plumbing lines.
Where numerous spiders and bites have occurred, a professional should be consulted to conduct a thorough inspection and recommend possible treatments.

GROUND SPIDER Family Gnaphosidae

Size:

These spiders are small, with a body that is usually less than 1/2-inch in length.

Color:

Color varies, but most species are brown. Some have bright orange or red markings.

Behavior:

Ground spiders are a widely varied group. A few species are commonly associated with building invasions, especially the Parsons spider which is recognized by the cross-like whitish marking on its abdomen. Ground spiders are hunting spiders; they do not build webs, but rather chase down their prey. Most species are night hunters but some are active during the day.
These spiders live outside beneath stones and logs and within leaf litter, mulch and heavy ground covering such as ivy. Indoors, they may be found scurrying along baseboards and hiding beneath furniture and appliances.
Ground spiders require few treatments indoors to control, although an exterior foundation treatment may be necessary in those rare cases where these spiders regularly invade homes. Placement of sticky insect traps inside your home behind furniture and near doorways may capture many spiders as they enter. The following tips may be helpful in reducing the number of spiders around the home:
Remove or limit heavy, ground-covering vegetation near the building.
Seal cracks and holes in the building’s exterior.
Install tight fitting screens on all attic and foundation vents.
Seal holes around pipes indoors, especially those plumbing lines leading from basements and crawl spaces, to prevent spiders from entering your home.