- Michael Perrino
Identifying House Spiders
Our world is home to more than 4,000 spider species that you might not even have heard of. Spider identification guides mention too many kinds such as giant house spider (tegenaria domestica or domestic house spider), crab spider, and grass spider.
So, how do you identify house spiders? How do we identify the most common ones? This is possible through their characteristics, habits, and whether they're potentially harmful or not. Because the truth is, some can be a little more problematic than others. Some are dangerous spiders; some are poisonous spiders; others cause no harm and are predators of pests.
Most Common Spider Species
1. American House Spider/Comb Footed Spider/Cobweb Spider (Parasteatoda Tepidariorum)
The American House Spider is comb-footed, a typical kind noted for its webs. They belong to a group known as cobweb spiders, usually building webs in places like basements, closets, and crawl spaces. They’re generally brown, tan, or greyish with dark brown patterns, are tiny to average (around the measure of a nickel, including the legs), and feature a round-like abdomen. Usually harmless, these spiders create messy webs that look unsightly.
2. Long-Bodied Cellar Spider (Pholcus Phalangioides)
Often referred to as the daddy longleg, the long-bodied cellar spider differs from the real daddy longlegs, a harvestman arachnid with just a single body section and two eyes. Spiders, like the long-bodied cellar spider, have double body sections and commonly have eight eyes. They’re typically small with round bodies, light brownish-tan, beige, or grey, and have long skinny legs. This species builds webs, often in basements, cellars, crawl spaces, garages, and other dark spaces. The cellar spider isn’t venomous.
3. Sac Spider (Families Clubionidae, Miturgidae, and Corinnidae)
Just like the well-known yellow sac spider, sac spiders don't create a spider web. It's common to see these spiders high along the wall or near the ceiling. The sac spider is moving year-round, usually at night. In appearance, they’re light-colored yellow and sometimes beige, with an oval body, about 1/2" long, and have eight small eyes featured in two rows. Harmless to most people, sac spider bites can cause soreness and swell in the area. Anyone with sensitivities and poisonous spider bite allergies may experience a reaction that could need treatment.
4. Jumping Spider (Family Salticidae)
Jumping spiders range in various colors and sizes and are known for their jumping behavior. They’re mostly brown, black, tan, grey, or beige, are compact (almost an inch long), and have dense hairs and front legs that are longer than the other spiders. They tend to seek prey in the daytime. They can be spotted inside a window, screen door, along a wall, or any surface exposed to daylight. They move in quick jumps. The jumping spider's bite is comparable to a bee sting but commonly harmless. Anyone allergic to spider bites, especially children, may experience a reaction, which can differ from person to person.
5. Wolf Spider (Family Lycosidae)
Wolf spiders are bigger than many of the other common household spiders. Known as hunting spiders, they eat insects and can even make good pets. Typically brown, black, tan, and greyish-beige in color, they have large, elongated bodies longer than an inch and have visually hairy-looking legs. Harmless to individuals, brown wolf spiders are mistakenly seen as the brown recluse. But anyone allergic to spider bites may suffer a reaction that could require medical treatment.
6. Hobo Spider/Funnelweaver (Tegenaria Agrestis)
The hobo spider is regarded as an aggressive spider that creates funnel-like webs. They're also known as funnel weavers and are usually mistakenly seen as wolf spiders and brown recluses because they’re brownish. You may see them in dark spaces of the basement or hiding under the fireplace woodpile. To differentiate them with the brown recluses and wolf spiders, check out their body: are usually oblong, about 1/2" long, and have a solid color with no markings. Funnel weavers or hobo spiders aren’t lethal, but some people experience irritation at the bitten area. As with other spider bites, children typically experience a stronger reaction than an adult.
7. Black House Spider (Badumna Insignis)
Blackhouse spiders are one of the most common spider species found in homes and gardens. They tend to make their lacy webs in window frames or brickwork, fences, and tree bark. These creatures create a funnel in their webs, then they wait at the back of this tunnel (where they can’t be seen by predators) for something to land in their web. When this happens, the spiders will rush out and bite the prey, typically insects. Bites from black house spiders are rare due to their timid nature. However, when they do, it can leave a painful bite and cause swelling and a general reaction like headache, nausea, muscular pain, sweating, and giddiness.
8. Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus Mactans)
Black widows possess a shiny black color and are identified through their red hourglass-shaped marking on the underside of the abdomen. They may also have red markings stretching up to their back. These spiders are typically found around woodpiles and other undisturbed areas. Though biting can be rare, females can be incredibly aggressive when their webs are disturbed. Bite symptoms include fever, increased blood pressure, sweating, and nausea.
9. Brown Recluse Spider (Loxosceles Reclusa)
The brown recluse belongs to the brown spider species. The Department of Entomology at Penn State entails that the brown recluse lives in 15 states. It exists throughout the country in climates that range from the high humidity of Florida to the desert regions of Arizona and the colder temperatures of the Midwest. They can be seen indoors in basements, attics, crawl spaces, between walls, furniture, and clothing. They're often lifted into the hearth via boxes and bags. It's generally easy to identify a brown recluse (sometimes grey). It has three pairs of eyes plus dark, violin-shaped markings. It has an oval body, about 1/3" long.
The brown recluse's venom possesses a cytotoxin that can affect the tissue at the bitten area. Medical treatment is necessary, as severe reactions from the venom can occur. These may comprise but aren’t limited to nausea, rash, chills, and fever. Kids are more susceptible to spider bites than healthy adults and may suffer life-threatening reactions.
How Do Common House Spiders Get Inside Our Home?
A typical house spider gets inside a home within cracks in the foundation. They can enter inside wall spaces through holes and cracks in siding or outside walls. Regular house spiders can quickly crawl under doors with any area below the door and the ground.
Once a common house spider enters an area, they create webs and begin to feed. If a male and female manage to get inside, they would lay eggs in their webs right away. When the spiderlings hatch, they seek other houses to create their webs, and the cycle repeats. Thus, you can instantly go from having one or two common house spiders to a full-on common house spider infestation.
Read more: What Do Spiders Eat?
Are House Spider Bites Dangerous?
It's improbable that a regular house spider, even a venomous spider, will bite an individual. They don’t stray around as much as black widows and brown recluse spiders once they have discovered a place where the food is plenty. They like to stay in their webs and wait for prey to get trapped instead of hunting. Males might go out to look for mates during the mating period, but they’re tiny and unlikely to bite. The typical house spider will attack if aggravated. But even then, it would take some handling, grabbing, or even pressing the spider to your skin to get it to bite.
Regular house spiders do possess venom in their fangs that they use to paralyze prey. However, they have tiny fangs, and the amount of venom within them is minimal. Most humans aren’t likely to react to a typical house spider bite. However, individuals who are sensitive to insect bites and stings might react. Red bumps, rashes, and hives could indicate an allergic reaction, and medical attention should be provided immediately.
How to Keep House Spiders Away
There are various effective methods on how to eliminate spiders inside and outside your home. Here are some tips to keep house spiders away:
Spider traps and sprays are ordinarily preferred over foggers, which are useless at getting rid of spiders. Most spider-killing formulas are pyrethroids-based, chemicals derived from plants in the chrysanthemum family.
Spider traps such as glue boards are compelling and, most of all, non-toxic and cost-effective when placed in corners, along walls, and any areas where you've seen spiders. Larger infestations, however, can’t be managed by this method.
Spider sprays instantly kill spiders on contact. They’re simple to use but leave a residue. Apply along baseboards, under furniture, and in corners.
Natural spider repellents like essential oils, white vinegar, and citrus are non-toxic and proper for indoor or outdoor use. These need reapplication more often.
To deter spiders, you must take preventative steps to maintain your selected treatment methods. This includes ridding your home of other insect pests such as roaches or flies, which attract spiders searching for prey.
Regularly remove clutter.
Make sure to vacuum up every spider web and egg sac whenever you see them.
Always keep food tightly sealed in containers. This will help eliminate ants, roaches, and other pests, which spiders like to feast on.
Seal up your home to prevent spiders from entering through crevices and cracks. Seal vents with fine screen insect mesh.
Use caulk around faucets, cables, wires, and electrical wirings outside your home.
Keep outdoor lights turned off to prevent other pests that spiders might feast over.
Get rid of vegetation within eight feet of the perimeter of your home.
Learn more: The Most Effective Spider Repellent to Try at Home
The Most Effective Solution to Your Spider Problem
Even though most common house spiders and several outdoor spiders don't pose a severe threat to humans, you may not want them sharing your home. The best way to deal with them is to call an expert spider control and pest control company for help — one that can deal with many other kinds of spiders such as grey house spider, huntsman spider, male southern house spider, orb weaver, and more.
Contact Midway Pest Management today to discover our high-standard residential and commercial pest management services proven safe and effective.