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General Information

When found in their natural habitats, spiders positively contribute to the environment. They keep insect populations in check, and they also provide an ample supply of food for predators higher up on the food chain. This doesn’t mean that spiders are always good to have around, especially when they have invaded your home.

Grass spiders are a relatively large spider and can be very intimidating. They can and will bite if threatened, and they become a nuisance when they have infested your property and home. Discovering their behaviors can help you keep them out of your house and relatively sparse on your property so that you can provide a safe environment for your family and pets.

What Are Grass Spiders?

Grass spiders are scientifically classified as the family of Agelenidae, and they are funnel weavers. Their webs are a flat sheet with a funnel-like shelter at the edge where the spider lies in wait for an unfortunate victim. Unlike other spiders that spin webs to capture prey, the grass spider’s web has no adhesive properties. This may seem like a disadvantage, but it’s not. The grass spider makes up for its non-adhesive webbing with speed, as it can move extremely fast to capture its prey.

Its web works as an alarm system of vibrations, letting the grass spider know that some unfortunate soul has stumbled upon its hunting grounds. The spider then rapidly runs out to attack before its victim can make a getaway. Their primary source of food is insects, but they will cannibalize other grass spiders. This is thought to be accidental due to the proximity in which they live and the result of them unintentionally wandering onto a neighboring web.

When grass spiders capture prey, they carry it to their funnel and consume it immediately. They skip the ritualistic wrapping of their prey in webbing like some of the grass spiders’ relatives do. Females build their web and rarely move unless threatened or there’s a lack of prey. They spend most of their time capturing and consuming prey in preparation for mating and producing eggs. When males reach sexual maturity, they set out in search of females and die shortly after mating several times.

What Do Grass Spiders Look Like?

Image via Flickr by gailhampshire

If size matters to you where spiders are concerned, you will most likely not appreciate the presence of grass spiders that grow between 1/5-inch to 3/4-inch, not including their legs. They are typically brownish to grayish and have hair on their legs and other parts of their bodies. Different areas of their bodies have darker markings, such as two stripes down the length of their cephalothorax. Grass spiders have dark bands on their legs as well.

They have eight eyes arranged in three rows with two on top, four in the middle, and two on the bottom. Grass spiders also have two prominent spinnerets, which are typically not as noticeable on other spider species. They can be somewhat frightening due to their size and ability to move extremely fast.

Where Do Grass Spiders Live?

Grass spiders are among the most common spiders found in the United States, especially in Austin, Texas. Bulwark Exterminating services the Austin area and is happy to help when you’re facing a grass spider infestation.

There are many places you can find grass spiders, regardless if it’s inside or outside. In their natural habitat, you will find that they construct their funnels and webs in branches, tall grass, fallen trees, burrows abandoned by small animals, and between rocks. These areas allow for them to build their funnel retreat and help to camouflage them from potential prey. Human-made structures often harbor protected areas for grass spiders to make their habitat, including porch eaves, around light sources that attract insects, wood shakes, bricks where the mortar is cracked, and vinyl siding.

When grass spiders have invaded your home, they tend to take refuge in crawlspaces and basements full of clutter where prey is abundant. If you find that you are fighting a grass spider infestation, consult the experts of pest control solutions to rid your home and property of grass spiders and other pests.

Common Problems With Grass Spiders

Though grass spiders are venomous, they aren’t considered to be a threat to humans. These somewhat intimidating looking spiders are more of a nuisance than a threat and will mostly retreat from larger creatures and humans. Their venom contains agatoxins, which work to paralyze insects but have a very mild effect on humans. A bite can be painful but has no lasting symptoms and is comparable to a bee sting.

Grass spider bites most often happen when cleaning out clutter found in an outdoor shed, garage, or basement. Bites also occur when moving a woodpile or other times when grass spiders are startled.

Additionally, when you have a grass spider invasion, their webs are unsightly, and the spiders leave debris from their victims.

How to Get Rid of Grass Spiders

You can reduce the ability of grass spiders and other pests to invade your home by sealing cracks, crevices, and holes found around your home’s exterior. Areas to focus on are around windows, doors, and the foundation. Another step you can take is to keep clutter in your house cleaned up. Keeping prey insects out of your home will also deter grass spiders from entering, as they won’t have anything to feed on.

When you take the time to learn about grass spiders’ behavioral traits, you will have an edge when it comes to keeping them in check. If you feel overwhelmed and can’t deal with an infestation of grass spiders, a professional exterminating service may be your best bet. When pests threaten your family and pets, the priority is to eliminate the threat so you can provide a safe environment.

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