Common house spiders

Image via flickr by K2sleddogs

Though spiders rarely bite unless provoked, you may accidentally confront one of these eight-legged invaders if it’s hiding in blankets or clothing. Some house spiders are venomous, with potentially fatal bites. Here are some common house spiders to look for.

American House Spider

The American house spider is the most commonly found spider in the country. It’s tan in color with a spotted elongated abdomen. You’ll typically find these spiders in dark areas of the home like closets, sheds, basements, and garages. Their webs look like cobwebs. They prefer to avoid confrontation and bite only when threatened.

To get rid of American house spiders, thoroughly seal the home to eliminate entry points and clean up webs and egg sacs.

Brown Recluse Spider

One of a few dangerously venomous spiders in the country, the brown recluse spider is brown or gray with a distinguishable violin marking on its back. It’s about 1/3″ long with an oval-shaped body. A brown recluse bite can cause fever, nausea, and pain. In extreme cases, the bite can be fatal. Brown recluse spider bites are rare, as these spiders only bite when provoked.

The brown recluse lives throughout most of the South and the Midwest United States. If you see a brown recluse in your home, contact a pest control professional immediately, as there are almost certainly more. Prevent encounters that may lead to spider bites by keeping shoes and clothing off the floor.

Black Widow Spider

Black widows have a sleek black body. The female of the species has a distinctive hourglass marking and red, orange, or yellow spots. Female black widows are the most venomous spiders on the continent, with venom 15 times more toxic than prairie rattlesnakes. The female’s bite is three times stronger than the male’s. Symptoms of a bite include fever, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, headache, severe back and belly pain, and shock.

Black widows are found throughout the U.S. but prefer the American Southwest. Reduce the clutter in the home to discourage infestation, as they prefer small, dark areas. If you see a black widow, contact a pest control specialist immediately.

Domestic House Spider

The domestic house spider is orange or brown with stripes along the legs, head, and thorax. These spiders create funnel-shaped webs in closets, cupboards, and dark spaces behind furniture. You won’t usually find enough domestic house spiders in one home to constitute an infestation. These spiders are between 1/4 and 1/2″, and are completely harmless.

Hobo Spider

The hobo spider is about 1/2 inch long and brown with subtle markings on its back. Hobo spiders, like domestic house spiders, build funnel-shaped webs. They like areas such as the basement or crevices in the woodpile. They’re typically found in the Pacific Northwest. The bite is slightly venomous, but will usually cause only mild irritation. If you find an infestation, it’s best to work with a pest control professional.

Jumping Spider

As the name suggests, jumping spiders can leap great distances — often up to 25 times their body length. They are about an inch long with long, hairy front legs and a compact body. Jumping spiders can be brown, gray, black, or tan.

Jumping spiders are not aggressive, but will bite when confronted. The bite is mildly venomous and similar to a bee sting. They prefer grassy environments and are usually found outside or in barns.

Long-bodied Cellar Spider

Also known as “Daddy Longlegs,” long-bodied cellar spiders have long, thin legs and an oval fused body. They don’t build webs and prefer to live in dark, moist areas. They typically stay outside around woodpiles and debris. Bites cause only mild irritation, and major infestations are rare.

Sac Spider

The sac spider is yellow or beige with a small body around 1/4″ long. Sac spiders tend to come indoors as temperatures drop, seeking warmth. They create protective sacs in the corners of rooms and the ceiling where it meets the wall.

Sac spiders have a painful venomous bite that can cause fever, muscle cramps, and nausea. Seal the home carefully to keep these invaders out and call a professional to deal with an infestation.

Southern House Spider

Female southern house spiders have bulbous bodies that are black, gray, or brown, whereas the males have longer legs and a brown or khaki colored body. These spiders seek dark areas around window sills and overhangs. The female prefers to stay in one place with her web and may live up to eight years.

Male southern house spiders wander in search of food. You may have seen them skittering across open areas, as they’re almost blind and can’t readily see other creatures. These spiders are harmless and live throughout the Southern United States. To discourage them, keep clutter and litter to a minimum and seal any openings to the house.

Wolf Spider

The wolf spider can range from under 1/2 inch to over 1.4 inches in length. They can be gray, black, or brown. They live in burrows rather than webs and are often found in the home around doors, windows, garages, and basements. They also enjoy houseplants.

The wolf spider lives throughout the U.S. and is especially common in California, Missouri, and Texas. This spider rarely bites, and will usually back up or stand on its hind legs to expose its fangs first. The bite is mildly irritating, causing pain, redness, and itching.

There are around 3,400 species of spiders in the United States. If you believe that you have an infestation of any kind, it’s best to schedule an assessment with a pest control professional. An experienced exterminator can help you identify any spiders living in your home and come up with an appropriate plan of attack. As with all pests, prevention is the best measure. Keep your home clean and well-maintained to decrease your risk of a spider infestation.

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