You may have just seen spiders and their webs on every street corner last week for Halloween. But if you find one in your house, it can be intimidating. Should you try to identify whether or not it’s poisonous? Or should you squash it now and ask questions later?
Spiders can be helpful for eliminating other pests like mosquitoes, flies, and gnats. Here is our guide to identifying five common household spiders to help you determine which ones are truly dangerous to your health.
1. American House Spider
Appearance: The American House Spider earned its name for a reason. These are some of the most common spiders North Americans will spot in our homes. These spiders are yellowish brown or dirty white with spotted abdomens. They have long skinny legs and round abdomens measuring 4mm-9mm long.
Habits: American House Spiders live in close proximity to humans, so you are likely to find them in your closet, under your furniture, or in your window frames. They like dark, moist spaces and their webs look just like classic Halloween cobwebs.
Toxicity: These spiders do not tend to be aggressive. They prefer to run away and hide rather than bite and attack, unless they are grabbed or crushed. Their bites can hurt and itch, but they are not lethal to humans.
2. Brown Recluse Spider
Appearance: The Brown Recluse spider also lives up to its name. These spiders are light or dark brown in coloring with markings on their backs shaped like little violins. They have six eyes arranged in semicircles and they measure 6mm-11mm long.
Habits: Brown Recluse Spiders are shy. They are nocturnal, and despite often inhabiting human dwellings, they want to avoid humans as much as possible. You can typically find their webs in secluded spots like deep closets or underneath porches. They are long-living and resilient, and they can lay 150 eggs in a year.
Toxicity: It is rare for a Brown Recluse Spider to bite a human, but if this does happen you should take it seriously. Brown Recluse venom is poisonous to humans and can cause severe reactions at the site of the bite. Additional symptoms can include chills, fever, pain, and nausea. If you suspect you have been bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider, seek medical attention right away.
3. Black Widow Spider
Appearance: The Black Widow Spider is one of the most notorious because of its appearance and interesting habits. Female Black Widows are shiny and black with red, orange, or yellow spots and usually a red hourglass on their abdomens. They measure 3mm-10mm. Males are similar in appearance, but they do not have an hourglass on their undersides and they are about half the size.
Habits: Black Widows tend to build their webs close to the ground. They are very solitary spiders, only socializing when they mate. Black Widows received their name from the myth that the females eat the males after mating. This is actually fairly uncommon, but it can happen sometimes.
Toxicity: Black Widows are the most venomous spiders in North America, so they are dangerous to have around your home. Their bites can cause muscle spasms, chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, sweating, sever back or belly pain, and other symptoms. Female Black Widow Spider venom is even more toxic than rattlesnake venom, but male venom is much less potent. If you suspect you have been bitten by a Black Widow, get medical help right away.
4. Jumping Spider
Appearance: The Jumping Spider has two distinguishing features: the placement of its eight eyes and the shape of its body. There are more than 5,800 types of jumping spiders, but all of them share these qualities. There is a row of four larger eyes on the front of their heads, giving the appearance of a face. Their other four eyes are on the back of the head.
Habits: Jumping Spiders get their name from jumping onto their prey. Sometimes they leap up to 25 times their own body length to pounce on small insects. They tend to live outside in grassy areas instead of tucked away indoors. They don’t build webs since they don’t need them to hunt.
Toxicity: Jumping Spiders don’t usually have any reason to bite humans. If one does bite you, don’t worry. Their bites are not lethal.
5. Wolf Spider
Appearance: The Wolf Spider is hairy and brown, and it can easily be confused with a brown recluse or tarantula. These spiders vary greatly in size, ranging 10mm-35mm.
Habits: Wolf Spiders don’t build webs, they burrow into the ground. You can usually find them under stones in gardens, woods, or riverbanks. They creep into homes during fall and winter in search of warmth.
Toxicity: Wolf Spiders are not aggressive, and their bites are not lethal. If they are going to bite, they will rear up on their legs and expose their fangs. If you see this happen, get out of the way to avoid itchy red marks.
Have you spotted any of these common household spiders in your home?
While most spiders are harmless and helpful for eliminating other pesky pests, some can be dangerous and deadly. If you see an abundance of poisonous spiders infesting your home or yard, it’s time to call in the professionals.
If you have pest control problems distracting you from all the fall fun, count on ABC Home & Commercial Services to eliminate them for good.