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Southern House Spider: Identification Tips

a southern house spider climbing up a wall

There are more than 45,000 different kinds of spiders that live in areas across the world. Fortunately, most of the spiders in the U.S. are not dangerous to humans.

One common spider in this part of the world is the southern house spider (Kukulcania hibernalis). This spider is sometimes also referred to as a southern crevice spider. As their name implies, these spiders live in Texas, Florida and other southern states. They are typically found in a variety of manmade structures, including houses, bridges and barns. They like to live in dark, sheltered spaces of a structure, such as in the crevices of windowsills and overhangs of a home.

Identifying Male Versus Female Southern House Spiders

Interestingly, male and female southern house spiders look very different from one another. The females are about half an inch to three-quarters of an inch long. Females are a charcoal gray color with dark patches. The end of their bodies can look rounder or swollen when they are pregnant or have recently eaten.

On the other hand, male southern house spiders are smaller and more slender than their female counterparts. They measure in at around a quarter of an inch to a little less than a half-inch in length. They have long slender legs, along with two appendages in the front that they use to smell and taste. These appendages can look like an extra set of legs.

The bodies of male southern house spiders are amber or khaki colored with a brown stripe behind their eyes. Although these spiders do not have a dangerous bite, the males have a shape and color that is similar to brown recluse spiders. So, they are sometimes mistaken for them.

Identifying Southern House Spider Webs

These spiders spin large, flat webs that look tangled or disorganized. They usually build the webs in crevices or holes in a structure, and it is mostly the adult females and sometimes young spiders that spin these webs. These creatures use their webs as nests and to trap their prey, such as insects.

The females lay around 200 eggs at a time inside of a silk-like egg sac. This sac stays in their webby nest until the babies hatch. While female southern house spiders usually hang out in or around their web, the males wander about in search of females to mate with and for food. Both genders feed on common household insects, such as flies, beetles and cockroaches.

Southern house spiders are essentially harmless and usually do not bite humans unless they feel threatened. However, their populations can grow large in unmaintained areas, and having any kind of spider problem can be alarming.

Additionally, since spiders are attracted to insects as a food source, having a large population of spiders could be a sign that you also have some other kind of pest problem. If you feel uncomfortable dealing with a spider problem on your own, a pest control specialist can help take care of this for you. Plus, they can also help control pest populations that could be attracting spiders.

a brown recluse spider climbing up a wall

Southern House Spider Versus Brown Recluse

The brown recluse spider, as seen above, is one of the few spiders in the United States that can pose a serious risk to humans. These spiders are sometimes referred to as fiddleback or violin spiders. Their bite can leave behind painful and harmful sores that can even be life-threatening for some people. This is why many homeowners worry whenever they see a spider that they think could be a brown recluse.

Differences in Their Appearances

Adult brown recluse spiders are about the size of a quarter, including their bodies and legs. They have long, thin legs and bodies that are usually light to dark brown colored. Similarly, male southern house spiders are also light brown with long, thin legs. In addition, both kinds of spiders usually prey on household pests, such as flies and other insects.

Southern house spiders are generally larger than the brown recluse, and they have longer legs. Additionally, their markings and eyes are a bit different. Male southern house spiders might have a dark, thin stripe on their backs. Meanwhile the brown recluse has a wider, longer marking that looks like a violin. This violin or fiddle-shaped marking is usually noticeable on adult spiders and is more difficult to see on a baby brown recluse.

Differences in Their Webs

While these spiders can look similar, there are some distinct differences. For instance, their webs and behavior are a bit different. Brown recluse spiders build disorganized webs that are low to the ground. You may find these webs in sheltered, undisturbed areas like behind pictures, in barns or inside shoes that are not worn often. They use these webs only as a place to lay eggs or rest and do not use them to capture prey. Instead, they go out at night hunting for food.

Southern house spiders also build disorganized-looking webs, but they use theirs to trap prey. This means that you will typically find insects or insect parts in their web. Additionally, the webs of these spiders are usually larger and in higher places than those of brown recluse spiders. Importantly, it is usually only the female southern house spiders that build webs. So, it is unlikely that you will see an adult male southern house spider on a web. If you think you do see one, then the spider you are looking at might actually be a brown recluse.

Differences in Their Bites

Another thing to keep in mind is the differences in their bites. Male southern house spiders usually do not bite humans. And, even when they do, most people do not have a serious reaction. Brown recluse spider bites are painful for most people—whether it is painful right away or becomes painful over time. Their bites also usually lead to painful blisters, and their venom can destroy a person’s skin. This can cause their victim to have difficulty sleeping, develop a fever or suffer other serious medical conditions.

Differences in Their Eyes

One of the most striking physical differences is their eyes. Like most kinds of spiders, the southern house spider has eight eyes, and they are all grouped together. However, the brown recluse is unique in that it has only six eyes, and their eyes are set in three rows of two eyes each.

While each kind of spider has some unique characteristics, these spiders still look very much alike. It can be difficult for homeowners to figure out what kind of spiders they have if they try to do it on their own. Plus, most homeowners understandably do not want to get close enough to these arachnids to figure out what kind of spiders they are.

Thankfully, you do not have to deal with this all by yourself. Instead of trying a DIY approach to spider control, you can contact a pest control specialist. These professionals have the training and experience to figure out what whether you have a southern house spider, brown recluse, wolf spider or some other type of spider problem on your property. They can take care of all your spider and pest control needs.

an empty southern house spider web

Southern House Spider Bite

Getting a spider bite can be a scary thing, especially if you are not sure what kind of spider attacked you. Fortunately, there are very few spiders in the U.S. whose bites are dangerous for humans.

With southern house spiders, they rarely bite humans. And, even when they do, their mouths are not usually big enough to puncture human skin and their venom is not harmful for most people. If you or a loved one does get bitten by a southern house spider, then you might notice two puncture wounds close together on the person’s skin. Additionally, if the person is allergic to southern house spider bites, then the wound might swell and become painful.

Unfortunately, unless you see a spider biting someone, it is often difficult for most homeowners to know what kind of spider bite a person has. Additionally, since male southern house spiders look so much like brown recluse spider, it can be difficult to know what species of spider you have in your home.

That is why many people decide to reach out to a specialist for help with pest control. These professionals can quickly and effectively manage your spider problem. This way, you do not have to take the risk of one of these spiders biting you or your loved ones. When you contact a trusted pest control expert, they can take care of everything for you, so you do not have to worry.

ABC Can Reduce the Number of Spiders on Your Property

Finding spiders around your property can be concerning. You can feel more comfortable by contacting ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our pros create custom pest control solutions, so you don’t have to worry about so many creepy-crawlies.

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