11 Most Common House Spiders And How To Keep Them Under Control
Erin Gobler7-Minute Read
May 09, 2022
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If you’re a homeowner, then the chances are that you’ve had the unpleasant experience of finding a spider hanging out in your home. But the reality is, no matter where you live, there are probably at least a few creepy, crawly creatures lurking within your abode.
It might make you feel better to learn that in most cases, house spiders are completely harmless and are probably doing their best to avoid you just as much as you are to avoid them. Keep reading to learn some basic facts about house spiders, the spiders you’re most likely to encounter in your home, and how to get rid of them, especially if you end up with a serious infestation.
What Is A House Spider?
Just as the name suggests, a house spider is a type of spider that you’d be likely to find hanging out in your home. Like a houseplant but less welcome, a house spider can be one of the many spiders of arachnid (of the taxonomic order Araneae) found in North America that commonly seek refuge in our basements, garages, attics and, occasionally, our living spaces.
Spiders are a diverse group of arachnids, though there are some you’re more likely to come into contact with than others, depending on where you live. While some have lifespans of just 1 to 2 years (or less), other species, such as the barn funnel weaver spider, can live up to 7 years. There are people who haven’t lived with their human roommates for that long!
Though you’ll sometimes find one hanging out on the wall or ceiling of your living room or — eek! — your bedroom, spiders tend to be pretty shy and prefer hiding out in the darker, more isolated parts of your home, away from humans and any other animals that they don’t prey on for food, such as mosquitos and other insects.
Do House Spiders Bite?
The bad news is that yes, house spiders can bite. However, spider bites are very uncommon, and they generally only do so when they feel threatened. As we mentioned, spiders tend to seek refuge in the parts of your home where they can hide from humans and household pets. As a result, your chances of being bitten by a spider are slim.
In most cases, spider bites are also relatively harmless. In some cases, you may not even notice you’ve been bitten. In other cases, you may have only minor irritation at the bite site. That being said, if you live in a region that’s home to poisonous spiders, it’s important to be on the lookout for any symptoms of a serious spider bite. Those symptoms can include fever, burning at the bite site, increased blood pressure, nausea, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping. If you experience those symptoms, you should seek medical attention.
What Attracts House Spiders?
If you have a fear of spiders, you’re probably wondering what you can do to prevent these little creatures from making themselves feel at home in your space. In many cases, spiders are just looking for a protected environment sheltered from the outdoor elements. However, as we mentioned, they’re most likely to hide out in your basement or another isolated part of your home.
That being said, there may be a few things you’re doing around the house to attract unwanted spiders. First, spiders might be attracted to food or trash that you’ve left out. In reality, these messes attract other creatures like flies, which then attract spiders. Spiders like to find their next meal, meaning anything in your home that attracts other insects is likely to attract spiders as well.
Common Types Of Nonpoisonous House Spiders
There are thousands of varieties of spiders around the world, and we couldn’t possibly list them all. However, we’ll share the six most common spiders you’re likely to come across in your home. While it might be unsettling to find them in your home the spiders on this list are non-poisonous, meaning they don’t present a health hazard to you or your family.
Common House Spider
This spider, sometimes known as the American house spider, is found throughout the U.S. As the name suggests, these guys love setting up camp in man-made structures including sheds, barns, and often, your home.
If you have an abundance of cobwebs in your home, the common house spider may be the culprit. These spiders are known for their quintessential tangled webs and classic “spider”: look with their distinct, bulbous abdomens. They also have shades of brown coloring, from very light, almost yellow-brown to spots of a dark, almost black brown. The legs are brown with rings of color.
The mere fact that there’s a spider so known for its jumping abilities that it was given the name “jumping spider” may be enough to terrify some of our more arachnophobic friends, but try not to freak out too much. Jumping is how these spiders catch their prey, and since humans are not in that category, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Jumping spiders are small, black and hairy. The outdoors is their preferred environment, though they can occasionally be found indoors, preying on the insects in your home.
Wolf spiders are a diverse bunch. They can range from a quarter-inch to an inch and a half in size. They’re hairy and fast-moving with black, gray and brown coloring.
Wolf spiders are commonly found inside homes during the colder months, as they seek shelter from cold temperatures.
Cellar spiders are often lumped in with daddy longlegs due to their appearance. They have long legs relative to their body size, in addition to the vital characteristics that make it a spider, including two body segments. True to their name, cellar spiders can often be found in basements, cellars and crawl spaces.
Harvestmen, also known as daddy longlegs, are one of the most well-known house spiders. But you might be surprised to learn these creates aren’t spiders at all (though we’re including them in this list because they’re often lumped into that category). Instead, harvestmen are a part of the Arachnida class, which also includes spiders. The important difference is that, while true spiders have two body segments, harvestmen have only one.
You may have heard the popular tale that daddy longlegs have the most dangerous venom in the world, but their fangs can’t penetrate human skin. This is one of those rare urban legends that get every piece of its information wrong. Not only are these creates harmless to humans and not spiders at all, but they don’t even have fangs.
Barn Funnel Weaver
This guy is known as the domestic house spider, though you typically won’t find him partaking in such tasks as cooking meals and taking care of household chores. Rather, Tenegaria domestica, its scientific name, prefers to hang out in dark, moist places like your basement.
Brown, hairy and up to an inch in size, barn funnel weaver spiders are members of the family of spiders that create funnel webs, which are distinguished by their horizontal construction with a funnel-like tube coming out of the bottom.
Another member of the funnel weaver family, grass spiders typically like to hang outside, hidden among their namesake plant, but they will occasionally wander inside, especially as the temperatures begin to drop.
You can spot a grass spider by its brown body with tan stripes down the length of the body. They’re fast-moving, though they’ll almost always be heading in the opposite direction of wherever you’re standing, as they’re quite shy.
The hobo spider is another funnel weaver family member that is most commonly found in the Northwestern U.S. Their bodies are tan-colored and typically about a half-inch in size, with tan legs that are solid in color. These spiders prefer moist, dark areas.
Common Types Of Poisonous House Spiders
The spiders we talked about in the previous section are those you’re most likely to find in your home, and they’re also completely harmless to humans. In this section, we’ll talk about a few poisonous spiders that you’re less likely to run into, but that can be dangerous if you do.
The notorious black widow is one of the most feared spiders in the U.S., and rightfully so. Their venom contains neurotoxins strong enough to cause severe side effects even in healthy adult humans.
These spiders are fairly easy to spot — just look out for the shiny black coloring with the telltale bright red hourglass-shaped spot on the underside of the abdomen. Fortunately, black widow spiders like to keep to themselves, hiding out among rocks and woodpiles. If they find themselves indoors, they’ll often seek shelter in secluded areas.
In most cases, black widows will only bite if they feel threatened, so if you’re in an area where you believe such a spider is likely to be present, watch where you sit or step. Though bites are rarely fatal, they may require medical attention. If you notice a bite, wash the area with soap and water and immediately seek medical attention.
The brown recluse is another commonly feared spider. It’s brown or tan in color with a distinct violin-shaped marking on its head. It’s commonly found in the southern and midwestern U.S. These spiders are about the size of a quarter with their legs extended.
Like many spiders, brown recluses prefer to inhabit areas where they’ll be mostly undisturbed by humans. Bites can happen when the brown recluse hides in an item that a person attempts to use, pinning the spider against the skin and causing it to bite. If you live in an area where brown recluses are common, remember to shake out your shoes before you put them on.
Brown recluse bites are dangerous, and while rarely fatal, can have some serious side effects. Side effects are often limited to the site of the initial bite, but may include deep sores and the death of skin tissue. If you believe you’ve been bitten by a brown recluse, immediately seek medical attention.
Yellow Sac Spider
Yellow sac spiders are small in size and grow to be about one-quarter inch in length. These spiders are distinguished by their pale yellow coloring, but may also have beige or green coloring. Sac spiders like to hide under objects or in corners and are commonly found in gardens.
Bites from sac spiders are far less dangerous than those from brown recluse or black widow spiders, but can still be harmful to humans. The venom of a sac spider can lead to necrosis at the bite, which can lead people to mistake the bite for that of a brown recluse. The good news is this spider’s venom is far less potent, meaning you may not need to seek medical attention unless you have serious symptoms.
Tips For Preventing House Spiders
Unfortunately, house spiders may not be completed avoidable, but there are a few things you can do to reduce the number of spiders in your home.
First, look out for points of entry where spiders or other creatures could be sneaking into your home. Seal cracks and holes in your home’s exterior and ensure that screens on doors and windows are tight-fitting and unbroken. Be sure to clean your gutters regularly to prevent the creation of a breeding ground. Also be sure to check for pests in any furniture you bring into the home, especially if you’re buying it used.
As we mentioned earlier, spiders are often on the lookout for their next meal. As a result, one of the best ways to prevent house spiders is to prevent anything that might attract other instincts. Keep your home free of built-up trash or food left out where pests can get to it.
Tips For Removing House Spiders
In most cases, house spiders are completely harmless. Some people are happy to let spiders hang out in their home, especially knowing they prey on other insects that can be even more annoying. However, if you do find one you’d rather be rid of, the best thing is to capture it and let it loose outdoors.
When To Call Pest Control For House Spiders
If you have a serious spider infestation, you may want to consider contacting a licensed pest control professional to deal with the situation. Serious spider infestations are rare, but you’ll know it’s time if you find many spider webs in different rooms of your home or notice a large number of spiders entering your home.
The Bottom Line
House spiders might be relatively harmless, but most of us still don’t want them hiding out in the various corners of our homes. You might feel better knowing that most house spiders don’t pose a risk to you or your family. However, you can also take steps to prevent spiders from seeking refuge in your home and by getting rid of spiders that have found their way in.
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