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Spider Control

Spider1

Wolf Spiders

Family Lycosidae

Wolf spiders are a nocturnal, solitary type of spider that hunt their prey, rather than catching them in webs. To do this, they use their speed and great sense of sight to get the upper hand on their prey. Wolf spiders are beneficial in helping to control populations of harmful and nuisance insects. They will bite if provoked, but venom typically only produces mild pain, swelling, and itching.

Identification:

Color:
Any variety of brown, gray, and black. Wolf spiders survive by camouflage, so will be color of preferred environment

Shape:
Spherical

Size:
½ inch to 2 inches long

Food:
Typically feed on a large variety of insects and arachnids, though in some regions will eat reptiles and amphibians

Habitat:
Various types of habitat including forest areas, wetlands, desert areas, and around homes

Region:
Found around the world

Other Identifying Features:

  • Eyes are arranged into three rows: four small eyes on bottom, two eyes large eyes in middle, and two medium-sized eyes on top
  • Eyes will reflect light when a light is shined on them at night
  • Large, hairy bodies
  • Females carry egg sacs and young with them

Black Widow Spiders

Latrodectus spp.

Black widows are one of the most famous spiders due to their distinctive bulbous shape and color patterns, as well as the deadly venom one can receive from the bites of females. Males rarely bite and when they do, it lacks potency. As with other spiders, black widows are considered beneficial in that they reduce populations of nuisance pests. However, if they are found in or around the home, a licensed professional should be contacted for their removal.

Identification:

Color:
Black abdomen with a red hourglass marking on back

Shape:
Bulbous or spherical

Size:
1½ – 1⅜ inches long

Food:
Insects that are ensnared in webs like flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, beetles, and more.

Habitat:
Black widows like protected areas in which to spin their irregular webs. These locations include stone or wood piles, barns, sheds, shrubs, garages, basements, and crawlspaces. They usually do not enter homes, but will do so if area is cluttered and/or undisturbed.

Region:
Various species found throughout the U.S.

Other Identifying Features:

Females exhibit the famous black body with red or yellow hourglass; males are much smaller, lighter in color, and have streaks on abdomen.

Prevention:

  • Reduce clutter in home
  • Inspect shoes that have not been worn for a long time
  • Store firewood away from home
  • Use care when moving stored items- wear long sleeves and gloves

Brown Recluse Spiders

Loxosceles spp.

Brown Recluse spiders get their name from their coloring and their habit to retreat, rather than to attack. If disturbed, they typically flee and seek shelter. The bite injects venom that may cause a blister to form and eventually turn to an open ulcer. In extreme cases, flesh becomes necrotic and the bite may cause systemic infection. Brown Recluse spiders have a lifespan of about two years and have been known to survive for up to six months with no food.

Identification:

Color:
Tan to dark brown with a darker violin shaped mark on back

Shape:
Round

Size:
¼ – ¾ inches long

Food:
Insects and other small prey

Habitat:
They can be found in woodpiles, under bark, around rocks, as well as indoors in undisturbed areas such as in clothing or shoes, under furniture, and, most commonly, in attics or basements. They prefer cardboard when dwelling indoors because it mimics rotting tree bark.

Region:
Various species found throughout the U.S.

Other Identifying Features:

Six eyes, arranged in three groups of two. These spiders have very small fangs, too small to bite through most fabrics and will typically only bite if pressed up against skin. If bitten, bites can be severely dangerous and even deadly, especially in children under the age of seven. Contact a licensed professional for safe removal.

Prevention:

  • Inspect boots, skates, and gloves thoroughly before use
  • Store clothing and shoes in a plastic container and shake out rarely used clothes before wearing
  • If bitten, seek out immediate medical attention

Cat Face Spiders

Araneus gemmoides

Cat face spiders are orb-weaver that is active from spring to fall. After laying its egg sac in the fall, a female cat face will shortly die. Spiderlings will emerge from the egg sac in the spring with strands of silk attached. The wind will then grab these strands and can carry the young spiders for miles, after which the cycle begins again. Cat face spiders are beneficial in reducing nuisance insect populations. Additionally, they are rarely able to pierce skin when biting. Venom is not harmful to humans if they do.

Identification:

Color:
Various shades of browns and yellows

Shape:
Enormous, round abdomen relative to rest of spider

Size:
Males are typically much less than 1 inch in length and width
Females can grow up to 1 inch

Food:
Insects

Habitat:
Like to spin webs in higher areas and can be found near artificial lights around homes and other structures. Can also be found under wood and in burrows.

Region:
United States and Canada

Other Identifying Features:

Perhaps the most identifiable feature of a cat face spider are two horned growths on its large abdomen. With these growths and other markings, the abdomen resembles the face of a cat.

Hobo Spiders

Tegenaria agrestis

Hobo spiders are one of only three venomous spiders in the United States that are listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In spite of this listing, many researchers continue to dispute whether this placement is correct or not. However, it might be wise to err on the side of caution. Identification can often be difficult as hobo spiders share many characteristics with other types of spiders. Sometimes the best approach in identification is to determine if a spider is NOT a hobo and then make any necessary decisions. If you suspect a hobo spider infestation, contact a licensed pest control professional.

Identification:

Color:
Brown with some yellowish markings

Shape:
Spherical

Size:
½ inch body
1 – 1½ inch leg span
(Females are slightly larger than males)

Food:
Insects and occasionally other spiders

Habitat:
Areas that have holes, cracks, and recesses, like retaining walls, concrete, firewood stacks, and window wells. Can be found in undisturbed and cluttered areas within home.

Region:
Northwest United States and Europe

Other Identifying Features:

  • Builds funnel-shaped webs
  • Multiple chevron patterns down middle of abdomen, pointing towards head
  • Solid colored legs
  • Light stripe running down the middle of sternum
  • Males often exhibit “punching bags” in front which are called pedipalps. However, these are common amongst other spiders, so identification cannot be based on this

Prevention:

  • Reduce clutter in around home and keep clean
  • Seal windows and door jams
  • Use sealed plastic bags to store items that are only used occasionally, especially in garages, basements, and sheds.
  • Keep home and yard features in good repair

Huntsman Spider

Family Sparassidae

Huntsman spiders are a variety of spider named for their speed and hunting nature. Also known as giant crab spiders, various species of the huntsman spider exist, which come in multiple sizes and colors. They do not use webs to catch prey and are not typically aggressive, unless defending eggs. Additionally, they are beneficial in reducing nuisance insect populations. Huntsman spiders are venomous, but bites usually result in mild pain, swelling, and itching.

Identification:

Color:
Shades of brown or gray, with occasional black, white, and reddish coloring

Shape:
Spherical body with legs that twist and extend forward, much like a crab

Size:
Body- 1 inch
Legs- 3 to 5 inches
Some species get much larger

Food:
Insects

Habitat:
Areas with warmer climates. Like to live under rocks and wooded areas, but will also live in garages, basements, sheds, and other undisturbed locations. Can be brought into colder areas through shipping, but cannot survive freezing temperatures. May seek shelter in homes if necessary.

Region:
Widely distributed throughout southern hemisphere. Also found in southern United States and Europe.

Other Identifying Features:

Eight eyes are oriented in two rows of four eyes

Prevention:

  • Be aware any time imported goods are brought into the home. Huntsman spiders were introduced to the U.S. through shipping, and is how it reaches colder, northern areas. Typically this occurs through banana shipments.
  • Practice proper sanitation and home cleaning
  • Be sure to use exclusions and make sure windows and doors are sealed properly