Spiders: Facts, Identification & Control

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Spiders: Facts, Identification & Control


Eight legs, no wings or antennae.


Some spiders like moisture and are found in basements, crawl spaces and other damp parts of buildings. Others like dry, warm areas such as subfloor air vents, upper corners of rooms and attics. Hide in dark areas.


Feed on insects.


Produce an egg sac.

Brown Recluse Spider

Although all spiders are capable of biting, most spider bites cause little harm to humans. However, bites from spiders' such as the brown recluse can result in necrosis and severe illness. Long-legged and yellow-tan in color, brown recluse spiders of both genders are best distinguished by a fiddle-shaped pattern close to the eyes. Adults measure approximately ½-inch in length.

Brown recluse spiders dwell in dark, sheltered places and can be found in homes, barns and basements, as well as outdoor habitats. Webs tend to appear disorganized and are built most commonly near ground level. The spider is a hunter, so the web is not intended to catch prey. The brown recluse is throughout the American Midwest and South.

Brown recluse spiders are shy and rarely bite unless provoked. They are incapable of biting through clothing and bites sometimes go unnoticed until effects become obvious a few hours later. A pale blister ringed in red appears first. Fever, convulsions, nausea and weakness set in within one day. If untreated, the early blister may become a lesion, resulting in necrosis and severe nerve damage.

House Spiders

Of the many species of identified spider species, house spiders are the most frequently found in human dwelling places. Although their presence is discomforting, house spiders are not necessarily lethal to humans. Small, controlled populations can even prove useful, as they consume other unwanted household pests. Several species are considered house spiders. Some of the more prevalent house spider species include the common house spider, the domestic house spider, the aggressive house spider and the brown house spider.

Wolf Spider

Wolf spiders are hairy arachnids that can grow up to five inches in leg span. Quick moving and relatively large in size, wolf spiders inspire fear when they are found within human dwellings. Wolf spiders are also sometimes confused for tarantulas. However, occurrences of wolf spider bites are extremely rare and are not known to be deadly.

The Carolina wolf spider's color matches its habitat, allowing for camouflage. Other wolf spider species may inhabit alpine meadows, coastal forests, dry shrub lands and woodlands. Most species are burrowers that live underground, although some specimens can be seen traveling aboveground in leaf litter, on lawns and in gardens. Most wolf spiders are also nocturnal, although some do hunt in the morning. A wolf spider's diet typically consists of insects and other small spiders.

Crab Spider

Crab spiders belong to the Family Thomisidae and are named for their crab-like appearance and movements. Crab spiders have two large, strong front legs that are used to grasp prey. They scuttle sideways with their hind legs, although some species do move like other spiders.

Crab spiders differ from other arachnids in a number of ways, including their feeding habits. Instead of spinning webs to catch prey, crab spiders utilize camouflage. Some crab spiders resemble bird droppings, while others look like fruits, leaves or flowers. Some crab spiders are capable of changing colors entirely.

When prey approaches, the crab spider attacks and administers a poisonous bite. Crab spider venom is potent enough to render large insects immobile. It does not affect humans, although on rare occasions, an individual will experience an allergic reaction to spider venom.