There are over 35,000 described species of spiders worldwide, with about 3,000 occurring in North America. Many species of spiders are household pests and some spiders are harmless while others are deadly. Wherever their is food available, spiders are likely to be found.
Spiders are one of the most common, easily recognizable and beneficial of creatures. Many people are scared of them, but for the most part, spiders are pretty harmless creatures. They prey on other insects, so they can be very beneficial to have around, however, you may not wish to have them inside of your home. You can take precautions and eliminate the places where spiders like to hide.
Spiders are not insects. Spiders, like insects, are anthropods (invertebrate creatures with exoskeletons); or more specifically, they are a class of anthropods known as arachnids. Arachnids have eight legs and, unlike insects, have only two body segments (insects have three).
Spiders typically are born in the spring, as they come out of their egg sacs as soon as the weather gets warm. The mother spider may guard her young for a time by carrying them around on her back or building a protective “nursery web” for them. The spiderlings will eventually leave their mother to establish their own webs.
The lifespan of the spider can vary. Most common house spiders can live for one or two years, but some have been known to live for five. Some species of spiders can even live for twenty years.
By and large people are familiar with some of the more well-known spiders like the tarantula or the black widow, but most spiders encountered in the home will not be of these varieties. Below are descriptions and information on the most common spiders people are likely to encounter in their homes.
Common House Spider
The common house spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum) is found throughout North America. They vary in size from 6mm to 2.5cm and may be a variety of colors, though they always have rather dull hues, allowing them to blend into their environment. They feed on such household pests as flies, mosquitoes, wasps and ants. House spiders will bite if cornered or grabbed, but their bites are relatively non-toxic and no more painful than a normal bee sting. The designation “house spider” is also used to cover a wider variety of species commonly encountered by humans; all of the spiders listed below may sometimes be referred to as “house spiders” since they are found within human dwellings.
Like house spiders, wolf spiders may vary in size, though on the larger end they can be quite a bit bigger than house spiders, up to 1.2 inches; their bodies may be a little bit larger relative to other house spiders. Like house spiders, they may be any variety of dull colors, though they are usually some hue of brown. Wolf spiders are active, agile hunters. Rather than spinning webs and waiting for prey, the wolf spider hunts its prey, chasing it and pouncing upon it. Wolf spiders are very quick; even humans sometimes have a hard time when trying to whack them, since the spider is capable of dodging attacks extremely quickly.
Daddy Long-Legs (Cellar Spider)
Identifying the daddy long-legs can be difficult because people commonly use the name to refer to three different anthropods: the spider also known as the “cellar spider”, the crane fly (also known as the “mosquito eater”) and the opilione arachnid called the “harvestman.” Since crane flies are easily identifiable by their wings, and harvestmen live primarily outdoors under logs, it is usually the cellar spider that most people are referring to when they say “daddy long-legs,” since this spider is commonly found indoors, especially in cellars and basements. Contrary to popular belief, the daddy long-legs (cellar spider) is not venomous. Daddy long-legs prefer to live on ceilings and will commonly make their webs in the corners of livingroom ceilings, but also in garages, cellars or under eaves. It preys on mosquitoes, other spiders and even other daddy long-legs if food is scarce. They are non-aggressive, will rarely bite and pose no significant danger to humans. However, many people are frightened by their appearance, especially their extremely long legs.
Make sure your windows have screens, reduce available food service, remove webs and call Affordable to treat with pesticides.