Black Widow Spiders

Black Widow Spiders
  • Color: Black, with characteristic red "hourglass" on back
  • Legs: 8
  • Shape: Round
  • Size: 3/4" length; 3/8" in diameter
  • Antennae: No
  • Region: Found throughout U.S.
  • Description: Argentine ant colonies can grow to monumental size. Their colony borders sometimes cover entire habitats. Argentine ant queens also assist with foraging for food. The ant gives off a musty odor when crushed. Worker argentine ants are about one sixteenth of an inch long. Queen argentine ants are one eighth of an inch to one quarter of an inch long.

    Habits: Argentine ants deposit trails continuously, instead of just from nest to food source. This habit ensures they do not waste time visiting the same area for food. They prefer to eat sweets but they will eat almost anything including meats, eggs, oils and fats.

    Habitat: Argentine ant colonies are located in wet environments near a food source.

    Threats: Argentine ants do not pose a health threat, but they can contaminate food.

    Prevention: Eliminate standing water. Pests, such as Argentine ants are attracted to moisture. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around the bottom of your house. Sometimes pests use these to get into your home. Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.


    Brown Recluse Spiders

    Brown Recluse Spiders
  • Color: Light to dark brown, with characteristic dark brown violin marking on back
  • Legs: 8
  • Shape: Round
  • Size: 5/8 inches
  • Antennae: No
  • Region: Found in the south central Midwest from Ohio to Nebraska and southward through Texas to Georgia
  • Description: Brown recluse spiders have a characteristic dark brown violin marking on their back.

    Habits: Brown recluse spiders are nocturnal and eat other bugs like cockroaches and crickets. Male brown recluse spiders wander farther than females and will crawl into shoes or other clothing.

    Habitat: Brown recluse spiders often live outdoors in debris and wood piles. They can be found indoors in storage areas and dark recesses.

    Threats: Like the black widow spider, the brown recluse spider bites in defense and does not bite humans instinctively. They will bite humans when the clothing they are hiding in is worn. The brown recluse spider bite is painful and can produce an open, ulcerating sore.

    Prevention: To avoid brown recluse spiders, avoid keeping clothing on the floor. Store clothing and shoes inside plastic containers, and shake out all clothing that has been in a hamper before wearing or washing. To get rid of brown recluse spiders, contact a brown recluse spider control profesional.


    Common House Spiders

    Common House Spiders
  • Color: Yellowish brown, abdomen dirty white with a few dark spots (sometimes with a black triangular spot in the center) to almost black, with several dark stripes meeting at angle above tip of abdomen; legs
  • Legs: 8
  • Shape: Elongated abdomen
  • Size: 3/16 – 5/16" (female), 1/8 – 3/16" (male)
  • Antennae: No
  • Region: Found throughout U.S.
  • Description: The common house spider is usually the spider most often encountered indoors. It is a nuisance pest, probably more because of its webs than the spider itself. This spider is found worldwide and is common throughout the United States and Canada.

    Habits: The house spider randomly selects its web sites and creates a tangled web. If a web does not yield prey it is abandoned, another site is selected, and a new web is built. Survival is low in modern homes with low humidity and few insects, higher in garages, sheds, barns, warehouses, etc. because of more prey and generally higher humidity, and highest outdoors in protected places.

    Habitat: Inside structures, house spiders are most likely to be found in upper corners, under furniture, in closets, angles of window frames, basements, garages, and crawl spaces. Outside they are often around windows and under eaves especially near light sources which attract prey.

    Threats: House spiders are nuisance pests but pose no threats to humans.

    Prevention: To prevent common house spiders from entering the home, seal cracks and use screens on windows and doors. Use a vacuum to remove adults, egg sacs and webs. If a broom is used, adults usually escape.


    Jumping Spiders

    Jumping Spiders
  • Color: Usually black, sometimes brown, tan, or gray, and usually with pale markings.
  • Legs: 8
  • Shape: Compact with relatively short legs
  • Size: 1/8 – 3/4"
  • Antennae: No
  • Region: Found throughout U.S.
  • Description: The common name comes from their jumping ability and habit which they use to capture prey. They are an occasional nuisance pest indoors, and some colored species may cause concern when people mistake them for Black Widow spiders. About 300 species of jumping spiders are found in the United States and Canada.

    Habits: Jumping spiders do not construct snare webs but do build web retreats which are loosely woven, saclike, composed of several envelopes and usually have two openings. Unlike most spiders, jumping spiders are active during the daytime and seem to like sunshine. They are hunters and have the keenest vision of all spiders, being able to detect and react to movement up to 18" in distance; however their night vision is very poor. They can rapidly move both sideways and backwards for short distances. As their name implies, they are excellent jumpers.

    Habitat: Retreats may be built under furniture, in drapery folds, between books on bookshelves, in cracks found in wood floors, around door and window molding, etc. Outside retreats may be found under loose bark, between leaves, etc. Indoors, spiders will usually be found hunting around windows and doors because more insects are attracted to these areas and their vision is best in sunlit areas. Outdoors, jumping spiders are commonly seen running over tree bark, under stones and boards, on bushes, fences, decks and the outside of buildings, especially sunny areas.

    Threats: While they can bite, the jumping spider bite is not poisonous. They are not considered dangerous.

    Prevention: Need to know how to get rid of jumping spiders? In addition to sealing cracks and screening doors and windows, exclusion and the removal of outdoor harborages is key. Indoors, removal with a vacuum is best followed by disposal of the vacuum bag outside.


    Wolf Spiders

    Wolf Spiders
  • Color: Usually dark brown, often with paler stripes or markings, or sometimes yellow with dark stripes or markings.
  • Legs: 8
  • Shape: Stout-robust body with long, spiny legs
  • Size: 3/8 – 1 3/8" (female), 1/4 – 3/4" (male)
  • Antennae: No
  • Region: Found throughout U.S.
  • Description: Wolf spiders are hunting spiders and will chase their prey. These spiders are often big and hairy which alarms some people, but they are primarily nuisance pests. Over 100 species occur in the United States and Canada.

    Habits: Wolf spiders actively hunt during the night and sometimes during the day. They are fast on their feet and pursue prey. Because of these habits, they are commonly seen by people.

    Habitat: Wolf spiders may enter structures in search of prey. Although they are not inclined to be permanent residents in structures, once inside, they often stay. Inside they tend to stay at or near floor level, especially along walls under furniture and other objects. Wolf spiders may be brought indoors with firewood. Outside they can be found under stones, landscape timbers, firewood, under decks in leaf litter, etc. They often rest in such sheltered places during the day.

    Threats: Because wolf spiders feed on a variety of insects, including crop pests, they can be beneficial. Wolf spiders can bite, but it's extremely rare to experience a wolf spider bite unprovoked. They will only bite if they are handled. The presence of wolf spiders in homes is usually accidental.

    Prevention: To get rid of wolf spiders, seal cracks on the outside of the home and use screens on doors and windows. Pest management professionals will often place glue traps where the wolf spiders have been seen in order to remove them from the home.

    Source: National Pest Management Association