Spiders are some of the most disliked creatures on Earth. Some people tolerate them and can function around them. Others are outright terrified of them. Even though they don’t go out of their way to hurt humans, nobody likes to see spiders hanging around. They are never seen as harmless—and some are actually venomous.
As irritating as most people find spiders, their advantages far outweigh their disadvantages. The popular opinion is that all spiders bite and infect. But, in truth, only a very negligible number actually bite people and cause severe consequences, like the black widow. Most are harmless. All spiders eat other small pests to reduce the risks of infestations in homes, gardens, and even landscapes.
It’s important to note that spiders aren’t exactly insects, even though they have an exoskeleton. If you want to get rid of spiders, what may work for other insects may end up not working for them. They are usually grouped with scorpions and ticks, so the correct name for them is arachnids.
Below are some of the most common household spiders. Please note that you’re more likely to find some of them in the woods or garden behind your house, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t occasionally wander into your house.
This species of spiders, scientifically known as Parasteatoda tepidariorum, is the most likely to be around the house. They’re usually light brown and harmless.
They normally won’t defend against any attacks made on them and don’t go out of their way to search for food. They’ll wait and pounce on any insect that disturbs their web, like houseflies and fleas.
Most of the spiders you see hanging from the ceilings and walls of your house, or even crawling on the floors, are cobweb spiders.
These fall under the Phidippus audax family of arachnids. Containing approximately 13% of all spider species, this is the largest spider family that exists. The eyesight of jumping spiders is spectacular, which makes them exceptional hunters. Their perfect eyesight isn’t only for hunting but also for navigating and courting female spiders.
So, their eyes are the most distinguishing feature on them. They have eight eyes with the foremost pair being very large.
Another distinguishing feature is their jumping ability. They would normally move slowly, but when they see prey or are suddenly threatened, they jump great distances.
These fall under the category of hunting spiders and are scientifically known as Hogna lenta. They have fantastic eyesight and are also excellent hunters. They have little hairs on their bodies, are usually dark brown, and don’t spin webs.
The thing about this species is that they are loners, living and hunting alone. They don’t live in houses, preferring the little trees or brush around the house instead.
These spiders aren’t completely harmless because they can bite you if prodded, sometimes causing wounds, pain, and itching. They won’t bother you if you don’t provoke them, though.
Scientifically known as Ozyptila praticola, these spiders come in different colors, including red, brown, yellow, and gray. Their most distinguishing feature is that their front four legs are longer than the four in the back. They can walk backward, forward, or sideways.
We can also consider them hunters because they lay in ambush, waiting for prey and attacking them once the prey is helpless. They produce silk, like cobweb spiders, but this silk is usually for reproductive reasons.
You won’t often find them in your house, but if you have a garden or trees, you’ll probably find them on leaves or flowers.
This species of spider, from the Pholcidae family, is one of the common house spiders to build webs. They’re usually found in cellars, dark crawlspaces, and underground. They could be tan or gray. They build large webs that are like those made by cobweb spiders.
Their most distinguishing feature is their legs, which are fragile-looking and exceptionally long. This is why they’re usually called “daddy long legs.” These spiders wait for prey to get tangled in their webs, which they build close to the ceilings or the floor. Otherwise, they stay out of everybody’s way.
Known as hobo spiders, scientifically called Tegenaria agrestis, this species of spiders have no spectacularly distinguishing feature. They build webs both inside and outside and so can live anywhere.
They are generally gray or brown, have stripes on their heads, and have a pattern on their abdomen. You’ll only be able to see this pattern with close examination, which is why it’s difficult to identify these spiders at first sight.
They’ve been called venomous and compared to the black widow spider, but recent studies have disproved this. Every living thing tends to become aggressive when threatened and the funnel-web spider is no different. When it’s just laid an egg sac, it could become hostile if it believes the sac is in danger. Apart from this, it won’t bite anyone.
If you have an indoor greenhouse or hothouse, you may encounter this type of spider, known as Clubiona trivialis. Even if you don’t have any plants indoors, they might still visit you. Sac spiders hunt and generally live in sacs, which they build under tree bark, rocks, and between leaves. They hide and wait for any unsuspecting insect or even spider to feast on.
Black Widow Spiders
Known as Latrodectus scientifically, this type of spiders is one of the most notorious out there. There are rumors that the venom of this spider is fatal, but studies have shown that it rarely is. Don’t get us wrong, their venom is potent but it’s not as serious as it’s made out to be.
Only female black widow spiders are dangerous. As with other species, their bites are mostly defensive, happening when someone inadvertently attacks or harasses them.
A full-grown female black widow is easy to identify. It’s shiny, is black or dark brown, and has an hourglass-shaped orange or red mark on the underside of the abdomen. The male looks about the same, except that the hourglass marking is on the upper side of the abdomen is red or white. They usually live in houses, in dark areas with little or no activity. They build webs, like the cobweb spider, to trap insects to feed on.
Other types of spiders may, once in a while, wander into a human home. But these are the ones you may see regularly in and around your house. Spiders that would normally prefer your flowers or plants may come into the house. Their distinguishing colors and feeding patterns will help you know which spider you’re dealing with.
Remember that they have more positive than negative effects on their environment and most don’t bite. Even if they do bite, these bites aren’t usually fatal. This doesn’t mean you should live with them. If you must, use a proper pesticide or trap for treatment, making sure to read the label carefully.