Spiders are some of the most disliked insect-like creatures on the face of the earth. Some people tolerate them and can function around them while others are outrightly terrified of them. Even though they do not go out of their ways to hurt any human, nobody likes the sight of them hanging around. They can never be seen as harmless (some are actually poisonous).
However, 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 (like the black widow spider) actually bite people and have severe consequences. Most are harmless. All spiders help the home and environment by eating up other small pests to reduce the risks of infestations in homes, gardens and even landscapes.
It is important to note that spiders are not exactly insects, even though they have an exoskeleton. If you want to rid your home of spiders, what may work for insects may end up not working for them. They are usually put under the same family as scorpions and ticks so the right name for them is arachnids.
Common House Spiders
Below are some of the most common household spiders. Note, though, that some of them are more likely to be found in the woods or garden behind your house but that does not mean that they cannot occasionally wander into the house:
Cobweb Spiders: This species of spiders, scientifically known as Parasteatoda tepidariorum, is the most likely to be seen around the house. They are usually light brown in color and harmless. They normally do not put up any defense to attacks made on them; neither do they go out of their way to search for food. They wait and pounce on any external body that disturbs their web and feed on them; external bodies like houseflies and fleas. Most of the spiders you see hanging down from the ceilings and walls of your house or even crawling on the floors are cobweb spiders.
Jumping Spiders: They fall under the Phidippus audax family of arachnids and, having approximately 13% of all spider species, this family is largest spider family that exists. The eyesight of jumping spiders is spectacular and this fact makes them exceptional hunters. But their perfect eyesight is not only for hunting but also for navigating and courting female spiders. Their eyes are, therefore, the most distinguishing feature on them; they are eight with the foremost pair being very huge. Another distinguishing feature is their lunges. Normally, they would move slowly but when they see a prey or are suddenly threatened; they jump great distances.
Wolf Spiders: These fall under the category of hunting spiders and are scientifically known as Hogna lenta. They have fantastic eyesight and can see very far hence they are known to be excellent hunters. They have little hairs on their bodies, are usually dark brown and do not spin webs. The thing about this species is that they are loners; they live and hunt alone. Furthermore, they do not live in a house but can be found in the little wood or brush around the house. They are not completely harmless because they can transmit venom to a person if they are consistently prodded, sometimes causing wounds, pain, and itching. They won’t bother you if you do not provoke them, though.
Crab Spiders: Scientifically known as Ozyptila praticola, these spiders have different colors from red and brown to yellow and gray. Their most distinguishing features are that their front four legs are longer than the four at the back and that they have the ability to walk backward, forward or sideways. They can be called hunters too because they lay an ambush for prey and attack them once the preys are helpless. However, they produce silk like cobweb spiders but the silk is usually for different reasons; reproductive reasons. You can hardly find them within your house but if you have a garden or a little wood, you are sure to find them on leaves or flowers.
Cellar Spiders: This species of spider, scientifically called Pholcidae, is one of the common house spiders that build webs. They are usually found in cellars, dark crawlspaces and undergrounds. They could be tan or gray in color and have large webs which are similar to those of cobweb spiders. Their most distinguishing feature is their legs. They are fragile-looking and exceptionally long so they are usually called “daddy long-legs”. They wait for preys to get entangled in their webs (which they build close to the ceilings or the floor) before they devour them; otherwise, they stay out of everybody’s way.
Funnel-web Spiders: Also known as Hobo spiders and scientifically called Tegenaria agrestis, this specie of spiders has no spectacularly distinguishing feature. These spiders build webs both inside and outside a house and so can live anywhere. They are generally gray or brown and have stripes close their heads with a pattern on their abdomen. However, the pattern can only be seen on close examination hence they cannot be distinguished at first sight.
They have been rumored to be poisonous and have even been known to be equated with the black widow spider but recent studies have disproved this. Every living thing has the tendency to become aggressive when it is threatened and the funnel-web spider is not left out. When it has just laid an egg sac, it could become hostile if it believes the sac is in danger. Apart from this, it does not bite anyone.
Sac Spiders: If you have an indoor greenhouse or hothouse, you may encounter this type of spider, known in the scientific world as Clubiona trivialis. And even if you do not have any plant indoors, you could still get visited by it. Sac spiders hunt and generally live in sacs which they build under tree barks and rocks, and between two leaves. They hide and wait out of sight for any unsuspecting insect or even spider to feast on.
Black widow Spiders: This type of spiders is one of the most notorious types out there because of the rumor that its venom is fatal. Called Latrodectus scientifically, it has been shown that their venom is hardly serious, let alone fatal. Do not get it wrong, their venom is harmful but not as serious as they are made out to be. Besides this, it is only when bitten by a female black widow spider that it is harmful but not fatal. As with other species, its bites are mostly defensive: when it is inadvertently attacked or harassed.
You would know a full-grown female black widow by the fact that it is shiny black or dark brown with an orange or red marking shaped like an hourglass on the underside of the abdomen. The male would look about the same except that the marking would be on the upper side of the abdomen and the color of the marking would range from red to white. They usually live within houses; in dark areas which have little or no activity. They build webs like the cobweb spider but the difference is that the webs are meant to trap insects to feed on.
There are other types of spiders that may, once in a while, wander into a human habitation but mostly, these are the ones you would see regularly in and around your house. Some that would normally prefer your flowers or plants may come into the house. Their distinguishing colors, feeding patterns, and makeup would inform you on which you are dealing with. But remember that they have more positives than negatives around the environment and most of them do not bite. Even if they do bite, they are not usually fatal. This does not mean you should live with them. If you must, use a proper pesticide or powder for treatment and read labels carefully.