What do spiders look like?
- All spiders have 8 legs (1)
- Two body regions, the cephalothorax (2) and the abdomen (3)
- Males are normally smaller and color-marked differently than females
Meet the Spiders
There are far too many species of spiders to list here, but below are some of the more common spider groupings found in homes in the United States.
Wolf spiders are large, hairy agile hunters, with incredible eyesight, and do not build webs to catch their prey. They’re usually found on the ground, or in burrows underground. Even though they are venomous, their bite symptoms are usually mild.
The jumping spider family is the largest family of spiders, making up about 13% of all species. They are short, stout spiders that normally move relatively slow, but are known for being able to jump with extreme agility, normally while hunting.
Ground spiders commonly make their homes under rocks, leaves, logs, and other objects on the ground, and rarely leave their dwellings when they’re on the hunt for food. They’re normally red or gray-brown in color and can be solid or striped. They do not produce venom that can harm humans.
Sac spiders often reside in gardens, leaf and woodpiles, and timber, but can often migrate indoors during the fall. The population increases significantly during the fall, leading to many indoor infestations.
The front two pairs of a crab spider’s legs extend out to the side and are longer than the back two pairs, allowing them to be used primarily for hunting, since the spiders don’t make webs. They are extremely patient hunters, known to sometimes wait for days or even weeks for their dinner.
The Bad Boys
While most spiders’ venom is not harmful to humans, others can be extremely dangerous and painful. The two most common poisonous spiders in the U.S. are the Black (and brown) Widow, and the Brown Recluse. If bitten by either of these, seek medical attention. If you find either of these in your home in large numbers, your best bet for removal is contacting a professional.
Where’s the Web?
Contrary to popular belief, not all spiders build webs, and not all webs are very elaborate. Spiders that make elaborate webs to catch their prey are called “passive hunters”, while the spiders that don’t are called “active hunters”, since they actively seek out their prey as they move around.
Though they star in nightmares and horror movies around the world, spiders are actually very beneficial. They prey on other pests like mosquitoes, flies, moths, and even other spiders, helping to keep these bugs from getting out of hand. If you can get past the fear of spiders, you should avoid killing them unless threatened. If one has snuck its way into your home, and it’s not poisonous, try catching it in a jar and releasing it back outside.
Did You Know?
The Daddy Long-Legs is actually not a spider at all, but rather a different order of Arachnid called an “Opiliones”. Unlike spiders, Daddy Long-Legs do not have two distinct body regions, and only have two eyes (as opposed to the usual eight).
Have a question about poisonous spiders? Learn more at CDC.gov, the official Web site for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This resource is provided for informational purposes only. Does not indicate any form of endorsement or approval of the brand or its products by the CDC.