Identifying Common House Spiders: A Guide

Joro Spider on web

Spiders are a common sight in homes, often playing a beneficial role by controlling other pests. However, some people have concerns about certain spider species due to their appearance or potential bites. Identifying common house spiders can help you distinguish between harmless species and those that may require closer attention. Here’s a guide to identifying some of the most common house spiders.

1. House Spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum):

 Appearance: Small to mediumsized, brownishgray with an irregular pattern on the abdomen.

 Characteristics: Webs are messy and irregular, usually found in corners, under furniture, and in basements.

Hairy house spider (Tegenaria domesticus) on white background

2. Cellar Spider (Pholcidae):

 Appearance: Also known as “daddy longlegs,” with long, delicate legs and a small body.

 Characteristics: Constructs loose, tangled webs in corners, feeds on smaller insects, and is harmless to humans.

3. Cobweb Spider (Theridiidae):

 Appearance: Small with a round abdomen, often in shades of brown or gray.

 Characteristics: Constructs messy, irregular webs in corners, windows, and other lowtraffic areas.

4. Jumping Spider (Salticidae):

 Appearance: Compact body, large eyes, and can vary in color.

 Characteristics: Agile hunters that pounce on prey, known for their curiosity and ability to jump.

5. Wolf Spider (Lycosidae):

 Appearance: Stoutbodied, hairy, often brown or gray, with distinct eye arrangement.

 Characteristics: Active hunters that chase down prey, usually found on the ground, walls, or in foliage.

6. Brown Recluse Spider (Loxosceles reclusa):

 Appearance: Light to dark brown, with a distinct violinshaped mark on the cephalothorax.

 Characteristics: Builds irregular webs, prefers secluded areas, and its bite can cause necrotic skin lesions.

7. Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus spp.):

 Appearance: Glossy black with a red or orange hourglass shape on the abdomen.

 Characteristics: Builds messy, tangled webs in dark corners, and its bite can cause severe symptoms.

Black widow spider, a common venomous spider in North Carolina. Latrodectus mactans, Southern black widow spider. Ventral view of belly, red hourglass and spinneret.

8. Longbodied Cellar Spider (Pholcidae):

 Appearance: Similar to the cellar spider but with a long, slender body.

 Characteristics: Constructs messy, irregular webs, often found near ceilings, and is nonthreatening to humans.

Preventive Measures To Keep Spiders Out

  •  Keep your home clean and clutterfree to reduce hiding places.
  •  Seal cracks and gaps in windows, doors, and walls to prevent entry.
  •  Regularly dust and vacuum to remove webs and spider eggs.
  •  Use screens on windows and doors to prevent spiders from entering.
  •  Keep outdoor lighting away from entrances to minimize prey attraction.

Final Thoughts: Coexisting with House Spiders

Understanding and identifying common house spiders can help alleviate concerns and dispel myths about their dangers. Most house spiders are harmless and even beneficial in controlling other insects. While some people may prefer to relocate spiders outdoors, remember that these arachnids play a role in the ecosystem and can help keep your home free of other pests. If you encounter a spider species that causes concern, consult pest control professionals for guidance and assistance.