Latin Name: Parasteatoda Tepidariorum
Appearance: Typically brown or gray with darker markings along their body. Female house spiders range from 5 to 8 mm in length while males are smaller at only 4 mm.
Are They Dangerous?: House spiders don’t pose a medical threat and rarely bite unless threatened. If you are bitten and experience severe swelling, lesions, or headaches, you should still seek medical attention. If possible, take the spider along for proper identification, as the term “house spider” is often used as a catchall term and could be misidentified.
Signs: Cobwebs are the biggest sign of house spiders. They will often spin a number of webs in different places until finds the best spot to catch prey.
Latin Name: Argiope Aurantia
Appearance: Garden Spiders are black with bright yellow markings and vary in size.
Are They Dangerous?: While Garden Spiders may look dangerous, they are not generally aggressive and will rarely bite a human. If a bite does occur, Garden Spider venom is not medically threatening and will result in some discomfort and mild swelling at worst.
Signs: Garden Spiders are commonly found in gardens, meadows, and clearings. Their webs are known for being incredibly strong and can be up to 2 feet in diameter.
Brown Recluse Spiders
Latin Name: Loxosceles Reclusa
Appearance: The classic identifier of the Brown Recluse is the “violin” shape on its cephalothorax, or the area where the legs are attached. Its curvature very much resembles the classical instrument, yet brown recluses are often the most misidentified spider species.
Are They Dangerous?: The Brown Recluse contains venom that is harmful and possibly deadly to humans, though their bite is often painless and unnoticeable. In severe cases, a bite can result in skin necrosis in which skin cells deteriorate and decompose. However, Brown Recluse are shy and will only bite when provoked, with most bites being minor in nature. That said, if you are bitten by a Brown Recluse, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Signs: Brown Recluse often hide in dark, sheltered places. Their webs are disorganized and are most commonly built near ground level. The most common sign of a Brown Recluse is a sighting of the spider itself.
Black Widow Spiders
Latin Name: Latrodectus spp.
Appearance: Black Widows have a shiny black body and are well known for the red hourglass marking on their underside. Most Black Widows are 3 to 10 mm, with females growing larger at up to 13 mm.
Are They Dangerous?: Black Widow venom can affect your central nervous system, but their reputation as cold-blooded killers may be a bit exaggerated. While a Black Widow bite certainly demands immediate medical attention, chances of survival are very good. No one in the U.S has died from a Black Widow bite in over 10 years.
Signs: Black Widows mainly live in dark, secluded areas. Their messy, irregular webs are usually near ground level under protection of things like wood piles and outdoor furniture.
Latin Name: Lycosidae
Appearance: Wolf Spiders are hairy and can grow up to 35 mm in length. They are commonly patterned in black, gray, and brown and are robust with shorter legs than web-building spiders.
Are They Dangerous?: While Wolf Spiders have a scary appearance, they are not particularly dangerous. Average humans are not medically threatened by a wolf spider bite, and they will rarely bite unless threatened or provoked.
Signs: Wolf Spiders do not make webs, instead they live in burrows. In the fall season, they have been known to move indoors and find their way into windows, doors, houseplants, and other parts of the home. An actual sighting is the only real sign of a Wolf Spider, but they can sometimes be mistaken for the Brown Recluse. Wolf Spiders are faster moving and can sometimes be seen scurrying in the open, while Brown Recluse often hide in the dark.