Spiders

Household Spiders

The common house spider is a nuisance pest, probably moreso because of its webs than the spider itself. When there are spiders in your home, there are usually other household pests there too. Since spiders eat insect they make their webs and live near their food source is. There are several thousands species of spiders identified around the world. They have eight legs, two body segments, four pair of eyes (although most have poor vision) and feed on other spiders and other insects they can capture. Spiders prefer dark areas, some like the moisture of crawl spaces and other damp areas of buildings Others like dry, warm areas like air vents, attics and ceiling corners.

 

In most cases, best way to get rid of spiders is to:

  • Remove their food supply.
  • Remove webs while they are not occupying them.
  • Use a yellow light bulb outdoors to avoid attracting insects.

Avoid clutter, this gives spiders fewer places to hide and build webs.

 

Venomous Spiders

Three venomous spiders have been identified in Florida, three species of Recluse Spiders which are not native to Florida, four species of Widow Spiders, and Wolf Spiders.

 

Recluse Spiders – (General Information)

  • Brown Recluse
  • Mediterranean Recluse
  • Chilean Recluse

 

Widow Spiders – (General Information)

  • Brown Widow
  • Northern Black Widow
  • Red Widow
  • Southern Black Widow

 

Wolf Spiders

If you have issues with spiders or are not sure of the type of spider you’re concerned about, contact a professional for a positive identification.

 

Recluse Spiders are also referred to as violin spiders due to the dark violin-shape marking on their head directly behind their eyes.  Recluse spiders are also called Fiddle-back, Recluse, and Brown spider.

 

  • The three species listed here, are similar in appearance and habits.
  • Their body sizes ranges from ¼ inch to ½ inch and they have slender legs with short dark hairs that span just over an inch.
  • Their abdomens are uniformed-colored that vary from a tan to dark brown and they have the characteristic darker violin-shaped pattern on the front half of their heads.
  • Their webs are built in out-of-the-way areas and are small, whitish in color with lose irregular strands.
  • They have off-white silken egg sacs about 1/3 inch in diameter.

 

As their name suggests, they are reclusive, nocturnal, and spend the day hiding in quiet places.  They have been found in stored clothing, old shoes, attics, storage boxes, wood piles, out buildings, on the undersides of tables, and chairs. Be aware of areas that webs locations are known to be, and wear gloves when handling items in these locations. Inspect clothing that has been stored for long periods of time to make sure they have not moved in. Similar to widow spiders, recluse spiders usually bite only when they are trapped next to the victim’s skin. If you suspect you have been bitten by a recluse spider, seek immediate medical attention, and if possible, take the spider with you for positive identification.

 

The Brown Recluse is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length, light to dark-brown in color, and have a darker violin-shaped pattern on the front half of their heads. They have light brown slender legs, an oval-shaped dark brown, yellow, or greenish yellow abdomen, and has three pairs of eyes (normally spiders have four pairs of eyes). If you suspect you have been bitten by a recluse spider, seek immediate medical attention, and if possible, take the spider with you for positive identification.

 

The Mediterranean Recluse originated in the Mediterranean region, but has been introduced to Arkansas, Hawaii, and the gulf states of the United States. It is very similar in appearance to the Brown Recluse, except the violin mark is usually lighter in color and has parallel sides. If you suspect you have been bitten by a recluse spider, seek immediate medical attention and if possible take the spider with you for positive identification.

 

The Chilean Recluse body is up to 5/8 inches in length, pale yellow to reddish brown in color, and has a dark violin-shaped marking on its head, which is  darker and wider in the front than the back, is often difficult to see. It is the largest and the most dangerous of the recluse species. If you suspect you have been bitten by a recluse spider, seek immediate medical attention and if possible take the spider with you for positive identification.

 

The Widow Spider body is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length (males are much smaller), with shiny abdomens that are black or brown with red, yellow or orange markings. They have long, slender legs. The under side of the spiders abdomen is where the infamous widows hour glass marking is located. They are nocturnal and build cone-shaped tangled webs of dense silk in corners where they hide during the day. Outside, they are found under rocks and logs, but they can adapt to human environments, and are commonly found in sheds, barns, garages, water meter holes, and under items or structures that have been left undisturbed for a long period of time such as; barbecue grills, playground equipment, sand box, patio furniture, etc.

Widow spiders are normally timid, but are similar to recluse spiders. The bite only when they become trapped next to the victim’s skin. Almost all bites are by the females. Be aware of areas that web location are, and wear gloves when handling items in these locations. Inspect clothing that has been stored for long periods to make sure spiders haven not moved in. If you suspect you have been bitten by a widow spider, seek immediate medical attention, and if possible, take the spider with you for positive identification.

 

The Brown Widow females’ body is about 1/2 inch in length, while the males’ body is about 1/4 inch in length but with longer legs. They are a varied color of tan, brown and gray with banded leg segments and the “hourglass” marking on the underside of the abdomen of orange to yellow. The egg sac is round and yellowish in color with many little silk spikes sticking out. Even though they have a passive reputation, (their usual primary defense is to curl up into a ball and drop to the ground), the brown widow is the most venomous of the widow spiders in the United States.

 

Be aware of areas that web locations are known to be, wear gloves when handling items in these location. Inspect clothing that has been stored for long periods to make sure they haven’t moved in. If you suspect you have been bitten by a widow spider, seek immediate medical attention and if possible take the spider with you for positive identification.

 

The Northern Black Widows’ middle part of the “hourglass” marking on the underside of the abdomen is broken or incomplete and many have lateral white stripes. They also have red markings along their backs. Males can be red or orange and often outlined in white. Their webs can be found in corners of out builds, crawl spaces, stumps, hollow logs, piles of brush, and in abandoned animal burrows. The northern black widows are found in the eastern part of the United States, from southern regions of Canada to southern regions of Florida, and as far west as eastern Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

 

Be aware of areas that web locations are known to be, wear gloves when handling items in these location. Inspect clothing that has been stored for long periods to make sure they haven’t moved in. If you suspect you have been bitten by a widow spider, seek immediate medical attention and if possible take the spider with you for positive identification.

 

The Red Widows are nervous, semi-aggressive and have been found in regions in central and southeast Florida. Their body is about 1/2 inch in length with a total legs span of about 1-1/2 inches, a black abdomen, with a reddish-orange head, thorax and legs. On the top of their abdomen is usually a row of red spots with yellow or white outlines. The “hourglass” marking on the underside of the abdomen is not complete, so it appears to have one or two small red marking. Their egg sac is white and smooth.

 

The web, built in palmettos, rosemary, scrub oak and other shrubberies, is basically a cobweb sheet that can extend from four feet from where the female retreats and is commonly three to ten feet off the ground.  Spiderlings and immatures construct their webs close to the ground.

 

The Southern Black Widow female body length is about 1/2 inch with a leg span of about 1-1/12 inches, an allover glossy jet black color, including body and legs with the bright red “hourglass” marking on the underside of the abdomen, which consist of two connected red triangles. However, the “hourglass” marking can be yellowish to shades of orange or red.

 

The adult male body length is about about 1/4 inch, an elongated abdomen with four pairs of red and white stripes, and a leg span of about 1/2 to 2/3 inches. Each leg joint is orange-brown in the middle and black at each end. Egg sacs are pear-shaped or globular, white, tan or gray in color. Spiderlings are predominately white or yellowish-white, gradually acquiring more black and amounts of red and white with each molt. Juveniles resemble the male and are harmless. Outside they usually build their webs in woodpiles, rubble piles, under stones, hollow stumps, rodent burrows and outbuildings.  Inside, they prefer cluttered, undisturbed areas such as garages, attics, and crawl spaces.

 

The southern black widows are found from southern regions of New York to southern regions of Florida, and as far west as west Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. They can also be found in the deserts of southwestern United States.

 

Wolf Spiders got their name from early beliefs they hunted their prey in a group. They range from about 1/2 to two inches in length, hairy, and are usually brown or gray in color with various stripe-like markings on their backs. They are hairy, and can move extremely fast. Their eye arrangement is one of their most interesting features; they have four small eyes on the bottom row, two large eyes in the middle row, and two medium eyes in the top row. They do not make webs; they build dwellings by digging holes, and then often cover the burrow with leaves or grass, or live under rocks.

 

With excellent vision and touch, they can hunt for prey both during the night, or day. It wouldn’t be unusual to see them running across the ground in the day time. They are known to be shy, and if disturbed, they will quickly run away or rear up on their legs, exposing their large fangs, however; they can become aggressive and will bite if they feel threatened or provoked. Even though the wolf spider is poisonous, its venom is not known to be lethal. Be aware in areas that dwellings are located, and wear gloves when working or handling items in these locations.