|University of Kentucky Entomology|
COMMON SPIDERS FOUND AROUND HOMES AND BUILDINGS
by Lee Townsend and Ken Yeargan
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
Spiders tend to evoke two images - webs and bites. Webs are often associated with abandoned, neglected, or haunted houses, while the animals themselves bring to mind the image of a painful or deadly bite. The immediate question - "Is this a black widow or brown recluse?".
Most spiders found in homes and buildings are "accidental invaders" that have entered around doors, windows, or other openings. Homes in wooded areas or with naturalized or landscaped foundations may be prone to more frequent invasion because the surroundings are ideal spider habitats.
Spiders are beneficial, feeding mostly on small insects and other arthropods. Some trap their prey in webs or snares; others are active hunters that use excellent vision to stalk or ambush their food. Virtually all spiders have poison glands that connect with the fangs. Venom produced by the glands apparently is used to kill or paralyze prey and in defense. Only a few species, such as the black widow and the brown recluse, have venom that is very toxic or harmful to humans.
Most species do not attempt to bite; many have fangs that are not capable of piercing the skin. However, some will, with results that are similar to a wasp or bee sting. There is the chance that a person can have an allergic reaction to the venom.
Common Kentucky Spiders
They look fierce and their rapid movements make them seem aggressive. They have strong fangs and could bite if disturbed or pinched. Wolf spiders do not persist indoors but are common "accidental invaders".
Funnel Web SpidersFunnel Web Spiders (Agelenidae) or grass spiders resemble wolf spiders but have a pair of long, distinctive silk spinning tubes at the rear of the abdomen. They build a horizontal, sheet-like web that has a funnel shaped retreat. These webs are most obvious when covered with dew in the morning. The spiders live in shrubbery, grass, under rocks or in debris and seldom come indoors.
Fishing SpidersFishing Spiders (Pisauridae), active hunters, are among the largest spiders in the eastern United States. They prefer moist habitats, such as around streams or other bodies of water, but may be found in basements or other damp parts of buildings. They have the typical dark markings of a wolf spider.
Sac SpidersSac Spiders (Clubionidae) live on foliage or in the ground. They build tubular retreats under stones, or in rolled leaves or folds of grasses. A pale yellow to pale green species that spins silken tubes among the leaves of shrubbery can give a painful bite.
Cellar SpidersCellar Spiders (Pholcidae) with long, thin legs build sheetlike or irregular webs in dark places. They commonly hang upside down under the web.
Orb WeaversOrb Weavers (Araneidae) include "garden spiders" and their relatives. They weave classical, sheet-like orb webs that consist of rays and spirals of silk. They have poor eyesight and have trouble walking on anything but webs. They rarely occur indoors but frequently live on or near the outer walls of buildings. Two spectacular members of the group are the large black and yellow garden spider and the marbled spider with a yellow-orange abdomen that has brown to purple markings. The former tends to build webs in open, sunny places in gardens around houses and in tall grass; the latter prefers wooded areas between trees and shrubs. Some members of the family, known as the spiny-bellied spiders, have thorn-like projections on the abdomen. They usually dwell in wooded areas.
CAUTION! Pesticide recommendations in this publication are registered for use in Kentucky, USA ONLY! The use of some products may not be legal in your state or country. Please check with your local county agent or regulatory official before using any pesticide mentioned in this publication.
Of course, ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS FOR SAFE USE OF ANY PESTICIDE!
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