Common House Spiders: Identification & Facts
By: Lisa Dingeman
Some of the most common types of spiders people will come across include the Yellow Sac Spider, Black House Spider, Brown House Spider, Barn Weaver, Hobo Spider, Cellar Spider/Daddy Long Legs, and the American House Spider.
If you’re anything like me, you can appreciate spiders from a distance, far from your home. I can admire those individuals who have no fear of arachnids, but I cannot tell you how many times one has fallen on me while sleeping, reading, walking into my garage, etc.
Those brave souls who have no fear of eight-legged intruders will never know the anxiety felt each time you shake out a blanket before crawling into bed or banging your shoe on the floor before putting it on, you know, just in case.
Fortunately, for those of you like myself, there is hope. The more information we can gather about spiders, the less scary they seem. It’s beneficial to learn about the different types of spiders, tips for identifying house spiders, and learning which ones are harmless or dangerous. You might be surprised to find out that they can even benefit us!
Types of Common House Spiders
- Yellow Sac Spider (Cheiracanthium inclusum)
- Black House Spider (Badumna insignis) A.K.A. Grey House Spider
- Brown House Spider (Steatoda grossa) A.K.A. Cupboard Spider
- Domestic House Spider (Tegenaria domestica) A.K.A. Barn Weaver
- Hobo Spider (Tegenaria agrestis) A.K.A. Aggressive House Spider
- Common Cellar Spider (Pholcus phalangioides) A.K.A. Daddy Long Legs
- Common House Spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum) A.K.A. American House Spider
There are many different kinds of spiders found in homes throughout the world. In the United States, two out of three households have infestations. For the most part, they are considered harmless unless provoked. If bitten, the venom is usually not damaging enough to cause us permanent harm.
Here are the most common types of house spiders and how to identify a spider based on their unique qualities.
Yellow Sac Spider
– Cheiracanthiuminclusum – is found worldwide. They are of little threat to humans and can be found taking refuge during cold months in your home. You may spot them hiding in self-made silken sacs in corners along the floor or along the wall which meets the ceiling. They are about ¼ inch long with a yellow/green coloration and a spherical body.
Black House Spider
– Badumna insignis – A.K.A. Grey House Spider – is found throughout Australia and New Zealand. Although the Black House Spider is venomous, it is not considered dangerous to humans. In your home, they can be found anywhere that their prey may be, such as corners, windows, or near bright lights. They are dark in color and can grow to 1 ¼ inch leg span.
Brown House Spider
– Steatoda grossa – A.K.A. Cupboard Spider – is found worldwide. Spider bites from one of these can cause blistering, fever, and muscle spasms for several days, but most likely won’t need professional treatment. They construct webs and depend mostly on vibrations due to lack of eyesight. A female Brown House is very different in appearance from the male in that she has a wide, circular body, dark brown in color, and is regularly mistaken for the Black Widow spider. The female reaches 6-10 mm in length, while the male gets 4-10mm in length and is thinner than its counterpart.
Domestic House Spider
– Tegenaria domestica – A.K.A. Barn Weaver – is found worldwide. They are of no harm to humans and build their webs around window sills or corners. They prefer dark areas as they are sensitive to light so you’re likely to find them in basements, crawl spaces, and attics. Domestic House Spiders have long bodies that are flattened and straight. Females range from 7.5-11.5 mm and males from 6-9 mm in length.
– Tegenaria agrestis – A.K.A. Aggressive House Spider – is found worldwide. The bite from this type has often been mistaken for the bite of deadly Brown Recluse spiders, which has given the Hobo a bad reputation for being aggressive and dangerous. They will enter your home only if there is no threat to them from other spiders. They are light brown, narrow-bodied, and measure anywhere from 11-14 mm.
Common Cellar Spider
– Pholcus phalangioides – A.K.A. Daddy Long Legs – is found in most of the world. Because they cannot survive in colder climates, they will seek out your house in colder regions. There is a long-running myth about the bite and venom of a Daddy Long Legs that they are the most venomous spiders in the world, but do not have long enough fangs to penetrate human skin. Both claims have been disproven. A biter will cause mild burning and the venom has been proven to be harmless to humans and small animals. The body is small and oval in shape, tan in color, and its legs can measure up to 4 inches long.
Common House Spider
– Parasteatoda tepidariorum – A.K.A. American House Spider – is found worldwide and is the most commonly seen type in homes. They are no threat to humans and will normally let your hand approach them. They can be found weaving spider webs under window sills and in wall corners. Common House Spiders are a dull brown in color and the average body size is 6 mm long and can measure longer than an inch with leg span.
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These Pests Can be Beneficial
There are many benefits that spiders provide to your home, the environment, and the ecosystem as a whole, doing us all a favor—really.
- They eat common indoor pests such as roaches, mosquitoes, flies, fleas, moths, and bed bugs! Because of their eating habits, they help prevent diseases that can be spread by these pests.
- They eat bugs and other pests that are extremely harmful to our croplands—in fact, spider expert Norman Platnick says there would be a famine without them controlling the insect population.
- Spider venom has become valuable in medical studies. Scientific tests have shown potential in neurological disorders, epileptic seizures, strokes, pain control, and erectile dysfunction with the use of certain venoms.
It can be really useful to learn how to identify spiders that are good for your home so that you keep them around for their benefits. Our house spider identification tips can also be great to help you find harmful spiders that you want to get rid of ASAP!
Keeping Them Out of Your Home
Understanding more about the types and species of spiders you’re dealing with can help with getting rid of them in your home and preventing them from returning.
Now that you are well versed in the most common household spiders, it is time to get them out of your home—if you so desire. The 3 steps listed below will help make your home a less ideal space for these pests to choose as their home:
– Vacuuming up dust bunnies, old cobwebs, and wiping up dusty areas will eliminate the risk of bugs and pests, thus eliminating the risk of spiders. No food supply, no predator. They will have no need to come around—unless seeking warmth.
– By sealing up any openings that can pose a potential entry for spiders, you will prevent them from gaining entrance. Cracks in foundations, doors, windows, etc. provide easy access into your home.
– Protect your home with the pleasant scent of our spider pest-control product, Stay Away® Spiders. Not only will you enjoy the air-freshener-like scent, but you will also prevent your inside property from a spider infestation. The legs of a spider are highly sensitive and are used for hearing, feeling, and smelling. The ingredients found in Stay Away® interferes with these and disrupts its senses causing it to run for the hills—or just back outside. The combined scent of citronella, lemongrass, and rosemary also helps repel various types of prey, leaving your home pest-free.