Types of spiders and their characteristics
Of the spiders which infest homes, the most common types of spiders found in Virginia and North Carolina homes are as follows: black widow spider, brown recluse spider, cellar spider, funnel weaver spider, jumping spider, orb weaver spider and the wolf spider. Each of them have different characteristics and behaviors.
Black widow spiders
Black widow spiders are usually recognized by their black shiny body with a bright red hourglass figure on the underside of their abdomen. Black widow spiders are shy and prefer to spin their web in dry protected locations such as under decks, wood piles, hollow stumps, or crawlspaces, garages and meter boxes. Black widow spiders will not go out of their way to bite people but the venom can cause a serious reaction in elderly people and young children and the bite will be painful.
Brown recluse spider
Brown recluse spiders are often called fiddle backs or violin spiders because of the violin shaped dark mark that begins right behind their eyes. Brown recluse spiders build an unsightly web and they prefer hidden locations such as in attics or in barns and sheds. However, they have also been known to crawl into shoes and other clothing. Brown recluse spiders, like black widows, do have a very painful bite. They won’t instinctively bite humans, but the bite can produce an ugly, open, slow healing ulcer.
Cellar spiders are a web spinner spider and are often referred to as daddy longlegs spiders, but they are not to be confused with daddy longlegs. Cellar spiders have very long flimsy legs and live belly side up in webs which can be found in basements, garages, barns and sheds as well as crawlspaces.
Funnel weaver spider
Funnel weaver spiders build horizontal flat trampoline like webs from between bricks of under wood piles or in basements where they won’t be disturbed.
Jumping spiders can bite, but they are not considered dangerous. Jumping spiders are squat, tank like spiders with short legs which they rotate around in order to maximize their vision. Jumping spiders like to hunt in the day and they will pounce on their prey with feline precision. Jumping spiders will build their nest under furniture, between books on shelves, in cracks, around doors and windows, under stones and under loose bark, around decking, or bushes.
Most jumping spiders are small and some are brilliantly colored and often confused with the black widow spider.
Orb weaver spider
Orb weaver spiders are well known because they are large and conspicuous, many are colorful and the webs are easily seen in the day. Orb weaver spiders build the typical two dimensional web with radial spokes.
Wold spiders are a hunting spider. They can be distinguished by a row of four anterior eyes which provides them with excellent vision. Wolf spiders are generally large and hairy. They hunt during the night and sometimes during the day. Outside they tend to inhabit firewood, timbers, under stone, under decks and in structures they often remain near floor level and can be found under furniture and along walls. Wolf spiders can bite but it is extremely rare and they only bite if handled.
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