American House Spider

Of the many species of identified spider species, House Spiders are the species most frequently found in human dwelling places. Females are about 3/16" to 5/16" including an almost spherical abdomen, and males are about 1/8" to 3/16" with an elongated abdomen. Their color can vary from yellowish brown to almost black. They have a dirty white abdomen with a few dark spots. Their legs are orange on a male, but yellow on a female, both with a dusky ring at the end of each segment. House Spider webs are typically funnel-shaped and can be located in various places within a home, including windows, ceiling corners and above or beneath fixtures. House Spider webs are large and constructed of thin silk threads. They serve both as dwelling places and as traps for prey. Their prey is paralyzed by venom injection before being broken down by digestive juices. As a result, prey is liquefied to allow for consumption.

Brown Recluse

Long-legged and yellow-tan in color, Brown Recluse Spiders of both genders are best distinguished by a fiddle-shaped pattern close to the eyes on their back. Adults measure approximately ½" in length. Brown Recluse Spiders dwell in dark, sheltered places and can be found in homes, barns and basements, as well as outdoor habitats. Webs tend to appear disorganized and are built most commonly near ground level. This spider is a hunter, so the web is not intended to catch prey. The Brown Recluse is throughout the American Midwest and South. They are shy and rarely bite unless provoked. They are incapable of biting through clothing and bites sometimes go unnoticed until effects become obvious a few hours later. A pale blister ringed in red appears first. Fever, convulsions, nausea and weakness set in within one day. If untreated, the early blister may become a lesion, resulting in necrosis (the premature and localized death of cells and living tissue) and severe nerve damage.

Hobo/ Aggressive House Spider

This spider is about 1" to 1 ¾" in length. They are light to medium brown with dark stripes on either side of a lighter mid line stripe. There are also have about five light colored triangular shaped loops on each side. They may be found in just about any habitat containing holes, cracks, or crevices. They prefer to stay close to the ground because they are poor climbers. For this reason their webs are on ground-level and are funnel-shaped with both ends open. They frequent dark, moist areas such as basements, window wells, and crawl spaces.

Long-Bodied Cellar Spider

The Long-Bodied Cellar Spider has a long body that is about 1/3" with very long thin legs. They are grayish in color. They are not poisonous spiders and actually help by eating other insects (centipedes, etc.) that can be in the home. They are usually found in dark areas that are not disturbed very often. Places such as basements, cellars, garages, warehouses, etc. Sometimes they can be found hanging in their web but most of the time the webs are seen after they have been abandoned and are old and covered in dust. Treatment for these spiders are not usually effective. They do not move around much to walk through any residual insecticides and they are walking around on the tips of legs on claw-like tarsi.  

Fig. A

Fig. B

Fig. C

Orb Weaver Spiders

There are several different types of orb weaver spiders. They come in a variety of colors and they have a large globular abdomen. Some have thorny or rounded projections on the abdomen. Many species have banded legs. They are found in a variety of locations either around or on buildings or in natural settings such as tall grasses and bushes. They make a flat, two-dimensional, symmetrical web that is vertical across an opening to capture other insects. Webs are often located where there are wind drafts or near lights that are left on at night. Common prey includes flies, moths, bees, wasps, grasshoppers, and beetles. (Source UNL)


Pictured: Fig. A- Furrow Orb Weaver. Fig. B- Marbled Orb Weaver. Fig. C- Yellow Garden Spider.

Wolf Spider

Wolf Spiders are hairy arachnids that can grow up to 5" in leg span. They are very hairy and usually dark brown with paler stripes or markings, sometimes yellow with dark stripes or markings. Being that they are quick moving and relatively large in size, Wolf Spiders inspire fear when they are found within human dwellings. They are also sometimes confused for tarantulas. However, occurrences of Wolf Spider bites are extremely rare and are not known to be deadly. Most of them live underground, although some specimens can be seen traveling above ground in leaf litter, on lawns and in gardens. Inside, they will enter a structure in search of prey. Although they are not inclined to be permanent residents of a structure, once inside, they often stay. Inside they will usually stay on or near floor level, especially along walls under furniture and other objects. They are very territorial and will chase or lunge if they feel threatened. Outside they build burrows under stones, or a tube/ burrow running vertically or diagonally into the ground. Most species do not build webs, but when some do it is when they are with their young. These webs are not to catch prey because this spider is a hunter or prey. Most Wolf Spiders are nocturnal, but some do hunt in the morning. Their diet typically consists of insects and other small spiders.

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