The Common House Spider
There are many spiders that are considered to be common house spiders but only one bears the name. It is Parasteatoda tepidariorum. While it is known internationally as the American house spider, it is simply the common house spider here in the states. This species of spider is generally only about 6 mm long, and has a large bulbous abdomen. This large abdomen is the trait you'll notice first--if you notice these spiders at all. Usually, you'll only see their webs clinging in the high corners of your common areas. A single house spider can maintain multiple webs.
While the common house spider can bite, and it does have venom, it is not going to leave more than an itchy welt. They are considered nuisance pests when they come out into common areas. Removing their webs, keeping the inside of your home well ventilated, and reducing flies are the best ways to keep this spider out of sight and out of mind.
The cellar spider, known scientifically as Pholcus phalangioides, is a spider that loves moisture, and can be found--as its name suggests--in damp, dark areas. These spiders have a tiny body and long legs, and are sometimes referred to as daddy long legs, though that name is shared with another creature known as a harvester, which is not a spider at all but, instead, an opilionids arachnid.
There is a myth that the daddy long legs has the most deadly venom in the world but its mouth is too small to bite humans. This is wrong on both counts. Cellar spiders have mouthparts that are similar to brown recluse spiders, so they are able to bite. But, the venom of this spider has been shown to be weak when administered to other bugs.
You would expect that a spider with "wolf" in its name would be hairy, and this spider doesn't disappoint. Of the spiders listed on this page, the wolf spider is the largest and hairiest. It is also the only common spider that has a bite you're likely to remember. Be careful when digging into a box that has been stored in an attic space, exterior closet, shed, garage, barn, or outbuilding.
The most notable trait of a wolf spider is that it will sometimes use holes dug by other animals. This is because the wolf spider, keeping true to its name again, is a predatory arachnid that does not create a web. It relies on it exceptional eyesight to locate and take down its prey. If you see a hole in your yard, be aware that this spider could be inside, waiting for prey to appear.
As their name implies, brown recluse spiders prefer to be in secluded areas away from humans. When they get into homes, they often explore attic spaces, spare rooms, and wall voids but they can come out into common areas when things get quiet.
With these spiders, it is always a good idea to check shoes and clothing before putting them on. Bites from the brown recluse happen most often when they are brought into contact with the skin.
The venom of the brown recluse has narcotic properties, and can result in serious injury. See medical treatment if you receive a bite from this spider.
While not common in Missouri, black widow spiders can become a serious problem when they appear. The venom from these spiders is considered medically important, and should be treated immediately. Be careful turning over rocks, construction material, and other objects in your yard to prevent bites.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all common spiders found in our service area, but hopefully, it will give you a quick guide to get you started with identifying what spiders you have crawling around on your property. Identification is the first line of defense when managing bugs and wildlife.
If you need assistance keeping spiders and other pests under control, let the educated pest professionals here at Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions put in place a plan that will keep you, your family, and your pets safe.