There are 35,000 different kinds of species of spiders worldwide. There are only 3,000 species of spiders found in North America. Not all spiders spin webs to capture their food, but the spider is known for their intricate web spinning abilities. Luckily, in North America there are only two types of spiders that can be dangerous to humans and then they are only dangerous when they are accidentally disturbed. There are 7 common spiders found in North America.

American House Spider

Color: Yellowish brown

Size: 3/16”-5/16” (females)

         1/8”-3/16” (males)

Legs: 8

Wings: No

Antennae: No

Shape: Elongated abdomen (male)

             Spherical abdomen (female)

Region: Throughout the United States

American House Spider

The American House Spider is the most common spider found in houses throughout the United States. The House Spider is not necessarily dangerous to humans, but more of a nuisance pest because of the webs they spin. Though it be rare, House Spiders can bite, but only when in threatening situations. For instance, when they are being crushed, they may bite. There is no reason for alarm in most situations, but if extreme swelling, lesions, or headaches become an issue please seek medical attention.

Female House Spiders are recognizable by their spherical abdomen while male spiders have elongated abdomens. Female House Spiders lay 250 eggs in a sac at one time. Throughout a female spider’s life, she may produce 17 egg sacs. That is up to 3,760 eggs! After the eggs are laid, they will hatch in 7-10 days. In some spider webs more than one spider sac can be found. A House Spiders life span is about a year and sometimes even longer than that given their living situation.

To know if you have a House Spider infestation, just look for the webs! If a spun web does not yield food, its abandoned and the spiders move on to find a more suitable place to spin a web. House Spiders thrive in more humid conditions with good air currents to capture flying insects that the spider prey on. They are commonly found in place like garages, sheds, barns, and warehouses. In outdoor areas, spiders can be found in places like around windows and under eaves where there is good light source. Indoors, spiders can be found in upper corners, under furniture, in closets and in basements. Many webs can be constructed by one spider in several days. They do this as trial and error to figure out the best web in the best place to capture their food.

Wolf Spider

Color: Dark Brown

Size: 3/8”-1 3/8” (females)

         ¼”-3/4” (male)

Legs: 8

Antennae: No

Wings: No

Shape: stout-robust body with long spiny legs

Region: Found throughout North America

The Wolf Spider is a species of spider that does not capture their food through their webs, but rather through hunting them and capturing their prey with their fast running ability. 

Though the Wolf Spider looks intimidating with their long hairy legs and body, they are primarily just a nuisance pest and not a threat to humans. There are over 100 species of Wolf Spiders throughout the United States.

Wolf Spiders are most active during the night and usually rest in their hiding places during daylight hours. Indoors, Wolf Spiders can be found along walls and under furniture. Outside, Wolf Spiders can be found underneath stones, firewood and other debris. 

Wolf Spiders are beneficial as they feed on pests that are known to destroy crops. A Wolf Spider bite is uncommon, but happens when they are handled and feel threatened. 

Wolf Spider

Long Bodied Cellar Spider

Color: Pale yellow to light brown to gray

Size: ¼”-3/8”

Legs: 8

Antennae: No

Shape: Long skinny legs with long body

Region: Found throughout North America

Long Bodied Cellar Spider

There are about 20 different species of cellar spiders found in North America. There are both short and long bodied cellar spiders. The Long-Bodied Cellar Spider is also a common spider species found throughout North America. Like their name implies, it is commonly found in cellars as they prefer damp and dark places to make their homes. Long-Bodies Cellar Spiders are more of a nuisance pest because of their thick webs and have never been known to bite humans.

Though they bear the name of long-bodied, these spiders have very long, and elongated legs compared to other spiders. They are referred to as long bodied because of their cylindrical abdomen, which is 3 times longer than wide.  Long-Bodied Cellar Spiders have eight eyes that are arranged into two widely spaced lateral groups of three each and two eyes in between.

Long-Bodied Cellar Spiders spin loose and irregular webs. If their web does not yield insects or becomes too loose and starts falling apart, the spider just spins another web over top of the existing web. After a few times of doing this, the web starts to look very thick and like a cobweb. Once the web is spun, the Long-Bodied Cellar Spider hangs upside down on his web and waits patiently for his next meal. Whenever the spider is bothered, he pulses his body, causing the web to vibrate and entrap passing insects. Long-Bodied Cellar Spiders prefer to make their home sin higher humidity and moisture areas. That is why they are found in cellars, garages and warehouses.

A female Long-Bodied Cellar Spider can produce 3 egg sacs in her life. In each egg sac there may be anywhere from 13-60 eggs at one time. The female spider carries that egg sac with her until it hatches. The egg sac is translucent and almost looks like a little blackberry on the mother spider. Once the egg has hatched, the young cling to her for a short time. After about a year, the young have reached full maturity and will live for about another year.

Black Widow Spider

Color: Black, with characteristic red “hourglass” on underside of abdomen

Size: 1 ½”- 1 3/8”

Legs: 8

Antennae: No

Shape: Round

Region: Found throughout the United States

The name black widow comes from the popular belief that female Black Widow Spiders eat the male Black Widow Spider after they have mated. While the concept sounds neat, it is known to be a rare occurrence in nature. 

Fatalities are rare when a Black Widow Spider bite happens, but it is recorded that a Black Widow Spider bite has 15 times more venom than that of a rattle snake bite. 

Black Widow Spiders prefer temperatures that remain above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but can survive in lower temperatures if the conditions are just right. The Black Widow Spider builds irregular webs that are near ground level in dry dark locations. They are most active during the night hours and rest during daytime. The Black Widow Spider’s diet consists of ants, cockroaches, scorpions, beetles and more. 

Most Black Widow Spiders take about a year to grow from egg to adult. They overwinter as immature individuals, develop into adults in the spring and die in late July.

Black Widow Spider

Brown Recluse Spider

Color: Light to dark brown, with characteristic dark brown violin marking on back

Size: ¼”-1/2”

Legs: 8

Antennae: No

Shape: Round

Region: Found in the south-central Midwest from Ohio to Nebraska and south through Texas to Georgia

Brown Recluse Spider

The Brown Recluse Spider is identified by a dark brown violin shape on its back. The Brown Recluse Spider is most often found in the Midwest and Southeast parts of the United States. The Brown Recluse Spider prefers to take cover in warm, dry and dark places like woodpiles, basements and closets. It is known for its secretive behaviors.

Though the Brown Recluse Spiders is known to have a fierce bite, it usually only happens when the spider feels threatened or trapped. A Brown Recluse Spider bite can take three or more hours to develop and about three weeks to heal. Their venom can cause severe allergic reactions in children, the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions. 

The Brown Recluse Spider prefers live prey like cockroaches and crickets, but have been known to feast on dead prey that is larger than them.