Riley Pest Management
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 FLORIDA SPIDERS
A source for information on spiders

 House Spider  Family Theridiidae

Of the many species of identified spider species, house spiders are the most frequently found in human dwelling places. Although their presence is discomforting, house spiders are not necessarily lethal to humans. Small, controlled populations can even prove useful, as they consume other unwanted household pests. Several species are considered house spiders. Some of the more prevalent house spider species include the common house spider, the domestic house spider, the aggressive house spider and the brown house spider.

A house spider’s body is divided into the cephalothorax and the abdomen. Like scorpions, mites and ticks, house spiders are wingless. They are classified as arachnids rather than insects and have eight, single-lens eyes.

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. House spider prey is paralyzed by venom injection before being broken down by digestive juices. As a result, prey is liquefied to allow for consumption.

Size:

The body ranges up to 3/8-inch in length, with a spherical abdomen.

Color:

Typically brown or tan with various markings.

Behavior:

House spiders are responsible for most of the cobwebs seen inside buildings. Cobwebs are actually old webs that have collected dirt such that they become easily visible. The spiderlings float, or "balloon," on tiny strands of silk onto buildings from wooded areas or fields. Once on the building they construct webs outside or crawl inside to find a suitable web site. Flying insects make up most of their diet, so these spiders are most common around windows and doorways.

Any corner inside or outside is suitable for house spiders to construct their webs. These spiders are more common in garages, crawl spaces and basements as these areas are less disturbed and tend to harbor more insects.

Control:

  • Regular removal of spider webs is the best way to limit these spiders.
  • Sealing up cracks around windows and doors helps prevent their entry.
  • Switch exterior lights to the yellow "bug" light bulbs which attract fewer flying insects on which spiders feed.
  • Treatments to exterior spider nesting sites can help reduce the numbers of spiders when combined with an overall pest management program.
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