The Most Common House Spiders and How to Identify Them

The Most Common House Spiders and How to Identify Them

Spiders are among the most common household pests that people encounter. While most spiders are harmless and even beneficial in controlling other pests, some species can cause discomfort or anxiety due to their appearance or venomous nature. Understanding and identifying the most common house spiders can help homeowners determine whether they have a harmless visitor or a potential problem. In this article, we will discuss the most common house spiders and provide tips on how to identify them.

1. Cellar Spider (Pholcidae)

Cellar spiders, also known as daddy longlegs or long-bodied cellar spiders, are often found in dark and damp areas such as basements, cellars, and crawl spaces. They have long, thin legs and a small, oval-shaped body. Cellar spiders are not known for biting humans and are considered harmless.

2. Cobweb Spider (Theridiidae)

Cobweb spiders are the classic household spiders that weave messy cobwebs in corners, windows, and ceilings. They are typically small, with a round abdomen, and can vary in color from brown to black. While most cobweb spiders are harmless, the black widow belongs to this family and should be approached with caution.

3. Jumping Spider (Salticidae)

Jumping spiders are known for their incredible jumping ability and their unique eye arrangement, which gives them excellent vision. They have a compact body and short legs, and their colors can range from black to vibrant patterns. Jumping spiders are usually harmless and are more commonly seen outdoors than indoors.

4. House Spider (Tegenaria domestica)

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House spiders, also known as barn funnel weavers, are common in homes and are often found in corners or near windows. They have a brownish-gray color and a bulbous abdomen. House spiders are generally harmless but can cause concern due to their size and rapid movements.

5. Wolf Spider (Lycosidae)

Wolf spiders are often mistaken for tarantulas due to their large size and hairy appearance. They are usually brown or gray and have a robust body. Unlike most spiders, wolf spiders do not build webs but instead hunt their prey. They are generally harmless but can deliver a painful bite if threatened.

6. Sac Spider (Clubionidae)

Sac spiders are small, pale spiders with a slightly elongated abdomen. They are often found inside homes and are known for their irregular, silk sacs where they hide during the day. While most sac spiders are harmless, the yellow sac spider can deliver a bite that causes local pain and swelling.

7. Orb-Weaver Spider (Araneidae)

Orb-weaver spiders are known for their intricate, circular webs that they build to catch flying insects. They have a rounded abdomen and long, spindly legs. Orb-weaver spiders are generally harmless and play a crucial role in controlling other pests.

8. Brown Recluse Spider (Loxosceles reclusa)

Brown recluse spiders are notorious for their venomous bites, which can cause severe tissue damage. They have a distinctive violin-shaped marking on their back and are light brown in color. Brown recluse spiders are not very common in households but can be found in undisturbed areas such as closets, attics, or basements.

9. Hobo Spider (Eratigena agrestis)

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Hobo spiders are often mistaken for brown recluse spiders due to their similar appearance and potential danger. They have a brown color with markings on their abdomen and long, hairy legs. Hobo spiders are not native to the United States but have been introduced and can be found in some regions.

10. Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus)

Black widow spiders are perhaps the most feared house spiders due to their potent neurotoxic venom. Females have a shiny black body with a red hourglass-shaped marking on their abdomen. Black widow spiders are reclusive and often hide in dark areas such as woodpiles, garages, or basements.


1. Are all house spiders dangerous?

No, most house spiders are harmless to humans and are actually beneficial in controlling other pests.

2. How can I differentiate between a brown recluse and a hobo spider?

While they have some similarities in appearance, the violin-shaped marking on the brown recluse's back is a distinctive feature that is absent in hobo spiders.

3. Should I be concerned if I find a black widow spider in my home?

Black widow spiders should be approached with caution due to their venomous bite. It is recommended to contact a professional pest control service to eliminate them.

4. Can I prevent spiders from entering my home?

Sealing cracks and openings, removing clutter, and keeping your home clean can help reduce the likelihood of spiders entering your home.

5. How can I safely remove a spider from my home?

Using a cup and a piece of cardboard, gently trap the spider and release it outside. Avoid squashing or touching the spider directly.

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6. Do spiders bite humans in their sleep?

Spiders generally do not seek out humans for biting, and most bites occur when humans unintentionally come into contact with spiders.

7. Can spiders climb into bed with me?

While it is possible for spiders to climb onto beds, it is uncommon. Spiders usually avoid areas with vibration or movement.

8. Are there natural methods to repel spiders?

Some natural repellents include essential oils like peppermint, citrus, or tea tree oil, as spiders are typically repelled by strong scents.

9. How often do spiders reproduce?

Spiders reproduce once or twice a year, depending on the species. Female spiders can lay hundreds of eggs at a time.

10. Can I keep a pet spider in my home?

While some people choose to keep pet spiders, it is essential to research the specific species' care requirements and ensure they are legal in your area.

In conclusion, identifying common house spiders can help homeowners determine potential risks and take necessary precautions. Remember that most house spiders are harmless and can even be beneficial in controlling other pests. However, if you suspect the presence of venomous spiders or have concerns about bites, it is always best to consult a professional pest control service.

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