Different spiders prefer different habitats. There are many of them, like the crab spider, grass spider, and fishing spider. Some like the great outdoors, others live in water, while some favor taking shelter in houses. These include the American house spiders, the most commonly encountered spiders in the United States.
What exactly are American house spiders? Here’s what you need to know. American house spiders generally live in peace with humans and feed on other insects and spiders. Some would consider them a beneficial spider, but some homeowners deal with them with uneasiness or outright fear, particularly those suffering from arachnophobia.
The American house spider, also referred to as the common house spider, cobweb spider, domestic house spider (Tegenaria domestica), and comb footed spider (Genus parasteatoda), is actually found all over the world, not just in the United States. As its name suggests, these spiders are often found inside or near homes, where they like to build tangled and messy webs.
Adult American house spiders are very small creatures, with the females having a size of 3/16 to 5/16 inches and the males measuring 1/8 to 3/16 inches. They normally have a dull brown appearance. The males and females have yellow and orange legs, respectively. Meanwhile, their bodies feature patterns that, when combined with various shades, help them to achieve a camouflaged appearance. While the female spider has a bulbous abdomen, the male spider is distinguished by an elongated type. Their legs are also long and skinny, and their ankles are marked with comb-like hairs.
Aside from American house spiders, other common spider species that like to dwell in homes are the wolf spider, cellar spider, long bodied cellar spider, brown spider, jumping spider, hobo spider, giant house spider, black house spider (Badumna insignis), and yellow sac spider. The more aggressive ones that tend to invade properties while searching for their prey are the venomous black widow spider and brown recluse spider.
American house spiders can adapt to any season and can mate at any time. Females produce brown egg sacs that hold 6 to 9 millimeters in diameter. They’re able to deposit around 12 of these egg sacs during their entire existence. Each sac can have up to 380 spider eggs.
Moreover, this arachnid prefers dark and damp environments, usually hiding in closets, basements, attics, storage spaces, garages, bathrooms, kitchen sinks, under furniture, windowsills, eaves, and sheds. Areas that aren’t concealed or have a lot of clutter make it easy for them to hide.
You'll see that these spiders weave messy, billowy cobwebs (Yes, the ones you see as Halloween decors). These webs are what the spiders cunningly use to capture their live prey, usually insects and household pests such as mosquitoes, flies, wasps, and ants. They can do a random attack on grasshoppers, cockroaches, butterflies, or other spiders, depending on the size. The American house spider bites their victim and injects venom, making it easier to digest.
American house spiders are generally harmless spiders. They’re easily scared and only bite in self-defense or if provoked in any way. Its venom isn’t said to be poisonous to humans, unlike that of their near cousins, the black widow and brown recluse. However, their bite could lead to pain that may last for 16 hours and up to several days, alongside symptoms like swelling, itching, and redness.
When bitten by a spider, you’re advised to immediately disinfect the space with water and soap and apply some antibiotic cream. Then take a wet cloth and wrap it around some ice and place it on the bite. Raise your arm or leg if bitten on these areas. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen if there’s pain and an antihistamine if there’s swelling.
If symptoms like serious pain in your belly, cramps, throwing up, swelling on your mouth and face, tightness in your chest, or trouble breathing occur, seek medical help immediately. It's not very common, but just like with bee stings, some people are allergic to spider bite. If you can do it safely, take the spider with you, even if it's dead, for proper identification.
While American house spiders aren’t a serious hazard in your home, and we can't ignore the fact that they provide pest control, the reality is that most of us don't want them nor their spider web around. It's a natural instinct to smash or swat them whenever you see them, but there are less messy ways to get rid of these critters.
Using a vacuum remains one of the most effective and easiest ways to kill spiders. Not only does it exterminate the pest, but it also removes cobwebs and egg sacs that it has left behind. Make sure to keep the vacuum running for some time to make sure that the spider perishes inside the vacuum bag. Dispose of the vacuum bag right away, placing the bag in a tightly sealed bag. If your vacuum is bagless, you can still use this method as long as you empty the dust canister afterward. Be careful when approaching as there are dangerous spiders like recluse spiders that can attack and bite you.
Essential oils are a great way to repel spiders as they’re sensitive to the smell. To make a natural spider deterrent, blend peppermint oil, lemon oil, tea tree oil, cedar oil, or orange oil with water and pour them into a spray bottle. Spray this mixture on any spider you see or in areas where they frequently nest. This spray is also an effective insect repellent.
Spiders loathe vinegar just as much as they hate essential oils. To repel spiders from creeping into your house, mix white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on areas where you regularly see spiders, along with entrances where spiders may enter from outside.
Concentrated bleach has a high acidity that will kill the spider, its egg sac, as well as any other nuisance pest in 5 minutes or even less when you pour enough of the liquid solution on them. To make a bleach repellent, mix it with water and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Bleach isn’t an organic solution because of its high toxicity levels, so you must wear protective gear like gloves before spraying the chemical in your house.
You should also avoid using the solution on hardwood floors or structures made from natural materials such as wood or stone.
If you're worried you might have a serious, out-of-control spider infestation in your home, a professional exterminator is your best ally. Contact Pinnacle Pest Control today, and our highly trained and enthusiastic pest control specialists will assist you. We’re fully committed to solving your pest problem while offering the best protection for your home and guaranteeing your family and pets' safety. Request a free quote now.