3 Common House Spiders in the Greater Washington DC Area
If you live in a rural area, you know spiders are a fact of life. But even if you are not out in the woods, you are sure to see the occasional spider in your house. And while many people don’t want to be in the same room as a spider, let alone get close enough to tell what kind it is, it is important to be able to identify common house spiders and know if the creature scampering around your house is just creepy or if it’s actually dangerous.
Here are the most common house spiders found in the Washington DC metro area.
Cellar Spiders – Pholcidae
Cellar spiders are a spider family in the suborder Araneomorphae. The family contains about 1500 species. Some of these are commonly called carpenter spider, vibrating spider, or daddy long-legs spider. However, sometimes confusion arises between spiders and arachnids.
There’s a myth that daddy long-legs are the most venomous spiders in the world. But we’re only safe from their bite because their fangs are too small and weak to break through human skin.
Yellow Sac Spider
The yellow sac spider is pale yellow and about ½-inch long. It is frequently found indoors. They typically rest during the day and become active at night. They do not actively seek out humans, but they may bite if they are touched. Their bite is not dangerous, but it will likely cause some local pain and swelling.
Wolf spiders are robust and agile hunters with excellent eyesight. They live mostly in solitude and hunt alone, and do not spin webs. hunt down their prey and jump on it like wolves, instead of catching it in a web. These giant spiders can also be mistaken for tarantulas, since each species has a thick, hairy body.
Black Widow Spider
The black widow spider has a shiny black body. It is usually around 1/2 inch long. It will have a red spot on its underside that is often, but not always, the shape of an hourglass. Younger black widows are usually gray and may have a white stripe or area of yellow or orange. The bite of a black widow spider is extremely venomous. If you see one, stay away and call a professional.
Tips to Avoid Being Bitten
- If you are working in the garage, cellar or attic, be sure to wear heavy gloves. Spiders are often found in cold, dark areas like this, so it is best to protect yourself, even if you don’t see spiders.
- Avoid clutter like wood stacks, laundry piles, or old tires. These areas are a great place for spiders to hide. Eliminate as much clutter as you can and be cautious around any remaining clutter. Use protection such as long sleeves and gloves when cleaning up these areas.
- Shake out your clothes before putting them on. Spiders usually only bite when they are bothered. If you can avoid touching them, you can avoid being bitten.
- Consider cleaning under your beds and in corner areas, especially with children’s stuffed dolls and toys, often. This will help eliminate common house spiders from starting their web.