Arachnophobia (the fear of spiders) if you’re like me… the sight of a spider is almost panic-inducing. The truth is, most spiders aren’t harmful at all, and are in fact beneficial to have around.
Spiders: Knowing Common Crawlers From The Deadly Ones
However, there are a few you’d want to avoid. If they are frequently seen in parts of your home, then you should pay extra close attention to whatever it is you’re doing. You wouldn’t want to get bit by a poisonous spider while doing your daily routine, or even just going about your day either at home or in your office or in your car.
This article will help you identify the 11 most common (and deadly) spiders in the US:
1. The Brown Recluse Spider
An adult Brown Recluse is 1/4″ to 3/4″ in body length and sports a shape of a dark violin that can be seen on the topmost leg area with the tip pointing towards the abdomen (this gave rise to its nickname “Fiddle Back”). What makes this spider unique, is it has a pair of 6 eyes instead of the usual 8. The Fiddle Back is common in the south. If bitten, it can cause significant cutaneous injury with tissue loss and necrosis.
2. The Black Widow Spider
A fully mature black widow can reach 1/2″ and normally has a black shiny color, with a yellowish orange or red hourglass mark or dot on the underpart of the stomach area. You often see them in areas such as:
- Underneath piles of rubble and wood
- Inside hollow stumps
- Underneath stones
- Crawl spaces
- Untidy basements
A bite from a Black Widow can be very excruciating and deadly. One can experience a serious illness even with a little venom as it affects the nervous system. Other causes are nausea, abdominal pain, headache, fever, an extreme blood pressure increase and vomiting.
3. The Red Widow Spider
The red widow spider has a black abdomen with red spots border lined with yellow lines, with the rest of it parts in a reddish-orange color. Typically, the underside has one or more tiny red marks. It creates its web in rosemary, palmettos, scrub oak, other shrubs and found mainly in central and southeast Florida’s sand-pine scrub territories. Only the females bite and its venom, being a neurotoxin, leads to muscle spasms.
4. The Hobo Spider
The adult hobo spider has several chevron-shaped markings on their abdomen, has a brownish color and can reach a body length of 1/3″ to 2/3″ and the legs can reach up to 2/3″ to 2″. The male’s mouth area has 2 large boxing glove-like parts while the females have bigger abdomen. Hobo spiders live anywhere in the following areas:
If bitten, a blister is formed after 24 hours, which later breaks open and turns into an ulcer with liquid oozing out after a day or two. A terrible headache is one of the frequent complaints in addition to weakness, nausea, damaged eyesight, short-term loss of memory and fatigue.
5. The Funnel Web Grass Spider
Generally, funnel grass spiders are grayish or brownish in color with dark and light stripes along the head. They have spinnerets that are about 3/4″ long and are moderate in size. Their webs are usually made near steps, foundations, window wells, low-lying shrubs and in the ground, thus the name. They are frequently seen in the Northwestern US. The bite of these spiders is of low risk to humans.
6. The Mouse Spider
The mouse spider is a medium or large ground-dwelling spider that has a body length up to 1 and 1/2″ and can burrow up as deep as 3 feet or more. The spider with long fangs and a bright red head is a male mouse spider and it often rambles through open areas searching for females, particularly after it rains. Although normally not aggressive, the male mouse spider will bite if aggravated and is known to cause severe illness, especially to young children.
7. The Wolf Spider
An adult wolf spider can reach up to 1/2″ to an inch or more in length with a brown to grayish speckles, and a distinctive impression of a Union Jack on the upper stomach area. The young spiders are carried on the back of the female. The wolf spider is a nocturnal ground dweller that can move swiftly when it feels threatened and has a burrow lined with silk to retreat into. The bite can be very painful and is venomous but not fatal. Wolf Spiders are not aggressive but they will bite you if provoked.
8. The Orb Weaving Spider
An adult orb-weaving spider’s body can grow from 2/3″ up to 1″, has a spherical abdomen which is often colorful and has a pattern of light to dark brown. The Golden Orb-Weaver Spider portrays the same round abdomen but in purple-like color. It is often seen in your garden during summer. Their web can be seen between shrubs or buildings and can reach a radius of more than 6 feet. The bite of Orb-Weaving Spiders is nontoxic to humans.
9. Cellar Spider (Daddy Long Legs)
Cellar spiders are non-venomous fragile spiders. Their body measures up to a length of 2–10 mm and legs up to 50 mm. The cellar spider hangs upturned in irregular, tangled, and messy webs found in damp and dark recesses, such as:
- Loose bark
- Beneath rocks
- Deserted burrows
- Undisturbed areas in buildings, such as cellars, thus the name “cellar spider”
- In warm, dry places, like attics and household windows
10. The Huntsman Spider
An adult huntsman spider may vary from 1/2 to 2 inches including its legs – the 2 pairs of rear legs are considerably shorter than the 2 pairs of legs in the front. The huntsman spider has dark patches with a brownish beige color on its body and is an apprehensive spider that can move extremely fast going sideways if disturbed. It likes to live beneath flat rocks, peeling tree barks, and inside building roof spaces. They are a non-aggressive group of spiders and the bite from a Huntsman spider is not toxic to humans.
11. The Tarantula
On average, tarantulas measure 7 to 10 cm in length but are capable of exceeding 30 cm. Tarantulas commonly come in black or brown in color with distinguishable body hair which they use as a defense mechanism against predators. They can be found in some if not all parts of:
- New Mexico
Tarantulas thrive all over grassland and open desert areas with soils that are well-drained and dry. However, there are some species that survive in caves, cliffs, trees, including pineapple and banana crops. Although all tarantulas are poisonous, there has been no recorded data of any deaths caused by a tarantula bite. However, their bites are excruciatingly painful and can last for a number of days.
Watch this video by eHow on identifying spiders of the Midwest in the United States:
Remember, not all spiders are bad! This list is a very short portion of a very long list of spiders that are incredibly beneficial, especially if you have your own garden and have annoying pests! Learn about all of them if you can.
What’s your take on spiders? How do you keep them out of your home and out of your gear? Do you encourage them in your garden? Let us know in the comments below!
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on March 12, 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.