More About Spiders
Spiders are found in homes across the United States, and among the most common species is the American house spider, often simply called the house spider. Generally, house spiders are brown or gray with light spots and they prefer to build their webs in undisturbed locations, out of direct sunlight. Their bodies are about 1/4 inch long, stretching to almost a full inch if their legs are included.
An interesting characteristic of house spiders is that they tend to operate in family units, with male and female house spiders sharing a web for long periods of time while offspring build webs nearby. Although this is a fascinating trait, it means house spider infestations become widespread more frequently than with other species.
House spiders rarely bite humans, but on the rare occasion they do, the bite only produces mild pain and swelling, with no further health problems. While such house spiders are relatively harmless, there is a small group of common venomous spiders that can be particularly dangerous, and it is crucial to be able to identify these species. Most well-known among this group are the black widow spider, the brown recluse spider, and the hobo spider. A bite from one of these spiders can be quite painful and should be given medical attention. In some rare cases these bites can be fatal, though usually only for young children.
Black Widow Spider
Identifiable by the red hourglass shape on their deep black abdomen, black widows are among the most dangerous spiders in the world. Female black widows are the only ones who exhibit this red hourglass, while male black widows instead display yellow or red bands and spots. Females are about 1/2 inch long, stretching to 1 1/2 inches when their legs are spread. Males are about half that size. These spiders are usually found in the Southwestern parts of the country, frequently making their webs between rocks, plants, and debris. In the event of a black widow bite, seek immediate medical attention.
Brown Recluse Spider
Brown in color with a darker brown violin-shaped spot on its abdomen, the brown recluse spider usually resides in dark, cramped spaces. These spiders are about 1/2 inch in size and are most commonly found in the hot, dry climates of the American Southwest, where they make their homes in places like rock piles. Though rumored to be extremely poisonous, the bite of a brown recluse is generally not fatal and some people who get bit by them do not experience any pain at all. Still, if bitten by a brown recluse, seek medical attention quickly, as the human body’s reaction to brown recluse venom is often delayed.
Brownish in appearance, the hobo spider is often confused for the brown recluse, and is most frequently found in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Hobo spiders thrive in dark, humid places, frequently within and around human homes, where they construct distinct funnel-like webs to trap their prey. Hobo spiders are aggressive hunters, but typically bite humans only when they perceive a threat. Though previously thought to be dangerous, the bite of a hobo spider is not medically threatening in the vast majority of cases. Still, if bitten, seek medical attention, and if possible, capture the spider, as that can help determine the kind of treatment you might need.