Spiders 101: 8-Legged Webmasters

Spiders are one of the most abundant creatures on earth. In fact, the only place they aren’t found in Antarctica. Easily recognizable, you’ll often see them among grasses, under rocks, on plants, and spot their webs between tree branches.

Although all of them have venom, only a handful of species are dangerous to humans. If you have spiders around your house, give us a call.

Spiders feed mainly on insects or other spiders and pose little to no threat to humans. However, we understand that their presence around your property may cause fear and discomfort. In some cases, spiders may attract other pests that feed on spiders so it’s a good idea to have them exterminated.

spider on counter with blurred background

All About Spiders

 Spiders are arthropods of the order Araneae, class Arachnida. They range from 0.5 to 90 mm in length, with bodies composed of two primary parts – abdomen and cephalothorax. All spiders are predators, primarily consuming insects. While some are active hunters that overpower their prey, others weave silk webs to trap their targets. Several spiders inject venom to kill their meal quickly, whereas others use their webs to immobilize them.

A male spider’s main goal in life is to impregnate multiple females. During mating, the male spider loads his pedipalps with sperm from the sperm web. Pedipalps are segmented appendages attached to the spider’s head. He uses these to insert the sperm into the female’s genital openings. Then, the female stores the sperm inside her body, and then selects which sperm to use to fertilize the eggs. Afterward, she’s ready to lay up to a thousand fertile eggs into her silk egg sac. These eggs normally hatch after a few weeks.

All species of spiders go through three life stages — the egg, spiderling, and adult stage. Some females guard their egg sacs until the eggs hatch, while others just leave it in a secure area.

Spiders adapt well to their surroundings and do well in various kinds of habitats. Some even make their way inside homes and businesses. They can live at the back of your closet, in piles of bricks, crawl spaces, and basically anywhere else. These animals love building nests in dark, cluttered places like garages and sheds.

The majority of spiders are harmless and help control insect populations. However, some are poisonous and even if they’re not, nobody wants them to infest their house.

Common Spiders In Texas

Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus spp.)
Black widows are considered as the most venomous spiders in North America, but their bites are rarely fatal to humans. They normally eat insects that get stuck in their webs but also eat caterpillars, beetles, mosquitoes, and grasshoppers. These spiders puncture their prey with their fangs and then liquify the corpse by injecting digestive enzymes. Black widows are easily recognized by the red hourglass shape on their abdomen.

Brown Recluse
Brown recluses have gained a bad reputation over the years because they are poisonous. But, the truth is, they very rarely bite humans, and are not aggressive. They are most easily identified by the violin shape and legs all being the same color. Brown recluse spiders can go several months without eating and are well-adapted to dry, hot conditions.

Cellar Spiders (Family Pholcidae)
Cellar spiders are often referred to as “daddy longlegs” because of their thin, very long legs. They are very thin and elongated compared to other spiders. As their name implies, they are often found in damp, dark areas like cellars and basements.

Wolf Spiders (Family Lycosidae)
Wolf spiders usually alarm people because of their big and hairy appearance. However, they are shy creatures and are mainly just nuisance pests. Unlike other spiders, they don’t hunt with their webs. Instead, they run after their prey.

Did You Know?

  • Some female spiders, such as the Black Widow, can eat male spiders of the same species.
  • Spiders produce oils on their legs to help them keep from being stuck in their own web!
  • There are over 3,400 different types of spiders in the United States alone.

How Did I Get Spiders?

Spiders find their way inside properties while looking for mates, moisture, warmth, and food. The presence of other insects inside properties is one of the reasons why they’re drawn indoors. Open windows, loose screens, and other openings are possible entry points for spiders. At times, they are unknowingly introduced to homes via infested objects like clothing, bags, and plants.

How Serious are Spider Infestations?

While some give venomous bites that result in emergencies, spiders generally pose little danger to people. Their presence can be a nuisance around homes and businesses, though. 

Spider Control Tips

  • Make sure you have door sweeps installed to prevent spiders as well as other pests.
  • Apply caulk or silicone to cracks and holes around your house.
    Avoid debris in the yard.
  • Fix and replace broken window screens.
  • Get in the habit of cleaning and vacuuming storage areas regularly.
    Clear cobwebs when you see them.
  • Keep woodpiles and compost pits 20 to 30 feet away from the home or as far as possible.
  • Keep the grass or any vegetation trimmed.
  • Refrain from over-watering the yard.

Call For Assistance

Andy Howard’s Pest Pest Control provides guaranteed pest control services to clients in Austin. Let us help you keep spiders and other common pests out of your house. Call us now for a free quote.