Spiders tend to get a bad rap. They’re mainstays of horror movies and haunted houses, and many of us are terrified to find a spider lurking in our homes. However, the truth is that people’s fear of spiders is mostly unwarranted.

spiders in the house

However, the truth is that people’s fear of spiders is mostly unwarranted. Of the more than 4,000 spider species found in the contiguous United States, most are harmless to humans. Of course, there are some dangerous spiders like the black widow and brown recluse. However, in general, spiders are beneficial predators that feed on insects, other spiders and arthropods, helping reduce pest populations in and around homes, landscapes, gardens and crops.

Kinds of house spiders

Common house spiders are divided into two groups.

  1. Hunting spiders
  2. Web-building spiders

Common house spiders

Most common house spiders pose little threat to humans. While they may bite if they feel threatened, most bites are typically either harmless or cause only minor irritation. Here are some common spider species you might spot in your home.

  • The American house spider is yellowish brown-with a dirty white abdomen and brown spots. It’s usually found in closets, under furniture and in barns and basements.
  • The domestic house spider is dark brown or orange with dark bands on its legs. It’s usually found in undisturbed places like behind furniture and in attics, basements and storage rooms.
  • The jumping spider comes in a variety of colors and sizes and is known (obviously) for its jumping behavior.
  • The southern house spider is dark brown in color. Males have elongated bodies, and both males and females are covered with fine hair.
  • The daddy longlegs is not a true spider, but it has a spider-like appearance. It's often found in damp places, like basements, crawlspaces and garages.
  • The yellow sac spider is pale in color, yellow to beige.  Its two front legs are longer than the others. The yellow sac spider is found along baseboards, behind picture frames and around spaces where ceilings and walls meet.
  • The hobo spider is dark orange or brown with a light stripe on the sternum. It builds a distinctive funnel-shaped web.

Dangerous spiders

Despite the harmlessness of most common house spiders, two species can be extremely dangerous: the black widow and the brown recluse.

Black widow:

Black and shiny with a telltale red hourglass-shaped marking, the black widow spider is typically found around woodpiles and other undisturbed areas. Though biting can be rare, females can be especially aggressive when their webs are disturbed. Bite symptoms include fever, increased blood pressure, sweating and nausea.

Brown recluse:

Light to dark brown with violin-shaped markings on its back, the brown recluse spider is typically found outdoors in woodpiles and debris, and indoors in closets, attics and crawlspaces. Though biting can be rare, their bites may become painful after several hours and can produce open, ulcerating sores in rare cases. Bite symptoms include a burning sensation at the site of the bite, restlessness, fever and difficulty sleeping. 

Although most spiders are generally harmless, most of us still don’t want them in our homes. Are you dealing with a house spider infestation? Contact Terminix and let our technicians help take care of them.