Daddy Longlegs / Harvestmen

Facts, Identification, & Control

Scientific Name

FamilyPhalangiidae

Appearance

What Do They Look Like?

Daddy longleg illustration
Daddy Longleg Illustration

  • Size: They measure 5/16 of an inch in length
  • Color: They are usually brown or grayish in color.
  • Body: Harvestmen have one body segment, two eyes, and eight legs. Their second pair of legs are longer than the others and function as their smell and taste sense organs.

How Did I Get Daddy Longlegs?

If residents leave doors or windows open, this creates entryways for harvestmen to enter the house. Any area around the home with leaking pipes or excess moisture will attract these pests.

How Serious Are Daddy Longlegs?

Harvestmen do not cause any damage to homes. They may cluster and frighten homeowners due to the sheer number of pests gathered in one place, but they cause no harm.

Do They Bite?
Harvestmen cannot bite humans and do not produce venom. This debunks an urban legend that falsely states daddy longlegs are the most poisonous spiders in the world, but their fangs are too small to penetrate human skin.

Signs of Infestation

Harvestmen populations around or inside homes are usually small, so it may be hard to identify an infestation. It is difficult to spot these creatures, because they are mostly only active at night.

How Do I Get Rid of Daddy Longlegs?

What You Can Do
Since harvestmen are beneficial predators, control measures are usually unnecessary. Should they be found inside your home, remove them with a vacuum or broom. If control is necessary, seek the assistance of your pest management professional.

What Orkin Does
Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage daddy longlegs and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep daddy longlegs in their place and out of your home or business.


Behavior, Diet, & Habits

They have many names such as harvest spiders, shepherd spiders, and grandfather graybeards. Their proper common names are daddy longlegs, harvestmen, or opilionids. These organisms are called harvestmen because they are often seen in large numbers in the fall around harvest time. During the fall, their populations may briefly cluster together. Unlike spiders, they do not create silk webs.

Harvestmen primarily search for food at night. They use their mouthparts to hold their prey while they feed on them. In fact, these mouthparts are very similar to crabs. They produce a strong odor that repels most predators to use as protection.

Where Do They Live?
Outdoors, harvestmen prefer to live in damp, shaded areas such as on trees, under eaves, and underneath logs and rocks. It is rare to see harvestmen in home living spaces. If they make their way indoors, they hide in areas including:

  • Basements
  • Crawlspaces
  • Garages
  • Sheds

Lifespan
In northern portions of their range, harvestmen live for only one year, while in the south they may live up to two years.