Southern House Spiders
Facts, Identification, & Control
AppearanceWhat Do They Look Like?
- Females: Females are charcoal gray and their body, including the leg span, is about 2 inches in diameter. Homeowners often report the females look like small tarantulas.
- Males: The male spider has long legs, but is smaller than the female and is khaki or amber in color. Males are mistakenly thought to be brown recluse spiders. Male southern house spiders are generally larger and the violin shape on their back is narrower than that of the brown recluse. Also, the southern house spider has eight eyes, while the brown recluse has only six eyes.
How Did I Get Southern House Spiders?
Since house lights are an important attractant to the insects these spiders prey upon, southern house spiders often stick close to homes. They routinely spin webs inside dark cracks and gaps around windowsills, shutters, and overhangs. Structural faults such as cracks, gaps, and holes in the home’s exterior allow the spiders to move indoors. Southern house spiders are most frequently found in the southern parts of the United States.
How Serious Are Southern House Spiders?
Homeowners often mistake a southern house spider for a brown recluse due to its large size and coloration. Unless the homeowner is very familiar with the appearance and makings of a brown recluse, it may take an expert to spot the differences between these two spiders.Are They Dangerous?
While they look similar to a dangerous species, southern house spiders are generally not medically important. Like most common spiders, the pests will defend themselves when threatened. Their bite is mildly painful, but rarely has serious side effects for those not allergic to spider venom. This spider is not aggressive and will attempt to escape when disturbed, but may bite if left with no other options for protection.
Signs of Infestation
Presence of adult spiders, their immature spiderlings, egg sacs, and webs are signs of an infestation. Males are most often observed, as females are reclusive and spend most of their time spinning webs in secluded areas and capturing prey.
How Do I Get Rid of Southern House Spiders?What You Can Do
Preventing a southern house spider infestation begins with:
- Food restriction: The spiders’ food source should be kept to a minimum.
- Exclusion: Seal all holes, cracks, and gaps to help prevent entry.
- Cleaning: Removing ground litter that serves as harborage for spiders is also helpful.
Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage southern house spiders 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 southern house spiders in their place…out of your home, or business.
Behavior, Diet & HabitGeographic Range
Distribution of the southern house spider includes the southern states from the Atlantic Coast westward to New Mexico, Arizona, California, and northward into Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. In some parts of its distribution area, the arachnid is also known as the southern crevice spider.Where Do They Live?
Southern house spiders are frequently associated with human habitations. They build their webs from cracks and crevices on the exterior of homes, barns, and other structures. This species can be found in yucca plants over the portion of their distribution where the yucca plant is found. Other preferred areas of protective habitat include under:
- Loose tree bark
A mated female lays about 200 eggs, wrapping them loosely in a silken egg sac that is roughly in 5/8 inch in diameter. Southern house spiderlings are considered "social" arachnids since they exhibit sibling recognition, cooperate with each other to capture prey, feed socially, and disperse in aggregations after leaving their mother’s web.Lifespan
Females may live up to eight years, but the lifespan of the male spider is much shorter.