Funnelweb Spider Facts & Information
Protect your home or business from funnelweb spiders by learning techniques for identification and control.
How do I get rid of funnelweb spiders?
What Orkin Does
Should the homeowner need assistance in control of these or any other spiders, contact your local pest management professional (PMP) and request an inspection.
Your PMP can then use inspection findings to prepare a comprehensive pest management plan that will effectively and efficiently deal with the specific pest problem. Their recommendations will also include using a vacuum to remove webs and spiders and precautions to be sure to remove and discard vacuum cleaner bags to prevent re-infestations.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Understanding Funnelweb Spiders
As there are many species of funnel weaver spiders found in the United States, the range of appearances of this family of spiders varies a great deal.
Length: Generally these spiders range in body size (not including the span of their legs) from about 1/5 of an inch to about 3/4 of an inch.
Color: Coloration is generally brownish or grayish and their legs and other body parts are hairy and often have bands and markings that are darker in color.
Body: Some of the most commonly seen funnel weaver spiders have a long, tail-like structure that extends from the rear end of the body. This structure is used for spinning their webs.
Webs: Other than their physical appearance, funnel weaver spiders can be identified by the appearance of their webs. These webs are distinctive and generally have a horizontal, flat surface for capturing prey, plus a small funnel shaped tube that leads to a silk burrow that functions as a protective hiding place.
Sources of food are primarily insects, although some funnel weavers may cannibalize their own species. Spider experts think this could simply involve the fact that since these spiders are often in such close proximity to each other they may wander onto each others' webs becoming accidental victims.
When prey fall onto the horizontal web, the funnelweb spider quickly moves out of the "funnel," grabs its prey and then carries it back to the "funnel" to eat its meal. When disturbed, these spiders typically run in a quick, darting manner.
Various species of funnel weavers can be found throughout North America, including remote areas such as Alaska and Hawaii.
The spiders can be found in man-made structures like barns and sheds, which may be inhabited with prey. Sometimes, funnel weavers are found in cluttered basements and crawlspaces inhabited with small crawling insect prey.
Regardless of the web's location, these spiders must have some sort of gap or recess into which they can build their "funnel" retreat. Funnel weavers commonly build webs in:
Fallen trees and branches
Abandoned burrows of various small animals
In addition, some funnel weaver spiders may build their webs near manmade structures in or near places with:
Wood shakes and vinyl siding
Bricks with cracked/broken mortar
Light sources that attract insects
As soon as males reach sexual maturity, they begin wandering the environment in search of mates. After finding a female and mating several times, a male funnel weaver soon dies off.
Females remain by their webs their entire lives and only tend to leave to find new locations to build webs. Not known to seek out mates, female funnel weavers wait for wandering males to find them.
Most of the female's time is spent capturing or feeding on prey in order to build the strength necessary for mating and egg production. After producing eggs and hiding the egg sac in a crevice, the female dies.
Funnel Weavers vs. Australian Funnelweb Spiders
The funnel weaver spiders in the family Agelenidae, which are found in the United States, are often confused with funnelweb spiders that are found in Australia. The important differences between the two are:
The United States funnel weaver spiders are not considered medically important to people.
The funnelweb spider, commonly referred to as the Sydney funnelweb spider is found in Australia. It is a serious medically important spider.
The medically important Sydney funnelweb spiders (
Atrax robustus) are in the spider family
Hexathelidae, are not naturally found in the United States and are not related to our
Agelenidae funnel weaver spiders.
At one point, it was thought the hobo spider (Eratigena agrestis), a funnel weaver, was a medically important spider. However current research, observations and medical literature do not support this prior thinking. Further evidence is provided by the fact the hobo spider is often the most common spider found in homes within Europe, where it also is considered harmless to humans.
Here are some funnelweb spider prevention tips:
Make sure the insects that serve as food for spiders are kept to a minimum.
Seal all holes, cracks and gaps in the home's doors, windows and foundation to prevent entrance.
Remove ground litter that serves as harborage.