Houston is home to many different species of spiders, with the majority of these arachnids posing no danger to you and your family. However, a couple of spider species that live in Houston can cause harm through venomous and painful bites. Read more below to learn about which spiders will require spider control in your home and which may even be beneficial to the ecosystem of your home’s landscape.
Types of Spiders in Houston
Houston is home to a particular set of spider species, many of which are only annoying pests and are not harmful to humans. However, there are a couple of spider species that can be dangerous to humans. These species will require spider control for the safety of you and your family.
The wolf spider is one common species in Houston that poses essentially no threat to humans and causes no damage to your home. Wolf spiders can even be beneficial to your property as they eliminate insects. This means that the presence of these spiders on your property may not always warrant spider control. This species of spider comes in a wide range of sizes and can grow to be very large. Generally, their sizes range from one-quarter of an inch to over one and a half inches in length. The largest spiders in this species can have legs that measure over three inches long. Wolf spiders are generally brown in color, with some appearing dark brown or black. They have eight legs, eight eyes set in three rows, two body sections and mouthparts that resemble fangs. Despite their intimidating appearance, wolf spiders are not dangerous and bites from these spiders are rare. However, if continually provoked, wolf spiders will bite and inject venom into their victim. The symptoms of a wolf spider bite include pain at the site of the bite, itching, and swelling.
You will usually find wolf spiders outdoors in various habitats on your property including in ivy or monkey grass, under stones and other items and within the crevices of garden timber. These spiders prefer to live at ground level, so you will not generally find them spun in high webs around your house or property. Wolf spiders do not live indoors, but as the weather begins to get cold, they may seek shelter and warmth inside of your home. When inside, wolf spiders will commonly be found around house plants, doors, garages, windows and basements.
Although wolf spiders are generally not a safety threat to you and your family, you may want seek wolf spider control if you find that their population has begun to overwhelm your property.
Orb Weaver Spiders
Orb weaver spiders are not a specific species but rather a group of spiders composed of a number of different species that live in Houston and in other parts of North America. Because there are so many species within this spider group, it can be difficult to identify the Orb Weaver if it is found on your property. Instead of using physical characteristics to identify an orb weaver, it is often times more helpful to use the appearance of their webs as an identifying feature. Orb weaver spiders will spin circular, organized webs that are comparable to the spider webs we often associate with Halloween. These webs are generally large in size, measuring up to three feet in diameter.
This particular species of spider shares some common physical traits to other spiders including eight hairy or spiny legs, large abdomens with two sections and fang-like mouths. However, the size and colors of these traits vary from species to species. Most orb weavers are bright in color with abdomens that can be smooth, irregular in shape or spiny. If the species of orb weaver in your yard is nocturnal, they will likely be gray or brown. If observed resting in their webs, orb weavers will often be seen with their heads hanging toward the ground.
Orb weaver spiders are also called garden spiders due to their preference of habitat. These spiders generally build their webs in any spot where two attachment points can be found. These locations often include between trees and plants, under porches, on porch lights or fences or in children’s play equipment that has been left in your yard. It is rare to find an orb weaver spider inside of your home.
Like most spiders, orb weavers are able to bite if they feel threatened. They will usually only bite in self-defense and are generally a very timid species. If you do get bitten by an orb weaver, the bite is not dangerous but you might experience localized pain, redness and swelling. Similar to the wolf spider, orb weavers do not necessarily warrant spider control unless they have become a substantial nuance to you and your family.
Common House Spider
The common house spider earned its name by being the most prevalent type of spider you will find in the interior of your home. Since these spiders tend to dwell alongside your family indoors, common house spider control may feel urgent. Although common house spiders are relatively small arachnids, females are typically larger in size than males, measuring five to eight millimeters in length. Male common house spiders will generally only measure about four millimeters in length. Both male and female common house spiders are usually brown or gray in color and have a dark chevron pattern that runs along their bodies and thin legs. Like other spiders, the house spider has eight legs and two thick, round body sections.
These spiders have adapted to life in urban areas and often spin their webs inside of houses and other buildings, sometimes making spider control more necessary for this group. These webs can be found in musty and dimly lit areas, including basements, attics, closets and crawlspaces. Common house spider webs can alarm homeowners as their webs will sometimes resemble the webs of black widow or brown recluse spiders. Their round abdomens can also look similar to those of more poisonous spider species. But there is no need for alarm, as the common house spider poses essentially no threat to humans. The biggest nuisance of these spiders is that their webs collect dust requiring extra cleaning and that the sight of them in your home can be frightening.
Although uncommon, these spiders are able to bite humans, but will usually only bite if aggressively provoked. The common house spider does have venom in its fangs but that venom is primarily used to paralyze their prey before they enjoy their meal. The venom does not cause harm to humans and most who are bitten may not even realize it. However, those who are allergic or sensitive to bug bites might experience red bumps, hives or a rash. Like most other harmless species of spider, the common house spider may not require professional spider control unless their presence in your home becomes a large nuisance to your family.
Black Widow Spiders
The black widow spider is one of the most dangerous and venomous spiders found in Houston. Unlike the aforementioned spiders, the presence of black widow spiders in your home will require immediate professional spider control. Interestingly, black widow spiders are named from the widely held belief that the female black widow will eat the male after mating, when in fact, this act seldom happens in nature. Identifiable by their black or dark brown bodies and red hourglass shaped marking under their bodies, black widow spiders are also round in shape, have eight long legs, eight eyes and are approximately three to ten millimeters long. Young black widow spiders are white and orange in color, but become darker and more black as they become adults. Similar to adults, young black widows will also have reddish markings on their bellies. This will eventually turn into the recognizable red hourglass marking.
If you notice intricate and irregularly shaped spider webs near ground level around your home, you might be facing a black widow spider infestation and will need to promptly seek spider control. Another sign of black widow spiders in your home is the presence of a silken sacs. These sacs contain the eggs of female black widow spiders and foretell an impeding increase in the population of these dangerous arachnids in your home. Black widow spiders will usually live in protected areas outdoors including under decks and stones, in firewood piles and hollow tree stumps. However, these spiders prefer to spin their webs in buildings and structures such as barns, sheds, outhouses, hen houses or meter boxes. If living indoors, black widow spiders will live in cluttered, dark and sheltered areas like garages and basements.
Perhaps the most alarming characteristic about the black widow and the reason for which most people seek black widow spider control is the danger of their bites. If you are bitten by a black widow spider you might experience fever, heightened blood pressure, nausea, sweating and intense pain. This pain can last for up to three days. Death from a black widow spider bite is rare as long as you quickly seek correct medical care.
Brown Recluse Spiders
Brown recluse spiders are another species of spider in Houston that will require spider control from professionals. These spiders are most often identified by the dark brown violin shape on their backs and will live in dark and dry environments including basements, woodpiles and closets. Brown recluse spiders are usually one-fourth to a half inch in length with round bodies. The bite of a brown recluse spider is venomous and can take over three hours to fully develop and up to three weeks to heal completely. These spiders generally only bite if provoked or threatened, but if you are bitten, you can suffer a sever allergic reaction that will require medical attention. Since the risk of allergic reaction is high, and especially in children, it is a good idea to seek brown recluse spider control if you see one lurking around your home or property.
How Do Spiders Get Inside My Home?
Spiders can enter your home in many different ways. Many spider species will only come indoors for shelter, to look for a mate or to find food if you have a high population of insects inside of your home. They will often times enter through loose screens or cracks under windows and doors. Spiders can also be brought indoors accidentally when you bring infested objects inside. These objects can include plants, clothing, firewood or other items that have been stored in attics, garages or basements.
How To Protect Your Home From Spiders
The first steps in protecting your home from spider infestations should be preventative. Before the spider population in your home grows large enough for professional spider control, try following the steps below.
Keep Storage Areas Clear of Clutter
Keeping your storage areas clutter free can help reduce the need for professional spider control. Since most spiders prefer to live in sheltered and undisturbed locations, your attic, basement, garage and other storage areas make for the perfect environment for a spider to assemble its web and wait for its prey. Make sure that you do not leave clothing or shoes on the floor in these locations, as spiders have a tendency to crawl into these items. You should also store any belongings in plastic containers with lids to prevent spiders from venturing into them. When you do retrieve items from these storage areas, make sure to shake them out, wipe them off and look for spiders before you use them.
Secure Any Cracks and Crevices Around Your Home
Since spiders are known to enter homes through cracks or crevices, you can help to reduce the chance of a spider infestation and the need for spider control by sealing and securing any vulnerable areas around your house, including the foundation. You should also seal any windows or screen doors or install tightly fitted door sweeps, as these are additional entry points that spiders use to gain access to the inside of your home.
Other ways in which you can help to protect your home from spiders before seeking professional spider control is by cleaning and vacuuming your home thoroughly on a regular basis, relocating building materials, firewood and other similar objects away from your house and installing sodium vapor lightbulbs in light fixtures outside of your home. This type of bulb is not as attractive to insects than incandescent bulbs and less insects on your property means less spiders.
Natran’s Spider Control Solution
As with all of our pest control solutions, Natran takes a green approach to effective spider control in your home. Our qualified team of technicians will treat the interior and exterior of your home, sealing cracks and crevices where spiders are known to enter the indoors. Natran will then provide you and your family with recurring spider control during which our team will remove all spider webs and spray the base of your home and around windows and doors to ensure optimal protection from spiders and other infesting insects.