American house spiders are comb-footed spiders. They have long, skinny legs with hair on their ankles. They are extremely common throughout North America. They are known for building tangled “Halloween-like” webs in secluded locations like closets and corners in homes. Their webs often house eggs contained in one or more spherical sacs. Their coloring is usually muted with patterns consisting of brown shades for coloration. They are usually only a quarter-inch long. Because of their relatively small size and dull coloring they often escape from notice by people. Generally speaking, these spiders are not aggressive. They rarely ever bite people and their venom is not dangerous. In fact, in many situations when this spider feels threatened it will “play dead.”
Unlike the passive nature of the American house spider, the yellow sac spider probably accounts for more spider bites than any other spider in the area and their bites may be misdiagnosed as brown recluse bites by health care professionals. These spiders are a light yellow to cream color, with their jaws, the tips of their tarsi, and their palps being dark brown in color. Yellow sac spiders are “active hunters,” which means they hunt their prey instead of capturing it on a web. Yellow sac spiders use their webs to deposit their eggs in June or July. The eggs are loosely deposited around the web. The female spider will remain near the web in order to guard her eggs.
Another spider that does not catch its prey by using a web is the wolf spider. Unlike the yellow sac spider, wolf spiders are not known to be aggressive, but they will bite in self-defense. The wolf spider is larger than the other two spiders, in fact, they are large enough that homeowners have mistaken them for escaped pet tarantulas. Wolf spiders normally enter a house near ground level. They are most often encountered in basements, crawlspaces, and breezeways.
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