Identify Which Spiders are Common in Your Area and if They’re Dangerous
There are several different species of spiders that call Florida home, some more dangerous than others.
If you're dealing with a possible spider infestation, it's important to understand the invading pest, whether it is small or large, and whether it’s a poisonous or non-poisonous spider.
Wolf spiders are typically found outdoors and prefer to live in ivy or beneath stones.
The pest can grow up to 2 inches in length, which is on the larger size for spiders.
Wolf spiders are very common in Southwest Florida homes and can be found scurrying on walls outside and inside. This type of spider bites when they feel threatened, but the bite doesn’t contain dangerous venom.
They don’t build webs to catch their prey, but instead, they use their quickness to hunt cockroaches and other insects.
Wolf spiders are usually brown and are sometimes mistaken for the brown recluse spider, a significantly more dangerous species that is also found in Florida.
Brown recluse spiders are typically identified by a dark brown violin-shaped mark on their back, and their color ranges from tan to dark brown. They vary in length from 1/4-of-an-inch to 1/2-an-inch.
The brown recluse spider prefers to live in warm, dry, dark environments such as basements or closets.
Brown recluse spiders aren’t as prominent as their black widow cousins, but they are still dangerous. Venom can cause severe allergic reactions in children, the elderly, or those with preexisting medical conditions.
The bite can go unnoticed at first, but the affected area may begin to swell and turn red after a few hours. While the bite isn’t typically life-threatening, the affected area can become dry with a blister in the center.
Black widow spiders are notorious and can be identified by the red, hourglass-shaped mark on their abdomen.
The name “black widow” comes from the belief that the females eat the males after mating, even though this is a rare occurrence.
The pest’s venom is reported to be 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake's — but don’t worry, a black widow’s bite rarely causes serious issues or death. Black widows are not aggressive and bite only when they feel endangered.
They will search for protected areas in the landscape of Southwest Florida homes. Woodpiles, decks, barns, sheds, and even meter boxes can become a home for a black widow spider.
Daddy Long Legs
The most commonly-seen spider in Southwest Florida is characterized by its extremely long legs.
Daddy long leg spiders, also known as cellar spiders, are harmless, but they can still congregate in your home.
Daddy long legs prefer to rest on tree trunks, windowsills, as well as inside garages and basements. These spiders feed on insects as well as other spiders. They’ve also been known to drink sweet vegetable juices — so watch out for your garden.
A widely spread myth about daddy long leg spiders is that they are highly poisonous. While they carry venom, this spider is not known to bite or cause concern for humans. Their venom, however, will paralyze their prey.
Spiny orb-weaver spiders are generally found in the citrus trees and shrubs that are common throughout Southwest Florida.
They’re easily distinguished from other species of orb-weaver spiders because of their colorful body. As the “spiny” name suggests, these spiders are known for the six spines that protrude from their backs. Found in Southwest Florida, spiny orb-weavers typically have a white abdomen with red spines and black spots.
Spiny orb-weaver egg sacs can consist of as many as 300 eggs and can hatch within two weeks, which makes professional removal imperative.
While they are quite frightening to look at, spiny orb-weaver bites are not known to be poisonous and don’t cause serious symptoms for those who are bitten.
Banana spiders are native to warmer regions and are most prevalent during fall.
Female banana spiders can grow to be two inches in length, not including the length of their legs. If leg length is included, banana spiders can be a staggering 5 inches long.
Banana spiders eat a variety of insects like mosquitoes, moths, wasps, and centipedes. Many Southwest Florida homeowners can find that to be beneficial for their property, even if the pest is an unwelcome guest in their home.
Banana spiders are timid and non-poisonous spiders, and they are a positive presence in the environment because of the insects they prey on.
Although the huntsman species of spiders originally hails from Asia, the Heteropoda venatoria type of huntsman is found in Florida.
The huntsman spider is generally gray or brown in color, and sometimes have dark brown bands on their legs.
These spiders can be over 5 inches long, which is longer than many other species of spider found in Southwest Florida. Their size and speed causes homeowners to confuse them with tarantulas.
Much like the wolf spider, huntsman spiders don’t weave webs to catch their prey. Instead, they rely on their speed and ability to hunt. The nocturnal pest thrives on insects like cockroaches, silverfish, and even crickets.
Their bite is venomous, but typically only causes localized pain and is too weak to be considered medically significant for humans.
If you discover any of these spiders in your home, or to ensure your home isn’t susceptible to an infestation, contact our pest control experts for a free inspection today.