A Guide to Arizona Spiders

Arizona’s dry, hot climate draws all kinds of visitors to the state: vacationers escaping cold weather, insects escaping cold weather, and spiders, which follow the bugs that serve as their main food source. The five spiders you’re most likely to see in Arizona are the black widow, brown recluse, wolf spider, southern house spider, and huntsman spider.

Types of spiders in Arizona

The black widow spider is a shiny, black spider with a red hourglass shape. It can grow up to 1 and 3/8 inches in length, and females are larger than males. It has eight legs and eight eyes, two lateral pairs of which nearly touch.

Five species of black widow are recognized in the United States, and the spider is most common in the southern half. It’s a night owl, living in dark cracks and gaps of undisturbed garages, closets, and sheds during the day. Outside, the spider can often be found under porches. Its bite is extremely venomous.

Also venomous is the brown recluse spider. The light brown and furry spider has various spots and eight thin legs, each measuring up to an inch and a half.

The female brown recluse produces about fifty eggs per egg sac and five egg sacs per season. It takes less than a year for an egg to become an adult spider. In laboratory settings, they have lived up to two and a half years.

The brown recluse is no social butterfly, hence its nickname. It likes to make its home in dark, cluttered areas, like sheds, wood piles and leaf piles, piles of stone or rubble, stored boxes of newspaper, stored clothing, attics, and crawl spaces.

The wolf spider is almost as big as a tarantula. The black or brown spider has eight eyes arranged in three rows.

If a wolf spider makes its way into a home, it’s likely a male spider who’s gotten lost while looking for a mate, as it would rather be outdoors. Once inside, it will try to hide under objects like tables and chairs during the day, though its large size makes it difficult for it to hide.

The southern house spider is easy to mistake for a brown recluse because of their similar color and shape. However, while the bite of a southern house spider is quite painful, it isn’t poisonous to humans. A female can reach three-fourths of an inch and is charcoal gray. A southern house spider male can reach about half an inch. Its coloring ranges from khaki to amber, and its legs are slender and long.

At an inch, the adult huntsman spider is one of the largest spiders in Arizona. This big brown spider originally came from Asia. The male has longer legs than the female and a dark stripe on the abdomen. It is also easy to mistake huntsman spiders for a brown recluse, but unlike the recluse, it does not pose a threat to humans.

Tips for preventing spiders from getting in to your home

Despite the numerous amounts types of spiders in Arizona, you can do your part to prevent them from entering your home and minimize the threat of a spider bite or infestation.

  • Use a natural spider repellant
  • Seal cracks and crevices in the exterior of your home or around windows that might provide a way into your home
  • Keep your home clean, especially lower traffic storage areas such as the garage and attic which provide undisturbed hiding spots for spiders
  • Monitor the exterior of your home particularly around wood and mulch piles, behind shutters, and around light fixtures for any webs or signs of spiders

If creepy crawly spiders have invaded your Arizona home, don’t fight the battle by yourself. SOS can help identify any spiders in your home and keep them out.