Common Spiders in Phoenix: Identification and Prevention

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Spiders are one of the most abundant pests that homeowners have to deal with all year-round across the country. In the Phoenix, AZ area, the most common types of spiders that may be in your home or business are black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders, wolf spiders, and Southern house spiders. This guide will help you identify these spiders and provide prevention tips that you can use on your own.

Black Widow Spider

The black widow spider is arguably the most well known and feared spider in the United States. Believe it or not, they aren’t a problem that’s unique to the Phoenix, AZ, area. Black widow spiders exist throughout the country with widespread infestations. Do you think you’ve found a black widow spider in your house? The easiest way to narrow it down is by their black color with a red hourglass shape on their abdomen. These are the females, which are the ones you need to watch out for. The males are much smaller than the females and harmless. It’s easy to spot the females from afar, which is what we suggest that you do. Black widow spiders are feared for a reason. Along with the brown recluse spider, the black widow spider is venomous and abundant. They live alone within large webs in the dark, low-lying areas such as in garages, sheds, wood piles, and dark closets.

Brown Recluse Spider

Brown recluse spiders are another dangerous type of spider that can live in homes and commercial structures throughout the Valley. They are light brown/tan with legs measuring 1-1.5 inches. The chances of encountering a brown recluse spider are relatively low due to their solitary nature. Brown recluse spiders do not want to be found, so they do not actively seek out interactions with humans. They create webs in undisturbed areas such as attics, amongst clutter, in sheds, and leaf litter. If you find a brown recluse spider in your home, do not handle them as they are venomous and highly dangerous.

Wolf Spider

Wolf Spider

Female wolf spiders are 3/8 – 1 3/8 inches long, and males are 1/4 – ¾ inches long. They are almost as large as tarantulas, which is why many humans find them frightening. Because they are master hunters, wolf spiders will hide in places such as under chairs and tables when in the home. If they wander indoors, they are likely to remain indoors due to the lack of competition and potential abundance of nutrients. You will know that you have wolf spiders in your home when you physically see them. The fact that they are very large and move quickly makes them easily visible and sometimes scary. Wolf spiders that are found indoors have likely wandered in by mistake. They prefer to live outdoors in places that they can hide until they become active at night. Common places to find wolf spiders around your home include on or under wood piles, and stones, and on the ground floor of homes frequently hiding under furniture and other covered areas. Some even create tunnels in the ground or take over empty tunnels created by other animals as a place for their retreat. Other wolf spiders do not live in tunnels but instead, wander around.

Southern House Spider

Southern House Spider

A common spider that dwells in many Phoenix area households is appropriately named the “Southern house spider.” Commonly mistaken for a brown recluse spider, house spiders are just as large but much less dangerous. If they find their way indoors, common living spaces are tucked away in small cracks and crevices, among clutter, and secluded corners. They are especially prevalent in older buildings in the Phoenix area due to the vulnerabilities that exist in aging structures.

Why Do I Have Spiders in My House?

Spiders enter homes through impossibly small cracks and crevices in the foundation of your home, gaps under garage and shed doors, cracked or torn windows and screening, or any other small inconspicuous opening. A large majority of homes have spider infestations simply because there are too many entry points around the home to identify and seal. Spiders prefer dark, secluded spaces with the least amount of foot traffic. This is why you’ll find them in attics, detached sheds, and other spaces that are used the least in your home.

Why Should I Be Concerned with Spiders?

The venom of a black widow or brown recluse spider is a great cause for concern. Bites typically result in muscle cramps, vomiting, and severe pain around the bite mark, breathing troubles, and swelling. It’s highly unlikely that a black widow spider bite will result in death. Brown recluse spiders can truly cause humans harm. If you are bitten by a brown recluse spider, it might not even hurt. Marks show up within a few days after the bite has occurred, as the venom begins destroying tissue. According to the National Capital Poison Center, “Necrosis or tissue death is identified when the tissue becomes black in color and forms a crust that eventually falls off. The venom can penetrate deeper into the tissues, sometimes affecting the fat and muscles. Often, the bite of a brown recluse spider leaves a crater-like scar after it has healed completely.”

If a wolf spider has bitten you, there is no immediate cause for concern. Most people bitten by wolf spiders liken the pain to that of a bee sting. The skin around the bite will show redness and swelling. Although they are technically considered to be venomous, their venom is intended for prey, not humans. Therefore their venom is not lethal and will not cause negative health effects. If you are someone who is allergic to spider bites in general, wolf spider bites can cause a trigger of these reactions. Southern house spiders are also relatively harmless. Their bites don’t pose significant health complications for the large majority of those who have been bitten.

Black widow, brown recluse, wolf, and Southern house spiders are not inherently aggressive and avoid human interactions, so the best way to prevent bites is to avoid handling them.

How Can I Prevent Spiders from Entering My Home?

Although you will still see the occasional spider, there are lots of things that you can do to make your home less inviting to spiders. Make sure to keep all vegetation, woodpiles, and clutter away from the foundation of your home because they are all ideal spider environments. Also, avoid the use of landscaping materials such as riverbed rock as the rounded rocks create a cool, damp environment that is favorable to the sorts of insects that spiders often eat. Switching to yellow (sodium vapor) lights can also reduce the number of insects attracted to your home. Lastly, you will want to keep your home as well sealed and free of moisture as possible. Accordingly, you will want to seal up gaps around windows and doors and any other entry points or cracks.

How Does SOS Exterminating Get Rid of Spiders?

SOS Exterminating can get rid of the spiders in your home with our specialized services. Call us or fill out the form on this page to set up a free spider inspection at your home!

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