How To Identify Whether Your House Spiders Are Dangerous

2 min


There are approximately 3,000 types of spiders in the US, but only 60 of them are recognized as dangerous. That’s a very small number and, the even better news is that 80% of spider bites are not actually caused by spiders. 

Best of all, spiders are afraid of humans and will not bite unless they feel threatened. That’s why most spider bites happen when you reach into dark spaces, you may be startling a spider or accidentally destroying its web.

Of course, there are some dangerous ones and if you’ve seen several large spiders in your basement it’s a good idea to call your local pest control firm. You’ve probably seen Arachnophobia and know what happens when you have lots of spiders under your house! That’s why the exterminators are a good idea. 

It’s also worth noting that spiders don’t generally inject venom when they are acting in self-defense, which is when they are likely to attack you. This means that while a bite can be nasty, it is rare for them to be life-threatening. 

The good news is that there are only two dangerous venomous spiders in the US. That’s the black widow and the brown recluse. You should be aware of how to identify these two spiders and stay clear of them.

Black Widow

The Black Widows body is between 3-10mm in size, with legs that are much longer. It’s either a shiny black color or dark brown. The female black widow usually has a red or orange hourglass on her underside.

Interestingly, the female black widow has a reputation for eating their partner after mating. In reality, the male spider chooses a partner that has already fed to ensure they can escape afterward. Most cases of the female black widow eating her partner relate to when the male is unable to escape. In this case, it is done to protect the baby spiders. 

Black widow spiders generally nest near ground level in dark spaces that are usually undisturbed. That’s a place like under your desk or similar furniture in the basement. They will commonly occupy small holes that have been created by other animals. 

Brown Recluse

The Brown Recluse is generally between 6-20mm long although there have been reports of slightly larger ones. They are generally light brown in color and they have a black line on their dorsal side pointing toward their rear. It looks like a violin and earns them the nickname Fiddleback spider. 

Unfortunately, some other spiders have similar markings. The only way to be certain that you’re dealing with a Brown Recluse is to catch it and look at its eyes. Most spiders have eight eyes, the Brown Recluse has six eyes, arranged in pairs. 

The Brown Recluse typically stands with all its legs extended, making it look bigger. When threatened, it will lower its body and pull its front legs back while positioning its rear legs ready to lunge. 

Again, it is unlikely to bite, unless it feels threatened. If you proceed with caution in areas where there may be spiders you are unlikely to encounter an issue.

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