How to Identify Whether or Not a Spider Is Venomous

May 9, 2018

What has many hairy legs, dark beady eyes, spins sticky webs and crawls around creepily? Spiders, of course, and some have poisonous bites that can make you extremely sick or even kill you. But there are a number of spiders in the world that are completely harmless—they’re really more irritating than dangerous.

While having one spider in your home or business may not bother you, you do need to take action if that spider is poisonous, or if you have a spider infestation. So, how do you tell whether those eight-legged pests are a threat or not? Let’s ask a pest exterminator in WI what to look for when identifying the most common types of venomous spiders.

Black widow

The first kind of poisonous spider that comes to most people’s minds is the black widow. There are around five species of black widow spider in North America, but all are easily identifiable—for example, there’s the round, bulbous belly (bottom half) of females. Female black widows are nocturnal and prefer to hide in dark places inside and outside. And while the females are poisonous, the males, which are smaller, are usually harmless.

This spider is about the size of a quarter, and although it is identified by a red hourglass on its belly, some species of black widow sport an orange hourglass, a stripe, a dot or a series of dots. Identifying marks will depend on the age of the spider and its geographic location. Additionally, while the body is often a shiny dark black, it can also be brown, gray or another shade of black.

Watch out for spider webs that are irregular in shape, strong and silky and near the ground.

Brown recluse

Because the poisonous brown recluse spider frequents houses and other buildings, it has great potential to be dangerous to humans. They like hiding in dark places like in garages, basements and sheds, and under rocks and fallen trees. Brown recluses spin irregular webs that resemble sheets with a small on-site shelter built of a disorganized set of silky threads.

The brown recluse is easily identified by a marking on its head and back that resembles a violin, with the neck of the “violin” pointing toward its back. However, bear in mind that not all have a visible violin mark, and while typically brown in color, they can be light brown, tan or even whitish.

Hobo spider

The hobo spider is large and brown with a pattern of yellow markings on its abdomen, and it doesn’t have dark bands on its legs like other spiders do. Their webs are funnel shaped and found in holes, cracks and crevices, and they like wood stacks, brick piles and retaining walls. They can be found indoors in windowsills, near warm places, behind furniture and in between stored boxes. And although they don’t climb, they are fast runners. You may need a professional’s help, as this species of spider can be difficult to identify.

If you have a spider problem on your property and need a pest exterminator in WI, call the team at ANT’s Complete Pest Control right away!

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