The females usually range from 5 to 6 mm long. The males are smaller than the females and range from 3.8 to 4.7 mm in length.
Dirty white to almost black. The cephalothorax is yellow brown and the legs are light yellow with brown or gray rings at the ends and middle of the joints.
The house spider builds large webs in the corners of rooms, under furniture, in angles between fences, and often between stones. They usually take advantage of the space that is going to provide them with the most abundant amount of prey. They can be found during any season.
The house spider has a few behavioral characteristics that are not common of all spiders. Many of these have to do with the structure of the web. One part of the spider's web is woven more closely than the rest of the web. This part is also covered with an extra layer of silk, adding stability. The house spider stands in this part of the web but does not construct a tent-like structure as many spiders do. When the web is constructed in open spaces the spider will often carry a small piece of leaf into the web under which it hides.
The house spider builds its web in the dark, taking advantage of every angle where insects might be caught. The webs of young spiders are much more regular than those of the adults. These irregular tangle webs are made of sticky strands that catch dust and prey. These webs are commonly found in houses and are usually referred to as cobwebs.
Like all spiders, house spiders are predators that will kill and eat almost any insect.
House Spider Prevention Tips
- Install tight-fitting screens on windows and doors; also install weather stripping and door sweeps.
- Seal or caulk cracks and crevices where spiders can enter the house.
- Equip vents in soffits, foundations, and roof gables with tight-fitting screens.
- Install yellow or sodium vapor light bulbs outdoors since these attract fewer insects for spiders to feed upon.
- Many web-making spiders set up residence near lights that remains on at night. Locate such lights away from the house or turn them off when not needed. Tape the edges of cardboard boxes to prevent spider entry.
- Use plastic bags (sealed) to store loose items in the garage, basement, and attic.
- Remove trash, old boxes, old clothing, wood piles, rock piles, and other unwanted items.
- Eliminate clutter in closets, basements, attics, garages, and outbuildings.
- Store items off the floor and away from walls in basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages, and outbuildings in order to reduce spider harborage sites.
- Eliminate household pests (prey) such as flies, ants, and cockroaches that attract spiders.
- Do not stack wood against the house.
- Remove heavy vegetation and leaf litter around the foundation.
- Wash spider webs off the outside of the house using a high-pressure hose.
- Capture the spider and release it outdoors. An effective technique for capturing hunting spiders is to place a cup over the spider and then slide a piece of paper underneath to entrap it.
- Dust and vacuum thoroughly to remove spiders, webs, and egg sacs (dispose of the vacuum bag in a container outdoors).
- Outdoors, use a water hose or broom to regularly destroy any webs that are constructed on or around the house. Spiders often move elsewhere when their webs are regularly destroyed.
- Use a rolled up newspaper or fly swatter to kill individual spiders.
- Use sticky traps or glue boards to entangle spiders
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