Monday, November 24, 2014

Household Bugs -- Spider Identification

You're never more than 6 feet away from a spider, whether you're sitting in an office building or camping in the forest. These amazing animals have adapted so well to the plague of human development that we hardly notice they're around -- until one drops from the ceiling or shows up in the bathtub. Then we notice them big-time, and some of us run around like fools when that happens.

This post is all about the spiders that live in your basement and every other part pf your house -- and are perfectly happy to be there. It's also a plea to live and let live, but if you just have to deprive your home of its useful spiders, then please do it with a minimum of collateral damage.

This is a large tropical spider in the genus Nephila.

Spider Identification -- What Kind of Spider Is This?

Spider identification suddenly becomes critically important when you discover you have an infestation of the little guys in your home or basement. If you do find a lot of spiders in your house, or any kind of bug for that matter, do your best to catch one, and get a good look at it. You can also just take a quick photo and send it along to a doctor or emergency room to see if you should worry about it being poisonous.

This post may also help you figure out what you found. It's based on an article on HubPages that, along with several other articles, serves as a good base for figuring out which kind of insect or spider you're dealing with.

But please don't assume you have to kill all the spiders in your house -- if you did somehow wipe out all of them, you would soon notice swarms of houseflies, fruit flies, mosquitoes, clothes moths, and other pests flying around your house. Those are all the household bug pests that your spider "enemy" eats for you.
So before you decide what to do, have a look at this guide -- you just might find that you have a little, pest-eating friend in your basement.

The Black Widow and Relatives

This is the common black widow spider, Latrodectus mactans. It's found throughout most of North America.

What To Do If You Find a Black Widow

If you find a big black spider with long legs, look at the underside. Black widows almost always have a bright red mark underneath the abdomen.

Spider Identification -- Orb-Web Spiders

Orb weavers are the architectural geniuses of the spider world. These are the spiders that spin perfect circular webs -- think Charlotte's Web. These webs are perfectly designed to snare flying prey. Like most spiders, orb weaver spiders are highly successful predators.

Spider Identification -- Wolf Spiders

When I was a kid, we used to catch these big, aggressive spiders and keep them in a coffee can, feeding them crickets and flies. They live ourside, and can subdue much larger prey than themselves.

 Spider Identification -- Crab Spiders

Crab spiders do not spin webs -- they hang out on flowers or leaves, perfectly camouflaged, and wait for spmeting to come along -- a bee, butterfly, or other spider -- and then they lunge and catch the victim. These cool spiders aren't in your home, but they're worth looking for.

Spider Identification -- Grass Spiders

Grass spiders spin webs in your lawn, where they catch crickets and other prey. Sometimes they wind up in your house -- if they do, have a heart and usher them back into the world they understand.

Spider Identification -- Jumping Spider

These cool-looking guys don't spin a web. Instead, they wait for prey to come by, and then they jump many times their body length to grab their victim. You often see them on window sills. When they see you looking at them, they turn to face you, keeping you in sight. They're quick, cute, and harmless.

Jumping Spider -- These guys are SO photogenic

Spider Identification -- Recluse Spiders

Recluse spiders are sometimes found in basements and garages. They're fairly large, brown spiders with long legs. The most common identifying mark is an upside-down "violin" mark on the back of the thorax. The bites of these arachnids can turn into a spreading wound that leaves a serious scar -- it's rarely fatal, thought it does happen. If you think you have a brown recluse, take a picture and send or take it to a doctor or emergency room.

Spider Identification -- The Common House Spider

No, It's NOT a Black Widow!

This spider looks a little like a black widow, but it's harmless. These spiders eat a LOT of flies and mosquitoes, so leave them be and they'll take care of you. For free.

Spider Identification -- Daddy Long-Legs Spider

These very common spiders are harmless inhabitants of basements and dark corners. They eat lots of gnats and fruit flies.

The Spider's Web

I hope this little guide helped -- and I hope you think twice before you squash that spider in your basement.

No comments:

Post a Comment