What is a Spider?
Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia are home to a variety of different species of spiders. The most notable spiders to be found in Baltimore, Washington DC, Alexandria, and throughout our region include:
• Yellow Sac Spider: Yellow sac spiders (cheiracanthium punctorium) are small, approximately ½ inch long, fast moving, pale yellowish spiders that can be found in nearly any room throughout the home. In the fall, yellow sac spiders move indoors in large numbers and remain active for several months.
They are known for resting in silken sacs during the day and actively hunting at night for other small insects, including other spiders.
As they hunt, they often encounter humans (typically by accident) and may bite when brushed against or pinched. It is suspected that the yellow sac spider accounts for more bites on people than any other spider in the US, but thankfully their venom produces only minor, localized pain and swelling similar to a mosquito bite.
• Wolf Spider: Wolf spiders are large, hairy spiders that can grow to nearly an inch in length. These spiders live solitary lives, but do not sit quietly in webs waiting for their prey; they have been known to stalk then chase their prey for short distances. Wolf spiders are often feared by humans (due to their great size) but they seldom bite and are not considered dangerous.
• Black Widow Spider: The black widow spider makes its home in Maryland, several southern states, and has been seen as far north as Massachusetts. They are roughly ½ inch in length, appearing oily black in color, and include any number of defining reddish marks (not always in the shape of an hourglass) on the underside of the abdomen.
Black widows are generally found outdoors, preferring dark, undisturbed corners in basement window wells, barns, garages, and other structures. Although rarely resulting in death, the black widow bite is venomous. If you should uncover these spiders in and around your home, contact American Pest.
• Brown Recluse Spider: This spider is rarely seen in homes in Maryland, but may be introduced into buildings on household goods from mid and southwest states. The brown recluse body is about 1/3rd of an inch in length with long, shiny, smooth legs. The top, front of this spider is marked with a dark brown, violin-shaped design.
The back of the abdomen is tan or brown in color and bears no markings. Like the black widow spider, the bite from this spider is venomous, which in extreme cases has caused death in humans.
Brown recluse spiders prefer to live in quiet, undisturbed places and bites usually occur when humans accidentally come in contact with them while cleaning out under beds, in garages or while rummaging through boxes of old clothing.