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How to identify which type of spider may be in your home or place of business

Apr 4, 2022

Spiders may be scary, but they are helpful members of our ecosystem. They play a vital role in eliminating other pests, so you don’t want to kill all spiders just because they might seem gross or creepy. In Arkansas and Oklahoma, most spiders are either jumping spiders, wolf spiders, orb weavers, and ground spiders. All of these kinds of spiders can be found throughout residential, forested, field, and farm settings. Most of these spiders are harmless to humans, but a few can be venomous and pose a risk to the safety of your family or other people who might come in contact with the spider. It is very important to identify which type of spider may be in your home or place of business, so that you can make an informed decision regarding whether you should get rid of the spider(s) for safety reasons or allow the spider to stay in place to do its job–eating other, likely more troublesome pests.

Here’s how to identify which type of spider may be in your home or place of business:

Look at its physical characteristics.

Getting a good look at a spider can go a long way toward helping you identify what kind it is. For example, it is well known that a black widow spider will appear as a large spider with a rounded body and pointy legs, shiny black all over, with a red hourglass shape on her abdomen. Another easy to spot spider is the orb weaver, a very common residential spider who is easy to see because it is usually brightly colored with striking markings and a large, long-legged size. Jumping spiders often have a hairy, squatty body, with a fairly small size, and bright green fangs which make them easy to identify.

Consider where you found the spider.

One venomous and dangerous spider, the brown recluse, is rarely found out in the open, but instead is typically found hiding in a dark corner in a garage or attic. Orb spiders are often found hanging in their large webs, which tend to be in easy to see places such as near doors or windows of a building. Making a mental note of where you found the spider is a good way to gather useful information that will help you identify what type of spider it is.

If possible, inspect the spider’s web or dwelling.

The spider’s web or dwelling is another key piece of information that you should observe, if possible, when you are seeking to identify a spider’s type. A funnel weaver, or grass spider, is a harmless spider that forms a distinctive, funnel-shaped web that almost looks like it was spun from fine, thin strands of cotton candy, making a funnel shape. These spiders can wander inside but are not harmful or aggressive in any way and do not need to be killed. Instead, you can remove them gently with a cup and a piece of junk mail, simply by gently placing the cup over the spider and very slowly sliding the mail underneath the cup, being careful not to pinch or tear the spider’s legs. It is best to relocate harmless spiders whenever possible back to an outdoor setting where they can get back to doing their job of helping our ecosystem remain balanced.

If you aren’t sure whether the spiders you have found are dangerous or not, you can always contact West Termite, Pest & Lawn for a consultation. We will be happy to evaluate your property and work with you to safely remove any harmful pests. Call us today!

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