The Top 3 Spiders

Hobo, Black Widow, Wolf Spider

Hobo spider
Hobo spider. Photo by Dr_Lee_Ostrom

Different spider species make their homes in different regions of the U.S., but there are some that are found across many different areas of the country. To provide a look at some of the most common arachnids – which also includes ticks and mites – Utah State University’s Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab compiled a listing of the Top 20. This article and others posted in About Pest Control/Spiders provides some quick facts about these top arachnids, along with links to more information on the spiders and spider control.

The Top 3 Spiders

1. Funnel Web – or Hobo –  Spiders

One of three venomous spiders of the U.S., the hobo spider is most commonly found throughout the Pacific Northwest. With a large body, of about ½ inch, it can be most easily identified by its short-haired legs without dark-colored bands. This spider builds funnel-shaped webs and can run very fast. Although not usually aggressive, it can attack or bite if it feels threatened. To control these spiders, and keep them out of the home, keep wood, debris, and vegetation away from the house and ensure all windows and doors are well sealed, and caulk cracks and gaps. If found, the spiders can be vacuumed up, or glue traps placed near the web. To protect yourself, wear gloves and protective clothing in potentially infested areas. Read more about the Hobo Spider and its Control.

2. Cobweb Spiders (Black Widow)

The Black Widow is one of the most dangerous spiders of the U.S., as its bite can be deadly to those are most susceptible, especially young children and seniors.

Because these spiders spend most of their time in their webs, people are most likely to be bitten when they accidentally come in contact with the web, such as when cleaning out a garage or attic, etc. The female of this species is about ½ inch, and it is commonly identified by the red hourglass marking on its underside.

However, this mark is sometimes more yellowish and is not always easily identifiable. The black widow is not aggressive toward humans, but it will bite in defense – and the bit is distinguished by two puncture marks from its fangs. Because a bite from a black widow can be very dangerous, emergency medical attention should be sought. Read more about the Black Widow Spider and its Control.

3. Wolf Spiders (Lycosidae)

Wolf spiders are so named because, like wolves, they are hunters; and like hunters, they “stalk, ambush, pounce, and capture prey.” With about 125 wolf spider species in the U.S., one species or another can be found in most areas. Although it is thought to be very dangerous, its bite is not actually lethal. It is quite a large spider, with a body extending up to 2 inches; although it has 8 legs, like all spiders, it can appear to have 10 because of the 2 tiny appendages that stick out the front. This spider does not hide out in a web but is generally on open ground – hunting, or it may be harboring under leaf litter or within firewood. To control the wolf spider, it is necessary to directly contact it with a pesticide labeled for use against this spider, capturing it on a glue board – or simply excluding its entry in the first place by sealing cracks and gaps around the home.

Read more about Control of the Wolf Spider.

The Top 20 Arachnids

The remaining 17 of the top 20 arachnids as listed by Utah State, are:

  1. Web-Spinning Spider Mites
  2. Eriophyid Mites (Blister/Rust/Gall Mites)
  3. Orb-Weaving Spiders (Banded Garden Spider)
  4. Ground Spiders    
  5. Sac Spiders (Yellow Sac Spider)
  6. Camel Spiders
  7. Woodlouse Spider    
  8. Jumping Spiders (Bold Jumper)
  9. Ticks (Rocky Mt. Wood Tick)
  10. Cellar Spiders
  11. Huntsman Spiders (Golden Huntsman)
  12. Pseudoscorpions
  13. Scorpions
  14. Crab Spiders
  15. Crevice Weaving Spiders
  16. Soft Ticks (Poultry Tick)
  17. Lynx Spiders

These arachnids will be covered in subsequent articles in About Pest