The Wolf Spider: Facts, Bites & Biology

wolf spider on white background

The wolf spider is a creature that people, understandably, tend to find unnerving. Wolf spiders are hunters; actually, they don’t even create webs.

Their namesake comes from their reputation as hunters and the misconception that wolf spiders hunt in packs – but in reality, they hunt alone. Wolf spiders are quick runners and pursue their prey.

Keep reading to learn about different kinds of wolf spiders, their bites, and when throughout the year you might more often encounter them in your home.

Types of wolf spiders

The U.S. and Canada contain more than 100 wolf spider species. Here are some examples:

Hogna carolinensis – Adult females are ⅞ to 1 ⅜ inches long and males are ¾ inches long. Hogna carolinensis is brown with gray hairs on its front section and the abdomen has a stripe. This spider typically creates a burrow in the ground and can be found throughout the U.S.

Hogna aspersa – Adult females of this species grow to ¾ inch to 1 inch long, and males are ⅝ to ¾ inches. It’s brown and the front portion has gray hairs and a line of yellow hairs in the eye area. Males’ front section is a bit lighter. The abdomen is striped. Hogna aspersa normally makes a burrow under the ground. Its geographic distribution ranges from New England and out to Nebraska.

Rabidosa rabida – Adult females grow to ⅝ to ⅞ inches long and males can be as big as 7/16 inches. The front section of its body has two dark stripes. and the abdomen has a dark stripe with light lines around it. In males, their first pair of legs is dark brown to black. This spider can be found in New England down to Florida and out to Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Rabidosa punctulata – Adult females are 7/16 to ⅝ inches long and males are ½ to ⅝ inches. This type of wolf spider’s front portion has two stripes and its abdomen has a stripe in the middle. This spider’s distribution in the U.s. ranges from New England down to Florida and as far west as the Rocky Mountains.

Wolf spider appearance

Wolf spiders have eight eyes, which you’ll find in three rows. Two big eyes look ahead, while four small eyes appear underneath. Two other medium-sized eyes are located on the sides. Naturally, they have good vision. These pests appear in brown, black, gray, orange, and yellow colors (they can be a single color but they typically have different colored marks or stripes).

wolf spider with legs slightly bent

Wolf spider bite: what you need to know

The wolf spider is venomous and its bite can be painful. People are typically not bitten by wolf spiders unless they provoke the spider. Compared to the bites of the black widow and brown recluse spider, which can produce more severe effects, the wolf spider bite is not likely to be detrimental. Still, if you have an allergic reaction or encounter severe symptoms (such as necrosis), seek medical attention immediately.

Life cycle

Wolf spider babies hatch from eggs. Interestingly, in a number of species, wolf spider spiderlings travel by riding on the female spider before they head out to live their own lives. It’s possible for their colors to change as they get older. Male wolf spiders often live no more than one year; however, some females are able to live several years. Females are commonly larger than males within a single species. Some wolf spiders are out and about when it’s daytime, but others are active at night.

What time of year do wolf spiders most commonly infest homes?

While somewhat dependent upon where you’re located in the U.S., wolf spiders are most often found in houses during the fall. This is because your home is a perfect spot to spend the winter and wolf spiders can also feed on overwintering insects.

How to get rid of wolf spiders

We recommend placing traps that are sticky, such as glue boards, in room corners to catch wolf spiders. If it’s possible to capture one that’s alive, try to release it outside. Wolf spiders eat insects and can help decrease the number of pests around your home. Not sure how to eliminate spiders from your home? Contact Ehrlich online or call 1-888-976-4649.

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