Spider Species

The majority of spiders cannot harm anyone and it is very uncommon for people to be bitten by them. To avoid any unnecessary encounters, there are a few things that you can do to ensure you keep spiders away from your home.

They are unpleasant to look at and their webs can cause a mess if they infest your home or business. From Common House Spiders to Black Widows, we can give you more information about these creatures to help you get over your fears.

Black Widow Spider

(Lactrodectus hesperus)

Black Widow Spiders

Appearance

  • Color: typically black, underneath side has 2 reddish triangular markings usually joined to form a reddish hour glass-shaped figure on females.
  • Females are overall length of 1 1/2- 1 3/8” long
  • Males are about half the size of females.

Lifecycle

  • Females can lay a maximum number of egg sacs ranging from 6-21, with about 185-464 eggs per sac.
  • Adult females can live 822-952 days and adult males 127-196 days.

Habits

  • Outdoors they commonly live in protected places.
  • Indoors, they are typically found in seldom used parts of garages, basements and in crawl spaces.

Brown Recluse Spider

(Loxosceles reclusa)

Appearance

  • 1/4 to 3/4 inch long.
  • Brown or deep yellow color.
  • Long, thin, brown legs covered with fine hairs.
  • Six eyes, arranged in pairs in a semicircle.
  • Often called ‘fiddleback’ or ‘violin’ spiders because of the violin-shaped marking on the top surface which points from the head area toward the abdomen.

Lifecycle

  • Eggs are laid primarily from May to July.
  • The female lays about 50 eggs in an off-white silky sac approx 2/3 inch diameter.
  • Spiderlings emerge around 1 month later.
  • It takes on average one year to reach the adult stage.
  • Adults can live 1-2 years.

Habits

  • Locations - They prefer secluded, dark, undisturbed sites indoors or outdoors. Indoors, they may be found in attics, basements, closets, ductwork, in storage boxes, shoes or behind furniture. Externally they may be found in barns, storage sheds, garages, under logs, loose stones and stacks of lumber.
  • Feeding - They preferring dead insects. They can survive about 6 months without food or water.
  • Visibility - The sac serves as the spider's daytime retreat. They tend to look for food at night.
  • Bite – They only bite when crushed, handled or disturbed. Both sexes are venomous. A human’s reaction to the bite depends on the amount of venom injected and an individual's sensitivity to it - some people are unaffected, others may feel a pinprick, others a stinging sensation followed by intense pain. Some may not be aware of the bite for 2 to 8 hours.

Common House Spider

Appearance

  • Adult – body length excluding legs 1/4" – 3/8". Yellow brown body with faint markings. Abdomen pale grey brown with short hairs.

Lifecycle

  • The egg sac produced by the female is spherical, covered with a layer of silk and placed within the web structure.
  • The male will mate several times with the female before dying.
  • Adults may live for several years.

Habits

  • Found in buildings, sheds and walls.
  • This spider produces a sheet web.

Cellar Spider (Daddy Long Legs)

(PHOLCUS PHALANGIOIDES)

Appearance

  • 7-9mm long
  • Characterised by having very long legs

Lifecycle

  • The female lays eggs, and may sometimes hold her eggs in her palps (short, leg like structures attached to the front of the cephalothorax, between the fangs and the first pair of legs)

Habits

  • The spin a loose web in sheltered areas, often in and around human habitation including houses, garages and sheds.
  • Apart from the nuisance of their webs, they do no harm and are non-toxic.
  • They are common in urban areas.
  • They feed on insects and other spiders.

Garden Orb-Weaving Spider

(ERIOPHORA SPP)

Appearance

  • The commonly seen Garden Orb Weavers are 1-2.5cm in length. Most are stout , reddish – brown or grey spiders with a leaf shaped pattern on their triangular abdomens.

Lifecycle

  • The female Orb Weaver lays her eggs in late summer to autumn. The eggs are encased in a fluffy cocoon and attached to foliage.
  • During autumn, the spiderlings disperse by ballooning (floating on the breeze using small silk strands as “balloons”), and build their own tiny orb webs among vegetation.
  • The lifespan is about twelve is about twelve months. They mature in summer, mate, lay their eggs, and die in late summer-autumn.

Habits

  • Make suspended, sticky, wheel – shaped orb webs.
  • Hides on foliage during day and constructs web at night.
  • Not aggressive.
  • Flying insects such as flies, beetles and bugs (including large prey like cicadas) are common prey.
  • Orb Weavers are reluctant to bite humans. Symptoms are usually negligible or mid local pain, numbness and swelling.

Harvestman Spider

(Phalangium Opilio)

Appearance

  • Adult – 1/8"– 3/8" body. The upper body surface has light grey/brown pattern, the lower surface is typically cream.

Lifecycle

  • The females lay eggs in moist soil.
  • The eggs survive through winter and hatch in the spring.
  • Only one batch of eggs is laid each year.

Habits

  • They climb tree trunks or look for food on the ground.
  • They feed on many soft bodied arthropods, including aphids, caterpillars, beetle larvae, and small slugs.

Huntsman Spider

(DELENA spp, HOLCONIA spp, NEOSPARASSUS spp, OLIOS spp)

Appearance

  • Come in a variety of colors and patterns but are mostly brown, black and grey (there are over 100 species of Huntsman spiders).
  • Some species are very large reaching over 160mm in leg span.
  • The two back pairs of legs are shorter than the ones at the front and the legs fan out sideways enabling them to walk forwards and sideways often giving them a crab-like appearance.

Lifecycle

  • The female Huntsman produces a flat, oval egg sac of whte papery silk and lays up to 200 eggs. She then places it under bark or a rock and stand guard over it, without eating, for about three weeks.
  • The appropriate time, the mother spider opens the egg sac to help her spiderlings out and she may stay with her spiderlings for several weeks.
  • The lifespan of most Huntsman species is about two years or more.

Habits

  • Huntsman spiders occur nationwide and are usually found on tree trunks, under bank, beneath stones or on the walls of houses. Some species are extremely compressed and live between the hairline cracks of sandstone and granite outcrops.
  • The huntsman eats a variety of insects, arthropods, small lizards and frogs. The prey is not captured in a web but actively stalked and run-down with stealth and speed.
  • Poisonous to humans but not fatal.

Scorpions (1100 Species)

(Scorpions)

Appearance

  • Adult -1/2" – 8". Color varies with species, from yellow to black. Easily distinguished by their pincers and a long, segmented tail bearing a stinger.

Lifecycle

  • Scorpions have a long gestation period (from 2-18 months). Each female bears 25-35 young which climb onto to the mothers back. 
  • They remain on her back for a week or two after birth. Once they climb down they are independent, and take two to six years to reach maturity. 
  • The average scorpion lives three to five years, but some species can live up to 10-15 years.

Habits

  • Most scorpions are nocturnal. 
  • As well as in hot, dry areas, scorpions are found in grasslands, savannahs, caves and deciduous / mountain pine / rain forests. 
  • Scorpion venoms affect the victim’s nervous system. Each species has a unique mixture.

Yellow Garden Spider

(ARGIOPE SPP.)

Appearance

  • This Yellow Garden Spider has a body length of 1-1.5cm and has bands across its abdomen.
  • It is famous for its zig-zag ribbons that form a full or partial cross through the center of the web.

Lifecycle

  • The female suspends its pear-shaped egg sac in a network of threads, often among leaves where the sac’s greenish silk disguises it.
  • The lifespan is about twelve months.

Habits

  • The Yellow Garden Spiders use thick zigzag bands of silk in their webs that may attract insect prey by reflecting ultra violet light.
  • They make suspended, sticky, wheel – shaped orb webs. Webs are placed in low shrubby vegetation.
  • Their prey includes flies, moths, butterflies, bugs, and bees. These are usually secured by silk wrapping into a neat parcel before being bitten.
  • This spider is not considered to be harmful to humans.

Tarantulas

(GENUS APHONOPELMA)

Appearance

  • Adult body length excluding legs – 1"- 5". Most tarantulas have black or brown hairy bodies and legs but some species exhibit striking colors.

Lifecycle

  • Mating season is in autumn. Incubation of the young takes 6-9 weeks, with each female producing 500-1000 eggs into a silken cocoon. The young leave their burrow after 2-3 weeks.
  • Life span 25-40 years.

Habits

  • There are 60+ genii and 800+ species of tarantula.
  • Tarantulas prefer to live in dry, well-drained soil where they dig a burrow which is lined with silk webbing.

Wolf Spider

(TROCHOSA RURICOLA)

Appearance

  • Adult female: 5/16"; male - 1/4". They are generally brown to grey in color.

Lifecycle

  • Wolf spider mothers carry their egg sacs around with them attached to spinnerets under the abdomen.
  • When the young spiderlings hatch, they climb onto their mother's back where they live for the first few weeks of life.

Habits

  • They hunt at night but spend the day hidden amongst moss and decaying matter. 
  • They live in a shallow burrow, with an open and unadorned entrance.