Knowing what types of spiders are found in your home is the best way to put you at ease when you see these creatures skittering underfoot or their webs expanding in corners.

Most spiders found around the home are harmless, and the few that pose a danger (black widows and brown recluses, for example) are unlikely to bite you unless you get too close and threaten them.

Commonly mistaken for insects, spiders are actually arachnids. Arachnids are land-dwelling invertebrates that have two body segments, eight legs, and no wings nor antennae. Of the 45,000 species of spiders living throughout the world, a little more than 1,000 of them live in the United States — and sometimes, they wander into our homes.

More beneficial than not, spiders are natural pest controllers that help keep living spaces free of insects, such as roaches, gnats, flies, earwigs, moths, and mosquitoes. Outdoors, they help keep bugs away from garden flowers and crops.

Let’s take a look at seven of the most common house spiders you may encounter in and around your home.

1. American house spiders

common house spider
Photo by Judy Gallagher via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

Less than an inch in size, American house spiders are brown with yellow (male) or orange (female) legs. This web-building house spider’s bite is rare and not dangerous to humans.

2. Wolf spiders

wolf spider
Photo by patrickkavanagh via Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY 2.0

Wolf spiders are brown or gray, hairy creatures that grow half an inch to 2 inches, and prefer to hang out around windows, doorways, basements, garages, and attics. Rather than spin webs, these predators crawl around at night to hunt for food. Wolf spiders are timid and choose the flight over fight response when alarmed. They are not poisonous to humans.

3. Cellar spiders

cellar spider
Photo by Ryan Hodnett via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Cellar spiders are easily recognized by their long legs and short, tan or gray-colored bodies. Cellar spiders dwell inside cellars (obviously), crawl spaces, basements, and similar environments. These arachnids can construct massive webs and are only harmful to the insects upon which they prey (so don’t worry about being bitten by cellar spiders).

4. Jumping spiders

jumping spider
Photo by Kaldari via Wikimedia Commons / CC0

Jumping spiders are outdoor dwellers that mistakenly enter homes at times, but they are not a danger to humans. With very large eyes and flat faces, these gray or black-hued creatures are about the size of a dime and don’t build webs.

5. Hobo spiders

hobo spider
Photo by Judgeking via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Hobo spiders are often mistaken for other types because of their unremarkable looks. Hobo spiders spiders are brown and have no special markings. Not naturally house spiders, hobos cannot survive for long periods inside. Their bites are not life-threatening to humans, and they’ll only bite if they feel threatened.

6. Black widow spiders

black widow spider
Photo by James Gathany for the CDC via Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

Black widows strike fear in the hearts of many, and the red, hourglass-shaped markings of the females make them easy to spot. Even so, like other spiders, black widows want to avoid contact with humans and will bite only if directly threatened. If bitten, seek medical attention immediately, as a black widow’s bites can be dangerous. Crawl spaces, mailboxes, and garages are just a few of the places black widows can be found.

7) Brown recluse spiders

brown recluse spider
Photo by the Centers for Disease Control‘s Public Health Library / Public Domain

Behind the brown recluse spider’s three pairs of eyes is a violin-shaped marking. Growing up to half an inch in length, this type of spider is found most often in properties near the Mississippi River Valley. Typically, bites from the brown recluse occur when people accidentally come into too-close contact with the spider. If a brown recluse spider bites you, seek prompt medical attention.

Now that you know what common household spiders look like, remember that if you avoid contact and don’t surprise them, you really have nothing to worry about. They may be scary, but they are usually harmless unless threatened.

If you’d rather not share your home with a few (or an infestation of spiders), home remedies (including peppermint oil), barrier sprays and pest control professionals pest control pros can keep the eight-legged invaders out.

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