How to Contain Them to Halloween Decorations This Year
Halloween is over, but for some people, the “haunted house” look is doing its best to stick around in the form of uninvited spiders.
Spiders can be very beneficial in moderation because they eat bugs that could otherwise damage your plants, your enjoyment of your yard, or even your health.
But if they get into your house – or, Heaven forbid, your clothing – they can be creepy, unpleasant or even dangerous, depending on the species. There’s also a chance that an egg sac could hatch inside your home, covering the area in tiny eight-legged babies.
In this article, we’ll help you to identify some of the common spiders found in Pennsylvania, particularly the ones that bite, and to keep them from taking up residence inside your home.
What are some of the most common PA spiders?
While almost any kind of spider could be imported into your house along with other goods, spiders that are commonly found in PA include:
- Grass spiders
- Common house spiders
- Orb weavers
- Crab spiders
- Sac spiders
- Black widows
- Wolf spiders
- Green lynx spiders
How do you identify these PA spiders?
When it comes to managing spiders, your first step is to know what kind of spider you’re dealing with.
Here’s how to identify some of the main groups of spiders in Pennsylvania:
Grass spiders spin non-sticky, sheet-like webs with funnels extending off to one side. These brown spiders, which can be identified by the two darker brown stripes running from the front of their head to the forward edge of their abdomen, hide in their funnels until prey tries to cross the web.
Grass spiders are non-aggressive, which is fortunate, because the cold often drives them indoors as autumn turns to winter.
They can be confused with wolf spiders, some of which share their lengthwise brown stripes. You can tell them apart by looking at the eyes; wolf spiders have three rows of eyes, with the middle eyes being much larger than the top and bottom ones, whereas grass spiders have two rows of smaller eyes that are all about the same size.
Common house spiders
These spiders are shaped like black widows, with large abdomens that dwarf their cephalothorax and legs that protrude upward from their bodies.
They can be distinguished from black widows by their brown coloring and their smaller size. Excluding the legs, female common house spiders range from 0.2 inches to 0.35 inches long, while adults are just under 0.2 inches.
Black widow females, on the other hand, and 1.5 inches long, while the males are about half that size.
Common house spiders also lay teardrop-shaped, papery brown egg sacs, which can help you to identify them.
Orb weavers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors, but they can be identified by webs that consist of non-sticky spokes radiating out from the center, with a spiral of sticky material swirling across its surface.
They are generally nonaggressive, and on the occasions when they do bite, their venom isn’t strong enough to pose a real threat.
Crab spiders have short, squat bodies, with legs that stick out to the sides. The front two pairs of legs are considerably larger than the back two pairs, giving them a crab-like appearance.
Pennsylvania is home to a variety of sac spiders, including the broad-faced and agrarian varieties, ranging in size from 0.16 inches to 0.4 inches.
While there is some variation in appearance from one species to another, their legs are longer than their bodies, they have eight eyes, and their cephalothoraxes are darker than their abdomens.
Black widows are some of the world’s most recognizable spiders, with black bodies, legs that stick upward before angling down, and a distinctive red hourglass-shaped mark on the bottoms of their bulbous abdomens.
These spiders are hairy, stocky creatures that range in size from 1.3 inches to 0.75 inches long. They don’t spin webs, but instead hunt prey like wolves.
They are grey or brown, have three large claws at the end of each leg, and are much more likely to be found on the ground than most web-weaving spiders.
Green lynx spiders
These bright green, translucent spiders have rows of small red spots and a red patch between the eyes. Their legs are long, thin, and lined with rows of black spikes.
Which types of PA spiders are likely to bite, and what symptoms do they cause?
While spiders are not prone to bite for the sake of biting, they will use their fangs to defend themselves if they’re handled, trapped in clothing, or otherwise feel threatened.
Many spiders are incapable of biting humans because their fangs simply aren’t large or strong enough to penetrate our skin, but there are a few spiders in Pennsylvania that can bite humans.
Here are the types of spiders that are able to bite, and the symptoms they cause:
These nocturnal predators are not very venomous, but they can cause redness, pain, itchiness, and swelling.
If you have an allergic reaction to a wolf spider bite, you might also experience nausea, dizziness and a rapid pulse.
Sac spiders are known for biting repeatedly as they crawl across human skin, and their painful bites are prone to infection.
They can cause erythema, edema and severe itching, and people who react more severely might also experience malaise, muscle cramps, nausea and a fever, as well as necrotic lesions and ulceration.
Southern black widows
Black widows can cause chills, nausea, muscle aches that start near the bite and spread, and breathing problems, as well as sweating, severe high blood pressure and vomiting.
You might also experience stupor, restlessness, headaches or shock, and severe pain in your belly, chest, back, and head.
House spider bites can cause pain around the site of the wound, swelling, tissue hardening that resembles a mosquito bite, blistering, and a bulls-eye rash that can appear nearly three weeks after the bite.
More serious reactions can include severe headaches that are immune to pain relievers, nausea, a dry mouth, lethargy, weakness, double vision, hallucinations, joint pain, and blurred vision.
Some house spider victims experience trouble breathing, a rapid heart rate, sweating, increased salivation, a fever, pain the chest and abdomen, and a reduction in blood pressure that can lead to dizziness or fainting.
Green lynx spiders
These spiders’ bites are extremely painful, and the resulting itching can cause edema, or swelling, in an area 7-10 inches in diameter around the bite.
If you believe you have been bitten by a potentially dangerous spider, put ice on the bite to reduce blood flow and slow the venom’s circulation through your body, wash the site to help prevent infection, and consult your physician immediately.
How do you keep PA spiders from getting into your house or biting you?
Check all of your groceries, parcels, kids, and pets before bringing them inside.
You never know who or what might have picked up a hitchhiker. This is especially important when acquiring fruit imported from countries that have dangerous spiders.
Don’t leave piles of wood, leaves or other clutter next to your house.
Spiders and other pests often hide in such locations, which encourages them to spread to your house as the weather cools, so it’s best to keep them at least 20 feet away from the building.
Don’t paw around in these piles with your bare hands, as you might scare a spider into biting.
Check your clothing and shake it out before putting it on, and avoid leaving it on the floor.
I recently heard from a woman who got dressed, shuffled to the bathroom, pulled down her pants, and found a spider in her panties! Needless to say, her clothes no longer stay on the floor while she sleeps.
Seal up your house.
Making sure that any cracks in your walls or foundations are sealed, gaps around your doors and windows are plugged with weather stripping, and holes in your screens are repaired will help to prevent spiders from sneaking into your house.
Want to keep your house spider-free this winter?
If you want to be able to put on your clothes without worrying about spiders in your underwear, visit this page to get a free inspection and quote from our pest control experts today!