Wall spiders are fascinating creatures that have caught the interest of many people. As their name implies, these spiders are commonly found on walls, both indoors and outdoors. They exhibit incredible adaptability to various environments, making them a prevalent species around the world. In this article, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about wall spiders to better understand their habits, features, and significance in the world of arachnids.
To start, let’s explore some of the key characteristics of wall spiders. These often-small spiders display diverse appearance and behavior across different species. From their unique hunting styles to distinct webs, wall spiders showcase an exciting range of traits that are sure to intrigue you. Additionally, we will provide examples of noteworthy species to illustrate the incredible variety found within this group of spiders.
Lastly, we’ll discuss some pros and cons of having wall spiders around your home. While they may provide some benefits like pest control, there are certain drawbacks to consider as well. By examining these factors, you will gain valuable insights into the intriguing world of wall spiders, ultimately fueling your appreciation and knowledge of these remarkable eight-legged creatures.
Understanding Wall Spiders
Wall spiders are a group of small spiders that can often be found in and around human dwellings. They belong to the larger family of spider species, with over 40,000 identified spider species worldwide. To help you identify wall spiders from the rest, let’s look at their appearance, behavior, and some common examples.
You may notice them on walls, ceilings, and corners of your home, spinning their small and irregularly-shaped webs for catching prey. Wall spiders are generally small in size, which makes them inconspicuous and easy to overlook. Their appearance can vary depending on the specific species, but they usually have a small body and long legs. Some common examples of wall spiders are the Yellow Sac spider and the Filistatid spiders.
To identify wall spiders, pay attention to their distinctive characteristics:
- Small body size
- Long legs
- Irregularly-shaped webs
- Found on walls, ceilings, and corners
- Often live close to human dwellings
Another way to identify spider species is by closely examining the shape of their abdomen and other physical traits, as these can help you narrow down your focus to a specific group of spiders, like fishing or nursery web spiders.
When identifying wall spiders in your home, remember to be gentle and cautious. Most of them are harmless to humans, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution, as some spider species can be venomous. If you’re unsure, it’s better to consult an expert or use a reliable online reference for accurate identification.
Now that you have a basic understanding of wall spiders, you can better appreciate the role these little creatures play in our ecosystem. Just remember to treat them with care and respect their space.
Habitat and Behavior
Wall spiders can often be found indoors, where they choose to reside close to walls and corners. They are commonly seen around:
- ceilings: They build their webs in the high corners of a room
- windows: They love the extra light and temperature fluctuations
- attics, closets, and shoes: These dark, undisturbed spaces provide plenty of hiding spots
Wall spiders are known to be wanderers, so you might catch them during daytime hours roaming around your home. They favor spaces with stable temperatures and humidity levels, so you might also find them in cellars where cellar spiders tend to reside.
These spiders are also prevalent outdoors, where they build their webs in a variety of locations such as:
- eaves: offering shelter and protected spaces
- leaves: creating easier access to their prey
- cracks and crevices: providing small hiding spots
- stones, debris, and wood piles: offering opportunities for cover and warmth
Wall spiders are more likely to be active during the day, preferring to remain undisturbed during colder temperatures. As they can jump short distances, don’t be surprised if you see them leaping from one spot to another in their pursuit of food or shelter.
Diet and Hunting Strategy
Wall spiders rely on their webs to catch their prey. As a hunter, they are quite efficient, utilizing a unique strategy to secure their food source.
These spiders usually prey on ants and other small insects. They spin their silk webs close to the ground, where ants are likely to walk or crawl around. The unique aspect of a wall spider’s web is its versatility, allowing it to stretch and adapt to different surfaces.
For example, wall spiders are known to construct their webs:
- On tree trunks
- On walls of buildings
- Along the edges of sidewalks
By placing their webs strategically, they increase their chances of capturing potential prey. Once an ant or other small insect gets trapped in the web, the wall spider quickly moves in to immobilize it with venom and wrap it in silk for later consumption.
When comparing wall spiders to other spider species, they are adept in adapting the structure of their webs to maximize their hunting success.
Types of Wall Spiders
Black Widow Spiders
The Black Widow Spider is easily recognizable by its dark color and the red hourglass marking on its abdomen. These spiders are generally found in dark, undisturbed areas such as corners or basements.
- Color: Dark with red hourglass marking
- Size: Around 1.5 inch (including legs)
Brown Recluse Spiders
Brown Recluse Spiders have a distinctive violin-shaped marking on their cephalothorax and six eyes arranged in pairs.
- Color: Dark brown to light brown
- Size: 0.24 to 0.79 inch (body length)
Jumping Spiders are the most active hunters among wall spiders. They are commonly found near windows or other well-lit areas, as they rely on their excellent vision.
- Color: Varies, typically black or dark brown with white or orange markings
- Size: 0.12 to 0.79 inch (body length)
Wolf Spiders are fast, nocturnal hunters that do not build webs but instead use their speed and agility to capture prey.
- Color: Brown or gray with dark markings
- Size: 0.24 to 1.38 inch (body length)
- Hobo Spider
- Color: Brown with a V-shaped pattern
- Size: 0.31 to 0.7 inch (body length)
- Yellow Sac Spider
- Color: Yellow, white, or greenish
- Size: 0.25 to 0.5 inch (body length)
- American House Spider
- Color: Brown with lighter markings
- Size: 0.12 to 0.24 inch (body length)
Remember, spiders can be beneficial as they help control insect populations in your home. However, some may pose risks due to their venom. It’s essential to know how to identify these spiders and take precautions when handling them.
Reproduction and Lifecycle
In the world of wall spiders, reproduction is an essential part of their life cycle. Let’s explore how males and females interact to create new life, and how eggs are handled in this process.
When it’s time to mate, male wall spiders search for female partners. Once they find a potential mate, they engage in courtship rituals to attract the female. Successfully attracting a female is crucial, as the process helps avoid being mistaken for prey.
In some species, the male wall spider transfers sperm to the female by depositing it on a small silk mat. He then uses his pedipalps to insert the sperm into her reproductive opening. This process ensures the fertilization of her eggs.
Once the eggs are fertilized, the female creates an egg sac using her silk. This sac provides a secure environment for her offspring to develop in. Typically, she attaches the sac to a hidden spot on a wall or other structure, ensuring they are safe from predators. Here are some key features of wall spider reproduction:
- Males engage in courtship rituals to attract females
- Sperm transfer often occurs via a silk mat
- Females create secure egg sacs for their offspring
After the eggs develop and hatch within the sac, tiny spiderlings emerge. These baby spiders face many challenges, such as finding food and shelter while avoiding predators. As they grow, they molt their exoskeletons to accommodate their increasing size. Once they reach adulthood, the cycle begins anew, and these spiders play their part in the intricate dance of reproduction and life.
Remember to appreciate the fascinating world of wall spiders, their reproductive processes, and the delicate balance of their life cycle. By understanding these creatures better, you can gain a greater appreciation for the natural world and its wonders.
Bite Symptoms and Treatments
Wall spiders are typically not aggressive towards humans unless disturbed. If you accidentally disturb one, for example, by putting on a shoe with a spider inside, there is a risk of being bitten. Although not highly venomous, wall spider bites can cause pain, swelling, and sometimes nausea. If you experience these symptoms after a bite, it’s essential to seek treatment. Here’s what you can do:
- Clean the bite area with soap and water.
- Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers for pain relief.
- Consult a medical professional if symptoms worsen or persist.
Prevention and Pest Control
To minimize your interactions with wall spiders and prevent them from entering your home, simple steps can be taken:
- Seal cracks and gaps around windows, doors, and walls.
- Keep your home clean and decluttered.
- Store shoes and clothing off the floor.
- Regularly vacuum in corners, under furniture, and other hiding spots.
For more effective pest control, consider engaging a professional exterminator. They can assess your situation and apply appropriate treatments to keep wall spiders at bay. With their expertise, your home can become a less welcoming environment for wall spiders, protecting you and your family from potential bites. Remember, prevention is key, and maintaining a clean and sealed home is the best way to minimize human interaction with wall spiders.
Wall Spider Myths and Facts
You might have heard some myths about wall spiders, so let’s separate fact from fiction. Despite their somewhat scary appearance, wall spiders are mostly harmless to humans. They are beneficial to have around your home, as they help control insect populations.
Myth: Wall spiders are aggressive and dangerous to humans.
Fact: Wall spiders are generally shy and will more likely run away than attack you. These spiders will only bite in self-defense, and their venom is not dangerous to humans.
Myth: Wall spiders are an indicator of poor hygiene or a dirty home.
Fact: The presence of wall spiders in your home simply means they have found a suitable environment with plenty of food (insects) to survive. Keeping a clean home can deter some pests, but wall spiders can still be present even in well-kept houses. Remember, they are there to help control those pesky insects!
Here’s a comparison table to give you some key differences between wall spiders and their popular cousin, the black widow spider:
|Wall Spider||Black Widow Spider|
|Mostly harmless||Venomous and dangerous|
|Shy and non-aggressive||Can be aggressive|
|Commonly found indoors||Prefers outdoor habitats|
As a guide to recognizing wall spiders, here are some of their features:
- Small body size, usually less than half an inch in length
- Typically brown or gray in color
- Often found on walls, ceilings, and corners around your home
Overall, it’s important to remember that wall spiders are not something to fear. They serve a purpose in the ecosystem and can actually be beneficial to have around. Embrace your friendly wall-dwelling friends and let them help you keep your home insect-free!
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Wall Spiders
Subject: I noticed you didn’t have any Oecobius sp. (wall spider) pictures
Location: Houston area, but they are pretty widespread
September 16, 2013 8:16 pm
These are pretty small spiders, so there is a chance nobody has noticed them to be identified.
Here are the pictures (I had to resize them, they were too big)
#1 is probably a female
#2 is a male
Signature: The giant cookie
Dear The giant cookie,
Thank you so much for bringing this gap in our coverage to our attention. We have created a Wall Spiders subcategory just to house your posting. According to BugGuide, they are found near: “houses, stucco walls, under bark on trees and grape vines, rocks.” Perhaps only negligent housekeepers who rarely dust, like our editorial staff, are the only folks who would notice Wall Spiders in the home. We have been aware of them for years because it seems they are among the only creatures in Los Angeles that feed upon the invasive Argentine Ants, though the ant population far exceeds the spider population. Wall Spiders often create lairs in crevices around windows, and in seldom disturbed corners of rooms. We are thrilled with your excellent photos of this often overlooked Wall Spider.
Letter 2 – What's That Spider??? A Wall Spider
Subject: Strange spider
Location: Danilovgrad, Montenegro, Europe
December 10, 2012 9:39 am
I found this spider last summer, it’s about 2-2.5 cm long (with legs), and is often found of ceilings outside the houses. I never saw them inside the house. During the day, it’s dormant in some kind of web sac (as seen on image). Is it some species of ladybird spiders?
The five yellow spots and the pronounced spinnerets at the tip of the abdomen are distinguishing features that should make this spider easy to identify. We do not believe it is a Ladybird Spider, but we do suspect it is some type of hunting spider, meaning it does not build a web to snare prey. We will post your photo and we hope to have an identification soon.
Thanks! Now when I know the latin name, it was not hard to find some more information about the spider. It’s common Mediterranean species, although, at least in Danilovgrad, that’s not the case. Maybe because of somewhat colder weather during winter than in coastal area.
Letter 3 – Possibly Wall Spider
Subject: Mysterious insect or arachnid
Geographic location of the bug: Orange county, CA
Time: 06:36 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hello! I found a dead bug today and it is very very small, the pictures I took are through a basic magnifying glass with my cell phone. What is throwing me off about this guy is that it looks a lot like a little spider, but from what I can tell, it’s only got 6 legs. It’s too small for me to really thoroughly inspect it (which is really bugging me!), but with some tweezers I can tell that it’s kind of flat like an unfed tick, and the pincer-looking things might be curled antennae. Thank you!
How you want your letter signed: Emily
Did you find this creature indoors, possibly on a window sill? Though your image clearly illustrates scale thanks to the inclusion of a penny, it is difficult to make out any details. We believe this might be a Wall Spider in the genus Oecobius. BugGuide has some detailed images for comparison.
Letter 4 – Wall Spider, we believe
Subject: Please put this lady’s mind at ease: what is this??
March 8, 2015 2:00 pm
my gut says not bed bugs because of length of legs compared to body. With the naked eye, they look like baby spiderlings of sorts but since I once gad bed bugs before, and have found a few of these in various parts of my house (closet wall joints, of crawling across wall), that anxiety kicks in again. But since able to take pupcs and then zoo. In and crop, I can see a little better but would like to have someone
Tell me WHAT they are. The following is a pic of one bug at different angle that I put on clear tale and in a Baggie. Please confirm not a bv, and if you can, tell me what it is. It would put a nervous lady’s mind at ease. Thanks so much!
Signature: damsel in distress
Dear Damsel in Distress,
We believe this is a Wall Spider, Oecobius annulipes. According to the Arizonensis site: “This is probably the most abundant of house spiders in the southwestern United States. Full grown they are 3 mm or less in length … too small to bite through human skin. Their webs are positioned in corners and along window sills where they catch minute crawling or flying insects. The webs readily gather dust and are the bane of fastidiuous housekeepers. The can also be found on outside walls and on surfaces of boulders in more natural habitats.” BugGuide notes the scientific name a Oecobius navus and states: “Cosmopolitan/Pantropical; a highly synanthropic, non-native species. Shear (1970) examined specimens from all over the world and found very little variation, and there is little evidence as to the point of origin.” According to BugGuide, there are reported sightings in Maryland.