Late Spring Spiders Common but Not Dangerous
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We’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about spiders hanging around and coming inside homes lately. Some have been mistaken for brown recluses (Loxosceles reclusa) despite this species being extremely rare in the state. Other spiders are active and a bit too fast for people’s liking.
Several people have submitted images of nursery web spiders (Pisaurina mira). These medium to large spiders (see below) can be a bit scary due to their size and being mistaken for recluses. However they are not aggressive nor dangerous to humans. They are called nursery web spiders because the females often construct a nest made of leaves where they raise their young. They can be distinguished from recluses by their 8 eyes (6 in recluses), spiny legs (recluses have no thick spines) and patterns on the body (recluses have only a violin pattern on their “head”). More information on recluses and their ID can be found on the ReclusOrNot page at Spiderbytes.org.
The other group of spiders I’ve seen around quite a bit recently are the very active hunting spiders. There are several families, but ground spiders (Gnaphosidae) and antmimic/ground sac spiders (Corinnidae) are among the most common types encountered. They are lightning fast and may be very colorful or boldly patterned. Several species of Corinnidae are even confused for Australian red-back spiders (Australia’s black widow), though other than coloration their characteristics are very different.
If these spiders are found in the home, don’t panic: they are harmless. Simply guide them out of the house or capture them safely to set free outdoors (they will appreciate it even if they can’t show it!). One additional tidbit for those working outdoors, relating to this type of spider: their egg sacs (below) are flattened discs laid on objects, usually in hidden-away spots. I am sure someone out there came across one of these and had no idea what it was!
We’re not sure why some species become more abundant some years and not others, but this seems to be a good (or bad-for-some, I guess) year for them. Spiders are essential members of our ecosystems and are generally harmless, while being good predators of pests.