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Common Spiders in Pennsylvania

So Many Spiders

There are about 3,000 species of spiders in the United States, but only a handful are medically important. The two we hear most about are the brown recluse and the black widow.

While we have native black widows in the states, they are not all that common. You are more likely to come in contact with a black widow from outside the state when it is tucked inside a box that is shipped in from a state that has these spiders in abundance.

The same is true of the brown recluse. While we have no indigenous populations of brown recluse in Pennsylvania and these spiders are unable to live in our state, they can still be an issue when shipped in. Brown recluse and black widow spiders are both prone to hiding in boxes, stored items, construction materials, and other things that are shipped across state lines. What spiders are common in Pennsylvania?


Wolf Spiders

The most notable spider found in Pennsylvania is the wolf spider. While the venom of a wolf spider does not cause necrosis, like that of the brown recluse, a bite from this spider can be painful and can lead to swelling. In rare cases of allergic reactions, a bite may cause nausea, dizziness, and rapid pulse.

Wolf spiders may not be a dangerous spider, but it is important to understand that these spiders are known for tracking and attacking their prey, rather than waiting for that prey to land or crawl into their web. They are also known for having great vision. These two characteristics make wolf spiders an undesirable spider to have around.

There are 13 genera of wolf spiders in the United States. Within the genus Hogna alone, there are several species. Hogna carolinensis and Hogna aspersa are the two most commonly found in Pennsylvania homes.

H. carolinensis can be from 18 to 35 millimeters in length and are dark brown with gray hairs mixed in. There is no discernible hair pattern associated with this species of spider. H. aspersa ranges from 16 to 25 millimeters in length and is distinguishable by the narrow line of yellow hairs on its carapace near its eyes. Spiders in the genus Hogna dig tunnels or use the tunnels made by other animals. If you are out in the garden and notice a hole, it might be a good idea to steer clear of it or fill it in.

Common House Spiders

While there are several spiders that are considered common house spiders, only one bears the name “common house spider” around the world. It is Parasteatoda Tepidariorum, or the American house spider. As you may have guessed from the name, this is the most common spider you’re going to find in your house. This is because your house offers these spiders the perfect environment and abundant food resources.

These spiders are quite small, measuring in at a length of 5-8 mm. They are brown to light tan with shiny skin and noticeable dark brown stripes on their tan legs which give them a sort of candy cane look. The abdomen of this spider is twice the size of its carapace and bulbous in shape.

Common house spiders can bite and leave a red, itchy welt; but their bite is not medically important. They are also not a spider that hunts for prey. Parasteatoda Tepidariorum will maintain several webs and go from one to another in search of trapped food. If you find these webs in the corner of a room, use a broom to sweep them down. This can deter these spiders from coming out into the common areas of your home and can help you to determine how active they are.

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