California is the land of opportunity. Opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery and an opportunity for spiders! It is estimated that there are about 3 or 4 different types of spiders in California. So for those who live in California, it is essential to know what type you have to treat them properly.
The most common spider found here is a Brown Widow Spider which accounts for over 90% of the spiders found in residential areas. These small brownish-black spiderlings are not as dangerous as their more notorious cousins, but they still pack a punch with venom potent enough to cause pain and swelling if they bite someone.
Here are the six most common types of California house spiders,
- Brown Widow Spider
- Black Widow Spider
- Yellow Sac Spider
- Wolf Spider
- House Spider
- daddy-long-legs spider
Let’s look at them in deep shall we,
1. Brown Widow Spider
The brown widow is found all over the world. It is typically a dark-brown color with an orange or yellow marking on its back, which resembles an hourglass. However, the most distinguishing feature of the brown widow is the red markings with white borders along with its web. Sometimes they are referred to as “redbacks” due to their hourglass marking. These spiders are nocturnal and notoriously solitary.
They hide away in secluded places during the day, such as under furniture, behind window curtains, and behind objects that sit on the floor like bookshelves. Like other widow spiders, they will only bite when severely provoked – if accidentally touched or threatened!
2. Black Widow Spider
The hourglass-shaped red marking identifies the black widow spider on its abdomen. Females are about twice the size of males, and their venom is highly toxic. They spin webs in dry, dark places such as woodpiles, sheds, and garages. Black widows are usually not aggressive and will only bite humans if they feel threatened.
Typically, they are not aggressive unless protecting their eggs or young. However, their venom is neurotoxic and contains a potent neurotoxin that attacks the nervous system of predators. When a black widow bites you, it will be at first painful and then numb as the venom takes effect.
The only other noticeable symptom during a bite is a mild swelling around the area of the edge itself. However, depending on how much venom was delivered during the bite, they can cause muscle aches, cramping, nausea, and vomiting.
3. Yellow Sac Spider
This spider has an exciting story to go along with its name! In 1879, Doctor Henry Wilcox researched yellow sac spiders in his lab at UC Berkley when he accidentally knocked over a vial of spider venom. The spiders all escaped, and the next day, Doctor Wilcox developed a fever and died!
Yellow sac spiders get their name because they build an orb-like web of small, triangular silk wedges. They are also one of the most common types of spiders in California.
These spiders are typically yellow or light green, with a body about the size of a quarter. They are inactive during the day and spin their webs at night. These spiders will bite if provoked, but their venom is not considered harmful to humans.
4. Wolf Spider
Wolf spiders can be found throughout North America. They get their name from hunting other animals instead of building webs to catch their prey. These spiders run swiftly on their long legs and reach about one inch in body length.
Their abdomens are rounded, and the females have a noticeable white spot just behind their head region, making them easy to identify. They also have two large palps (a pair of structures near the mouth) that look like boxing gloves! Wolf spiders are typically gray or brown with thin white stripes or spots on their backs.
Their bite is excruciating – but not harmful to humans. However, if you pick up a wolf spider, it may turn around and give you a nasty nip; if this happens, it’s best to let go of the spider as quickly as possible.
5. House Spider
House spiders make huts out of their silk webs to protect themselves from predators, like the dreaded jumping spider!
They are found all over North America and can range from minuscule to large; most average about 6mm in length with legs extended.
These spiders mostly eat insects around your home, but they will also feed on other small insect prey. These spiders rarely bite humans, but it is no more harmful than a bee sting they do.
House spiders are often confused for brown recluses; however, unlike brown recluses, house spiders have eight eyes that form two rows across their face (see below picture).
6. Daddy Long Legs
Daddy longlegs spiders are NOT spiders; they are harvestmen, a separate order of arachnids. Harvestmen have one body segment and two very long legs, whereas spiders have two body segments and eight shorter legs.
Harvestmen can be found worldwide and range in size from 2-15mm. They eat mostly small insects and sometimes cannibalize their kind. Daddy longlegs spiders have no venom and cannot bite humans. Although they may look scary, these little guys are completely harmless!
Although most spiders can’t hurt you, it is still a good idea to stay as far away as possible from them. However, if their webs bother you, some commercial products exist to remove spiderwebs from your house or garden.
Remember, if a spider bites you, don’t panic! First off, make sure an expert correctly identifies the spider and then follow this advice depending on the type of spider.