When it comes to eradicating arthropod infestations, it is generally necessary to first identify the species of the invading arthropod pest. For example, there exist many ant pest species in the northeast US, but the methods used to control ant pests vary significantly depending on species. Controlling spider infestations within homes is, in many ways, similar to controlling insect infestations, but it is not always necessary to identify the species of invading spider pest before deciding on a pest control plan. What is important is to first determine if the spider pest is a web-building species or a hunting species, as each of these two groups are controlled in dramatically different ways due to their different behaviors within and around homes.
Web-spinning spiders rely solely on their webs for catching insect prey, and while hunting spiders may spin silk for certain purposes, they do not spin silk webs to catch prey. Instead, hunting spiders stalk, ambush and incessantly roam around to hunt prey, which is why most hunting spider species have adapted to skitter about at fast speeds. Web-spinning spider species that commonly invade homes in the northeast include cellar, cobweb, orb weaver and funnel web spiders, and their annoyingly abundant indoor webs indicate where these spider pests are located within homes. Often times, spider pests are resting directly on their webs, making it easy for homeowners to eradicate the pests themselves with a vacuum, or a broom and rolled up newspaper.
Hunting spider species often wander indoors inadvertently while foraging, but they can become numerous in certain homes where the spiders can locate a large number of insect food sources. This is why persistent hunting spider pest problems sometimes indicate the existence of an insect pest infestation within a home. Hunting spider species that invade homes in the northeast include wolf spiders, Parson spiders, woodlouse spiders and jumping spiders. Since hunting spiders are always on the move and cannot be traced to indoor food sources or webs, they are relatively hard to manage within homes. Luckily, some hunting spiders, like yellow-sac spiders, can be captured by locating their indoor eggs sacs, which they frequently rest upon.
Can you tell the difference between hunting spiders and web-spinning spiders that are commonly found in homes in your area?