Spiders in Baltimore, Maryland

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There are numerous families of spiders. Spiders are predators, who feed on a large number of preys (insects, other spiders, etc.). They benefit people by feeding on harmful insects. In gardens and landscape vegetation, spiders are important in reducing the number of many pest insects.  If possible, killing spiders should be prevented.

Spiders do not belong to the insect group but are a member of a similar group called arachnids. Some create webs; some actively pursue their prey, such as the wolf spiders. The majority of spiders are timid and do not harm humans.  Normally, if they are accidentally trapped or held, that is when they may try to bite.

Various spiders can enter the house. (rarely). (rarely). Every spider is a predator and feeds on insects or other related animals. Some species can live feeding on other spiders, flies, ants, and cockroaches in your home. Spiders can find their way indoors through windows, doors, and other cracks.  Sometimes in the fall they go into the homes to seek refuge from the weather. Caulk cracks and tighten up around the doors and windows, particularly on the ground.

Some spiders live in webs and rarely leave them while some are active hunters. Generally speaking, you’re going to control the spider if you can control their prey. The removal of breeding places outside the home can make a significant contribution to the management of spiders. Garbage, loads of wood, weeds, leaves, flower pots, and other things piled up or stacked beside the house, provide brooding areas for spiders.

Common Spiders Found in Maryland

Wolf Spiders

  • Wolf spiders are fast moving, active hunters and do not construct webs. They have excellent vision and can hunt prey in either the day or night.
  • They range in color from black and white to earth tones. The color may be uniform or patterned. The body size varies from 1/4 inch to 1 1/2 inches and the legs span up to 3 inches.
  • Wolf spiders can be large and can have a frightening appearance. They do not attack humans if they just pass across the skin on their own, but if handled or confined, they can give a sharp bite. Thankfully, the bite is not dangerous.
  • Wolf spiders usually come indoors during the fall and colder temperatures and are typically found in basements.

Jumping Spider

  • Jumping spiders move in jumps or short, rapid runs.
  • Because they are looking for prey such as flies, they are usually found around windows.
  • They are usually black in color, may have red or white dots, are quite hairy, and can be as large as 1/3 inch long.
  • Jumping spiders are usually singular and can be removed individually without worry of many more being in the area.

Crab Spider

  • Crab spiders are bright white, yellow or reddish and their legs project from their sides- which is why they have the name they do, as they resemble the crab.
  • Crab spiders can be found waiting on flowers and leaves ready to attack prey that comes along, as they are not active hunters and rely on their camouflage to help them catch their next meal.
  • Crab spiders are often viewed as beneficial to people, as they tend to eat many insects found in gardens and flower beds, and tend to not bite humans as well.

Black Widow

  • The black widow is common in Maryland but is not often found indoors. These spiders are most often found in basement window wells, beneath lawn benches or porches, and in garages, tool sheds, old lumber piles, rock piles, trash piles, and water meters. They may be brought inside by objects such as boxes, flowerpots, baskets, or other items stored outdoors for a period of time, where they have established their irregular webs.
  • The female black widow’s body is about ½ inch long, completely black with a bright red hourglass shape on the belly. This red mark is easily seen when hanging upside down in the web. Sometimes there may be small dull red marks on the top of the abdomen and at the tip. No other spider in Maryland looks like the black widow, nor is any as poisonous. It is more dangerous to children than adults.
  • The black widow is not an aggressive spider. However, it will bite instinctively when touched or pressed. Because of this, you must be careful working in areas where black widows may be.
  • Make sure to wear gloves when working anywhere they may be. Black widow bites are sharp and painful. If bitten, one should go to the doctor immediately for treatment. It is important to recognize this spider and describe the symptoms so it can be treated immediately and accurately.
  • The best way to combat these spiders is by knocking the webs, spiders, and round, tan egg sacs down with a stick and crushing them under foot. Household insect sprays will also kill the spiders when hit directly.

Cobweb Spiders

  • Cobweb spiders are common household spiders that enter homes when they are small.
  • Building irregular webs where insects fly or rest, such as corners of rooms or windows. When they are active in the web, the web remains relatively inconspicuous. It is only after these spiders leave a web or die, that the web becomes covered with dust and can be seen pretty easily.
  • Cleaning or dusting in corners and other areas like that, is the best way to keep the cobweb spiders at bay.

Yellow House Spider

  • Yellow house spiders are small, measuring only about ¼ inch long, and move very quickly.
  • They can be found in all areas of a house. Entering homes in early fall, yellow house spiders are active for several months weaving small white webs in confined spaces where they spend the winter.
  • In the spring, they usually emerge from their white web cells and find their way outside.

Sources:

“7 Spiders to Identify in Maryland.” On The Green Inc., www.onthegreeninc.com/7-spiders-to-identify-in-maryland. Accessed 26 Dec. 2020. “Creating a Wild Backyard – Common Spiders of Maryland.” Maryland Department of Natural Resources, dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/pages/habitat/waspiders.aspx#cobweb. Accessed 26 Dec. 2020. “Spiders in Maryland.” University of Maryland Extension, extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/spiders-maryland. Accessed 26 Dec. 2020.

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