Asked Questions About Spiders
Where can I find information about common spiders of Washington?
guidebooks provide general information about spiders. One Washington
State University Internet source of information about Pacific Northwest
spiders can be found at EB
moved into a new house and there seem to be spiders everywhere.
What can we do to get rid of them?
According to Rod Crawford, Curator of Arachnids at the UW
Burke Museum, most of the spiders you find in your house are not
the same species as those found in your yard and garden. These house
spiders are adept at living with conditions found in the home, such
as poor food and water supply, and most spend their entire life
in and around the structure where they were born. Few pose a serious
concern to humans. For more information on house spiders, please
refer to the "Spider
Myth" website associated with the UW Burke Museum.
removal (vacuuming spider when observed or catching them on sticky
traps) is often an effective management option for reducing spider
populations in your home. Repeat as necessary.
prevent spiders from accidentally entering the home from the outside,
seal up the spider entry points of the house (e.g. around doors,
windows, and pipes).
you choose to use a fogger insecticide (commonly called "bug
bombs"), follow label directions carefully and make sure that
the product is labeled for home use to kill spiders. For information
on foggers, click on Bug
Bombs: Overkill Can Be Dangerous - Pesticide Safety.
I believe I have identified the spider I caught in my house this
week as a hobo spider (Tegenaria agrestis) according the picture
I found at EB
1548: Spiders. Could I send you a picture and
have you confirm this identification?
order to positively identify a hobo spider, we need to use a microscope
to examine several key diagnostic features. A picture of your spider
might help us to provide a tentative identification of the type
of spider. Click on hobo spiders
for additional information about identifying (or misidentifying)
Hobo spider bites have been associated with necrotic wounds in certain
people. Thus, care should be taken around these spiders.
I have a spider I would like identified, how should I preserve
it before submitting it to the WSU Puyallup Plant and Insect Diagnostic
best way to preserve spiders is to place them in a vial containing
70% ethanol. Mailing such a sample through the mail, however, is
illegal since alcohol is both liquid and flammable so these samples
would need to be submitted in person to the clinic. See insect
sampling instructions for further sample submission information.
I live in Eastern Washington and have just found a brown recluse
spider in my house. What should I do about this spider in my house?
I am worried because I have small children that crawl around on
has shown that the western United States has no local populations
of the brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa) so
the spider you found is probably not a brown recluse. A spider specialist
at University of California in Riverside, Rick Vetter, has devoted
a lot of effort to dispelling brown recluse myths in the West. For
more information on this work, refer to Spiders
and other Arachnids at UC Riverside.
do have other spiders in Washington that can bite. Fortunately,
many spiders tend not to thrive in the dry environment of our homes.
The most effective prevention technique against spiders is sealing
up entry points into the home- alas easier said than done. Vacuuming
regularly, especially in cracks and under furniture, will also help
to reduce the number of spiders in your home. Some people have had
success with glue-impregnated sticky traps placed in area of high
spider traffic, but out of the way of children and pets.
I see a lot of spiders in my yard. How do I best eliminate
Spiders, due to their predacious nature, are beneficial; trapping
and eating flies, and other insects. Conserve your local spiders.
I found a shiny black spider near my home in Washington with
what appears to be red "hourglass" marking. Could it be
a black widow spider?
black widow spider populations are found in Washington with most
found in Eastern Washington. However, there are several local populations
in Western Washington, for example, on several of the San Juan Islands.
of "black widow-like spiders" we see are other members
of the "comb-footed" spider family (Theridiidae)
and are considered harmless.
I live in Texas and I found several large spiders floating in my
swimming pool. Why can't I submit these spiders to your laboratory?
Puyallup Plant and Insect Diagnostic Laboratory is only equipped
to handle the identification of certain spiders in the Pacific Northwest.
We have no one on staff specializing in the identification of spiders.
You would be better served by contacting your local
Cooperative Extension program.
neighbor just told me that the deadliest spider in the world has
recently been introduced to our county and can be brought into home
when you buy bananas. Evidently people are bit on the fingers as
they peel the banana and expose the spider and their finger rot
off. The story sounds fairly far-fetched to me and I wonder if there
is a place I could go to find the truth about spider stories like
Rod Crawford, Curator of Arachnids at the UW Burke Museum has a
wonderful website "Spider
Myths", which explains the truth behind many of the myths
and misconceptions surrounding spiders. This website is also full
of spider-friendly comments and advice.