Spider web and spiders in AustinSpiders can be controversial. Ask around and you’ll have people who love spiders and protect them and those that just want to make them go squish.

And don’t get us started on the fact that spiders aren’t classified as “bugs” or insects. They’re arachnids! They are in the same class as scorpions and ticks. But we’ll save the life science study for another time.

So whether you see them as blessing or a blight, there are questions about spiders most people want to know, such as:

  • What spiders are around me?
  • Are they dangerous?
  • What do I do if spiders are around?

We’ll break down a few of the most common spiders found around the Austin area, starting with the most dangerous, and answer those questions.

For photos of most of these spiders, and more information, Texas A&M has a great PDF summary here: https://lubbock.tamu.edu/files/2015/04/Spiders_E408.pdf

Venomous Spiders

Black Widow

So intimidating that they named a fierce comic book character after it. The real life black widow is far more shy and is found hiding in piles of wood, boxes, outdoor toilets, weep holes of houses, meter and electric boxes, under eaves, and around other undisturbed areas.

The female black widow is dark black with a reddish or yellowish hourglass shape on the underside. Male spiders are smaller, brown and nondescript. The venom of the black widow is a neurotoxin and can lead to severe systemic reactions and in rare cases, death. The most severe reactions occur in children and older adults.

They do not bite unless threatened and most bites occur when someone unknowingly disturbs or presses on them such as moving old items or reaching into boxes, woodpiles, etc. It’s a good idea to always wear gloves when doing so.

Brown Recluse

Brown recluse spiders as the name suggests are also not seen often and are most active during the night when they hunt.

The spiders are golden brown in color and have a dark brown to black fiddle-shaped pattern on the head region. Brown recluse venom can cause local or systemic reactions. These spiders commonly live in basements and garages of houses and can be found hiding between boards, boxes, and old towels and clothes in dark, undisturbed areas. Neither the black widow nor the brown recluse spiders are aggressive but they will both bite when accidentally trapped, disturbed or threatened.

Texas Health and Human Services recommends an ice pack may be applied to alleviate pain and swelling in the bite area. Home first aid is of limited help so contact the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-POISON-1 (1-800-222-1222) or go to your family physician for information about treatment.

Non venomous spiders

Yellow Garden Spider

Part of the orbweaver family, which come in many shapes, colors and sizes. One of the most common orbweaver spiders seen around Austin is the Yellow Garden Spider, particularly noted for the size and complexity of the web. While not harmful, their webs can be a nuisance if in a trafficked area, being up to two feet in size.

As the name implies they are yellow and black with bodies up to 1 1/8″ inch long for females and smaller for males.

The spiders prefer sunny places with little or no wind to build their webs. Once they find suitable sites, they will stay there unless the web is frequently disturbed, or they can’t catch enough food.

These are beneficial spiders in that they capture other insects including mosquitos, moths and even some wasps. If needed, you can remove their web with a broom or stick, ideally without harming the spider. You may need to repeat the procedure to discourage them enough to move elsewhere.

Jumping Spiders

These are often smaller spiders and tend to be thicker. They are brighter with white and black bands on their bodies and legs, but can also have brown, red, yellow and even a metallic green or blue.

As the name implies they are great jumpers which can be alarming to someone. But as with most spiders they don’t attack or bite unless handled, cornered or threatened. Bites are not dangerous and may produce a mild and brief tingling or itch in the spot.

Tarantulas

Just by their size tarantulas can be intimidating and frightening – thanks also to inaccurate or sensationalized media portrayals and movies. They are gentle giants – to people at least – and are very rarely seen as they live in burrows when not hunting for insects.

Their bites are not dangerous but do have small hairs that can irritate the skin so if you handle one be sure to wash your hands afterwards.

If a tarantula happens to appear in your home or garage it does not want to be there and wandered in. You can gently scoop it out with a dust pan and it will likely make its way back to its lair.

Wolf Spider

The wolf spider is a very common spider in Texas lawns and garden areas. They are hairy, though not as much as tarantula, and are typically a spotted with brown, black, white or yellow.

Many lawns could have hundreds of them actively going after insects. They come out at night and since they can be plentiful throughout neighborhoods, they may wander inside a front or back patio door. They can be escorted out and won’t likely take up residence inside.

They may be mistaken for the dangerous brown recluse but they lack the violin shape on the head, instead having brown stripes there. They also have a distinct pair of eyes on the top of their head.

Daddy Longlegs or Harvestmen

Commonly called “Daddy Longlegs” but that describes just one type of Harvestman. By any name, these are arachnids, but not actually spiders. The arachnid family includes spiders, scorpions, mites and ticks. But we’re including them here as these long-legged and wild looking creatures are often considered spiders. They have four pairs of legs, but after that differ from spiders, having fewer eyes and no venom. They pose zero threat to humans, other than maybe freaking some people out. The urban legend that falsely states daddy longlegs are the most poisonous spiders in the world, but their fangs are too small to penetrate human skin, is 100% untrue.

Their long legs range from 1 to 2 inches in length. If humans had similar proportions, our legs would be 40 to 50 feet long!

They are night predators searching for other insects or even small vegetable matter.

Harvestmen are often found in a shady area of homes, such as under a covered porch or eave. They are very common in wooded areas, under rocks or logs and caves.

There’s no real need to remove them as they pose no danger. But if they are an issue due to numbers or “creepy” factor – you can try a few options. One is change outdoor porch lights to a yellow light. These don’t attract as many insects, which won’t attract the harvestmen. Anecdotal stories from Reddit users and others state that spraying rosemary water (literally rosemary boiled in water and allowed to cool) or other scents – like garlic or lavender – could drive them away without killing them.

The Best Way To Get Rid of Spiders

The most effective way to handle spiders in or around your home is through repairs, cleaning, sanitation and actually removing them physically.

Windows, weather stripping and screens

Repair gaps in windows, worn weather stripping and replace or repair window and door screens around your home. In particular look for gaps and holes around lit areas of your home such as front and back doors. This is where insects will gather and therefore spiders looking for food.

Spiders are often attracted to protective areas and clutter. You can reduce clutter such as closing up cardboard boxes in attics and garages or storing items in sealed plastic tote containers. Remove unsealed boxes and stacks of cardboard.

Outside the home remove firewood away from the walls. Cut back bushes and trees that touch the home. If possible, point lights away from the home and in particular doorways and windows.

Removal and Vacuum

If you have one or two unwanted spiders inside you can cover them with a glass and slide a card underneath to take it outside and return it to nature. BE VERY AWARE of what kind of spider it is and don’t attempt this if you aren’t 100% sure it is safe. You can also refer to this spider brochure from Texas A&M for more photos and information.

You can also vacuum them up which is fast and effective and look under couches, chairs, around boxes or other areas that may have eggs too in order to remove those.

Insect Control

Removing other insects in and just around your home can go far in controlling spiders. Taking away that food source of ants and other insects will cause them to go elsewhere for their food source.

If you are having ongoing issues with spiders and need a pest control service to handle them, give us a call at 512-443-0123 or use our form to submit a pest control quote request.