The Cobweb spider, also known as the cobweb weaver or comb-footed spider, can be found all over the world, and 230+ varying species just in North America. The most well-known cobweb spiders are the house spider, cellar spider and widow spider.
This small to medium sized spider belongs to the large Theridiidae family of arachnids. Cobweb spiders attained their name from the stick, messy, tangled and irregular webs they spin. Common habitats include sheds, barns, basements, garages, burrows, caves, in piles of wood, or under outdoor decks. These locations are preferred as they are dark, protected and dry.
Colouring on cobweb spiders ranges greatly as there are so many species and habitats globally. They can be identified by their rounded abdomens, and 8 eyes that are arranged in 2 rows on the front of the cephalothorax. They have 8 thin and long legs, which are spine-free. Their last pair of hind legs has a row of bristle-like hairs, which give a comb-like appearance. Within each cobweb spider specie, the male spider is often smaller than the female spider.
Cobweb spiders use their webs to trap insects and other invertebrates, which they feed on. Once caught, they wrap their victim in their sticky webbing and paralyze or kill with their venom.
Female cobweb spiders lay their eggs in a brownish silk sac that they hang from their web until hatching. Up to 250 spiderlings can hatch at a time. Cobweb spiderlings shed their exoskeleton frequently as they grow and mature into adult spiders. On average, male cobweb spiders live for one year, and females can live up to three years.
Not all species of cobweb spiders pose a safety threat to humans. While the widow spider’s venom can harm a human, most species cause alarm for home and business owners by their mere presence. Cobweb spiders are deemed pests because they make a building appear unclean with their messy, dust-collecting webs.
Signs that you have a possible infestation include the presence of sticky webs and sacs. To prevent a cobweb spider infestation, preventing the entry of both the cobweb spiders and the insects and other vertebrate they feed on is the best approach. Here are some tips:
For large infestations with intolerable numbers, contact a licensed pest control company, who has expertise in controlling and getting rid of a cobweb spider infestation.
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