Common Questions About Wolf Spiders

Encountering one of these intimidating arachnids can send you running for the hills. Known for their large, hairy bodies and prominent front legs, wolf spiders are often easily mistaken for tarantulas. Learn how to identify and control wolf spiders in order to prevent a single, unlucky run-in from becoming a full-blown takeover.

HOW CAN I IDENTIFY WOLF SPIDERS? 

Wolf spiders earned their name not only for their brown, wolf-like appearance, but for their stalking, predatory behavior as well. Unlike many other arachnids, wolf spiders don’t utilize web-spinning to catch their prey. Instead, they’re known for their agile, aggressive movements, acting quickly to pounce and catch their prey. These rapid movements combined with their brown bodies can make them tricky to spot, but the sheer size of these creatures doesn’t let them get away too easily. Wolf spiders are most readily identified by their stature, ranging from half an inch to up to two inches long.

Female wolf spiders, typically larger than their male counterparts, have bulkier, more prominent bodies made larger by carrying their eggs in a sizable sac on their backs. Hatchlings will most often remain on the mother’s body for several days before venturing off on their own. These young spiders resemble their adult counterparts from the moment their long legs first touch the ground. Wolf spiders are most often seen when in pursuit of prey, so any encounter between these spiders and humans generally happens at or near floor level where these spiders are most likely to find their next meal.

WHERE ARE THE WOLF SPIDERS COMING FROM?

Wolf spiders find their way inside through open windows, doors, and unsealed cracks through which other bugs have found their way in as well. These arachnids are attracted to potential prey, making them more likely to wander into your home if other insects are already present. Multiple wolf-spider sightings typically indicate an additional insect problem, one that was brought on by factors that originally attracted cockroaches, houseflies, grasshoppers, ants, and other small insects indoors. The wolf spiders are then coming inside in search of these bugs for a bite to eat.

Adaptable and versatile, wolf spiders can be found nearly anywhere other insects are present. Their resilience and pervasiveness make them one of the most common spiders nationwide. The wolf spider’s brown appearance easily camouflages them in their most desired hiding spaces: underneath rocks, loose debris, and pieces of wood or refuse found outside homes. Wolf spiders prefer to dwell in areas with an abundance of ready-to-hunt prey, making most indoor run-ins with these spiders purely accidental.

HOW DO I GET RID OF WOLF SPIDERS?

A homeowner’s first line of defense when attempting to banish wolf spiders should be to diminish or eliminate potential attractants for small insects and other bugs that will draw wolf spiders in for a quick meal. Outside, clear up any debris or loose clippings that may house wolf spiders. On the inside, you can reduce the potential for an insect presence by taking time to vacuum, sweep, and mop up any spills or crumbs; seal up any open cracks in the perimeter of your home; and clear debris that provides ideal hiding places.

Many of the effective products and methods available to homeowners can be found at your local home and garden store. Simply securing the perimeter of your home with new weather stripping, repairing loose caulking, and sealing holes and cracks will keep insects—and the wolf spiders that eat them—at bay. For further prevention, glue traps or contact kills designed for spiders and insects can be placed around potential entry points, stopping both insects and predatory wolf spiders from continuing their journey inward.

Taking the proper steps in controlling spider populations is crucial. It is important to avoid attempting to squash or smash a wolf spider when spotted, as these spiders will not bite unless they feel provoked. While wolf spider bites are not poisonous or fatal, these spiders are venomous, causing an unpleasant bite reaction if one is unlucky enough to be bitten.

Additionally, attempting to step on a female wolf spider may unintentionally release dozens of already-hatched spiders resting on her back, transforming a small spider problem into a bigger, potentially substantial one. If you spot a wolf spider and want to rid yourself of it as soon as possible, trap it with a cup or other container and release it outside.

WHEN WILL MY HOME BE RID OF WOLF SPIDERS? 

Wolf spiders need to be lured away from potential food sources. A swift, thorough cleaning of your home should reduce the problem in no time, but if these spiders stick around, it may be time to consider other methods. Contact us today to discuss effective, professional treatments for banishing pesky wolf spiders from your home.

SOURCES

https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/wolf-spiders/
http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Lycosidae/
https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/spiders/wolf-spiders/
https://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources/wolfspider.shtml