Spiders are frightening to many homeowners by their very appearance, but in fact spiders are probably among the most beneficial animals that occur in outdoor and indoor environments. Spiders eat some of the most bothersome insects and will only attack humans defensively and as a result of extreme provocation. Still, some spiders can be harmful to humans, so as a homeowner it is wise to learn the spider species that are more likely to travel inside your home so as to better recognize the ones that may be harmful to your family.
Any discussion of potentially dangerous indoor brown spider should begin with the brown recluse (Loxoceles reclusa). While not the most common indoor spider, it is possible the most dangerous. The brown recluse is characterized by a distinct fiddle pattern behind its head. Brown recluse spiders have a venom that kills human cells and a bite site may develop a necrotic, slow-healing, ulcerous wound. Brown recluse are rarely fatal as long as medical attention is sought right away.
Cobweb spiders is the common name for the Theridiidae group of spiders. Indoors, you are likely to find cobweb spiders building webs in the corners of any room in the home. Cobweb spiders are characterized by their bulbous bodies and the cobwebs they spin and generally messy and sticky to the touch. This group includes the black widow spider, a much-feared but rarely fatal spider species with an all-black body and an orange-red hourglass pattern on the underside of its abdomen.
Cellar spiders earn their name because they prefer to dwell in dark, secluded areas of the home such as cellars and basements. Members of the cellar spider group (Pholcidae) all have peculiarly long legs (though the family does not include the daddy-long-legs spider). Pholcidae webs are often larger than those of other spiders, and if a Pholcidae spider is in the web when the web is disturbed, it will jump and down on the web. Cellar spiders are not harmful to humans.
Safety and Removal Considerations
The likelihood of one spider species coming indoors versus another is region-specific, and to a large extent, the most likely brown spiders that will be found indoors depend on where you live. Only a small minority of indoor brown spiders present a threat to human health, so spiders should be tolerated whenever possible due to the beneficial effects they have on ecosystem. If spiders do need to be removed, vacuum them up or, as a last resort, consider an approved insecticide for indoor spider control.
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