While wolf spiders aren’t generally considered dangerous to humans, they aren’t the most beautiful wild creatures, let’s face it! While spider enthusiasts won’t mind one or two wolf spiders in their houses, people who do not like their hairy appearance or are afraid of spiders will want to get rid of them immediately! What should they start with? And what should they do if they spot a wolf spider? The answers are below!
What Are Wolf Spiders?
Wolf spiders are arachnids that form the Lycosidae family. Their average size ranges between 0.4 and 1.38 inches, depending on the species. Of the over 2,800 species grouped into 124 genera, the largest is the Carolina wolf spider, reaching a body length of approximately 1.5 inches! Most wolf spiders have long legs and hairy, dark brown bodies with various color patterns.
Wolf spiders have eight eyes arranged in three rows, providing them with excellent eyesight. Besides their eyesight, these arachnids possess the ability to run at high speeds – they can reach two feet per second! These abilities, in turn, make them great hunters and help them escape predators. Moreover, while other spiders spin webs to catch prey, wolf spiders have developed distinctive hunting techniques. Some species chase their prey and pounce on it, while others prefer patiently waiting in their burrows until insects or other spiders pass by to ambush them.
Another unique wolf spider characteristic is how females carry their eggs; they attach the egg sacs to the spinnerets at the end of the abdomen and carry them everywhere. Females move with raised abdomens to avoid dragging the sacs on the ground.
Some wolf spider species live in burrows, while others prefer rocks or other shelters found in the wild or urban areas; that’s why people often spot them in their gardens or on their farms, where they look for dense grasses, tall shrubs, and woodpiles.
What Attracts Wolf Spiders in the House?
While they do not prefer visiting people’s houses, wolf spiders will choose this as a last resort to find food. Since they are primarily insectivores and feed on insects like beetles, other spiders, and pest species, such as cockroaches, they’ll go into the house to look for prey. If you have pest problems and live in an area where wolf spiders are abundant (which is highly likely because they’re widely distributed!), there’s probably a wolf spider around, too.
How To Get Rid of Wolf Spiders
If you’re worried that wolf spiders may settle in your garden, here’s what you can do to prevent this:
- Mow tall grasses
- Keep the firewood stack and the building materials away from your house
- Use insecticides on your lawn and landscape to avoid infestations; make sure the insecticide isn’t toxic to your pets
- Clean up debris
- Install warm outdoor lights; since wolf spiders are nocturnal creatures, the light may keep them away.
While you can’t fully control what visits your garden since it’s an open space, you can definitely make your house spider-free! However, this will take time, patience, and lots of dedication and perseverance. Here’s what you should do:
- If you have pest problems, solve them first. This way, wolf spiders won’t find your house as attractive.
- Use a broom or a vacuum to clean wolf spiders’ favorite hiding places – around doors and windows, closets, cellars, basements, in all kinds of cracks, and among houseplants.
- Block every entry point. Wolf spiders can get into your house through the smallest cracks and openings, so you’ll need to thoroughly check your house and close all the ways into your home.
- Seal or throw away any storage boxes, as wolf spiders adore them!
- Use a spider spray or powder on your lawn and around the house. This way, you’ll create a barrier, and wolf spiders won’t be able to get into the house. The powder can also be used indoors in dark areas, corners, and under furniture. However, ensure these aren’t poisonous for your pets if you have any.
- Use spider traps that have a sticky adhesive surface where spiders get caught. Place them in the basement, in closets, and in the garage.
- If you’re not a fan of commercial solutions, you can make your repellents at home. Some experts state that boric acid helps against wolf spiders because it’s abrasive and destroys their exoskeletons, eventually killing them. Moreover, wolf spiders are repelled by cinnamon, cedar, peppermint, citrus, and tea tree fragrances. Plants like eucalyptus, lemongrass, and lavender can also help.
What Should You Do if You See a Wolf Spider?
First of all, don’t panic! Wolf spiders aren’t aggressive and will always run away unless they feel threatened. You’re not on their diet, so they won’t even try biting you if you don’t corner them. Moreover, even if a wolf spider bites you, its venom isn’t strong enough to harm you other than causing mild pain, swelling, and itching (that is, if you don’t develop more severe allergic reactions).
Another thing to remember is to avoid squishing a wolf spider. It might be a female, meaning you won’t be doing yourself a favor. Why? Because females carry their young ones in an egg sac attached to their abdomens. So if you squish them, many other smaller wolf spiders may start running through your house looking for shelter.
It’s important to understand whether a wolf spider got into your house by mistake (which happens often) or you’re dealing with an infestation. You can check their favorite hiding places to see if there are others.
Suppose you find it physically or psychologically difficult to deal with the problem. In that case, you can always hire a professional pest control team to help you check the wolf spider population in and around your house and prevent the spread.
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- Ortho, Available here: https://www.ortho.com/en-us/library/bugs/how-deal-wolf-spiders
- Romney Pest Control, Available here: https://romneypestcontrol.com/how-to-keep-wolf-spiders-away/
- Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_spider