Cellar Spider Control: Get Rid of Cellar Spiders
- 1 Cellar Spiders
- 2 Facts, Identification and Control
- 3 A spider with long thin legs — what kind of creatures are these?
- 4 Long-bodied Cellar Spiders
- 5 What are Cellar Spiders?
- 6 Cellar Spider Identification
- 7 What Do Cellar Spiders Look Like?
- 8 Cellar Spider Prevention
- 9 How to Prevent Cellar Spiders
- 10 How to Get Rid of Cellar Spiders
- 11 Cellar Spider Education
- 12 Habits
- 13 Threats
- 14 Are Cellar Spiders Poisonous?
- 15 10 common spiders found in and around Britain’s homes — but are they really all harmless?
Facts, Identification and Control
There are two groups of cellar spiders, the long-bodied cellar spiders that have legs up to two inches long and the short-bodied cellar spiders whose legs are about ½ inch long.
The most common Phlocidae in the United States is the long-bodied cellar spider. Because of their long legs, cellar spiders are often mistaken for the “daddy longlegs.”
How Did I Get Cellar Spiders?
Homes with white outdoor lights that attract insects or easily accessed entry points, like foundation cracks and gaps around doors, are most likely to attract cellar spiders. Once inside, these pests prefer dark basements, attics, and other protected spaces.
How Serious Are Cellar Spiders?
Cellar spiders rarely bite humans, but may be a nuisance. It can be hard to keep up with removing their webs because, unlike other spiders, this species doesn’t consume their old webs before building new ones. Cellar spiders also like to live close to each other, so populations can multiply quickly.
How Do I Get Rid of Them?
To help control cellar spiders, follow these tips:
- Use a broom or vacuum to remove webs, egg sacs, and spiders.
- Reduce the spider’s food sources by using insect prevention and control measures.
- Use proper ventilation and dehumidifiers to reduce the humidity in your home or business.
- Prevent pests from entering your home or business by sealing cracks and crevices around doors, windows and other entry points.
- Always contact your pest management professional before using insecticides to ensure you are using the product safely and effectively.
Signs of Infestation
Cellar spiders frequently infest homes and warehouses and make their webs in protective corners of basements, closets, attics, outbuildings and rock piles.
Behavior, Diet and Habits
The cellar spider is often found in damp locations like basements, crawl spaces and cellars, which is how it got its common name. Male and female cellar spiders may be found in climate-controlled structures year round.
The web of the cellar spider is irregular, with no discernable pattern. Although their bites are harmless to humans, their webs are unsightly and profuse: unlike other spider species, cellar spiders prefer to live within close proximity to one another, creating troublesome communities within human dwellings.
What do they eat?
They prefer to eat small moths, flies, mosquitoes and other insects or spiders that are found near their webs. Like most other spiders, cellar spiders are highly adaptive and successful predators. Their diet consists primarily of insects, which they lure and trap within their webs before encasing them in cocoons. When food supplies in their environment are insufficient, these spiders travel to other webs and pretend to be trapped insects. As the other spider attempts to catch and consume it, the cellar spider attacks the unsuspecting arachnid.
Also known as vibrating spiders, cellar spiders utilize wobbly, vibrating movements to confuse predators and attackers.
Not a medically important spider, cellar spiders aren’t known to bite people. However, this has not detoured the existence of an urban myth indicating that cellar spider venom is among the most deadly in the world, but the length of the spider’s fangs are too short to deliver the venom during a bite.
There is no scientific based information to support the deadliness of their venom, so there is no reason to assume this is true. But, are the fangs too short to penetrate human skin? Cellar spiders do have short fangs, termed uncate by spider experts. But, so do brown recluse spiders that undeniably bite humans.
Life Cycle & Reproduction
Cellar spiders hatch from eggs, and when hatched, look like small adults who shed their skin as they grow. The female spiders encase their eggs in silk webs where they are protected against spider predators. The spider reaches maturity in about a year. Once mature, the spider can live another two years.
A spider with long thin legs — what kind of creatures are these?
The spiders on this page are some of the more common species found in and around buildings. Most of these spiders typically live in yards and gardens around residences, but accidently enter buildings while searching for prey, a mate, or a place to lay their eggs.
«Wandering» spiders do not build webs to capture prey. They are active predators and either move about in search of prey, or sit and wait to ambush prey as it approaches. Most wandering spiders will build silken retreats in which to hide, molt, or lay their eggs.
«Web-building» spiders construct silken webs in which to capture prey. Some species build webs that capture flying or aerial prey (the orb-weavers and cobweb weavers), while other species build webs on or near the ground to capture wandering insects (the sheet web or funnel web spiders). Web-building spiders typically stay within their webs, but adult males will wander in search of adult females.
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Common Name: Yellow Sac Spider
Scientific Name: Cheiracanthium sp.
Size: body length about 3/8 inch; total length (including legs) about 1 inch.
Behavior: These spiders wander in search of prey, and actively chase their prey to catch it. They are most active at night.
When and Where to Find: Adults are most common in spring and early summer, although you may see immatures later in the year. In buildings, they are typically observed at night as they search for prey on walls and ceilings. They may build a small white silken retreat (or sac) in which they spend the day. These spiders can also be found on shrubs and deciduous trees.
Identification: Both females and males are typically uniformly colored, ranging from yellowish to light brown.
adult female Scotophaeus blackwalli
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Common Name: Ground Spider , or Mouse Spider
Scientific Name: Scotophaeus blackwalli
Size: body length up to about 1/2 inch; total length (including legs) up to about 1 inch.
Behavior: These wandering spiders actively chase their prey. They are primarily seen at night when they are foraging, and can run quite quickly.
When and Where to Find: These spiders are typically seen from spring through fall. In the home, they are most commonly found on floors in dark areas.
Identification: Although these spiders do not spin webs, they possess rather long silk-spinning spinnerets which protrude from the end of the abdomen. Their bodies are often colored a uniform dark brown, sometimes with a metallic sheen.
adult male Philodromus
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Common Name: Running Crab Spiders
Scientific Name: Philodromus dispar
Size: body length about 1/4 inch; total length (including legs) up to about 1/2 inch.
Behavior: These spiders do not spin a web, but hunt prey by sitting motionless and ambushing insects as they approach. They hold their first two pairs of legs out to the side while they await prey, which helps give them a crab-like appearance.
When and Where to Find: These spiders can be found from late spring through early fall. They are common on vegetation in the garden, but may accidently enter houses as they search for prey or mates.
Identification: Immatures and females of this species are light yellow-brown in color, while adult males may have dark brown-black bodies that contrast with their light-colored legs. The second pair of legs in running crab spiders are longer than the other legs.
immature male Philodromus
adult female zebra jumper
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Common Name: Zebra Jumper
Scientific Name: Salticus scenicus
Family: Salticidae (jumping spiders)
Size: body length up to about 3/16 inch; total length (including legs) just slightly longer than body length.
Behavior: Jumping spiders hunt prey during the day using their keen sense of vision. They will attack insects or other spiders, including prey that is substantially larger than they are. Jumping spiders stalk prey and, once near, attach a line of silk (as a safety anchor) to their substrate, and leap onto their prey.
When and Where to Find: These spiders are often found from late spring through early fall. They can be common on the exterior of buildings, and sometimes accidently enter houses in search of prey.
Identification: Jumping spiders are easily identified because their front (center) pair of eyes are very large compared to their other six eyes. The zebra spider is black with 3 or 4 pairs of white marks along the sides of its abdomen, and a pair of white marks on its cephalothorax (head). There are other similar-looking jumping spiders in the Portland area.
Notes: Jumping spiders can often be handled, and may sit calmly when you pick them up. This family of spiders shows elaborate mating behaviors whereby the male courts the female with a ritualized courtship dance.
adult male zebra jumper
cellar spiders hanging in their webs
(webs are not visible in these photographs)
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Common Name: Long-bodied Cellar Spider
Scientific Name: Pholcus phalangioides
Family: Pholcidae (cellar spiders)
Size: body length up to about 7/16 inch, but leg span much larger.
Behavior: These long-legged spiders build loose and tangled-looking webs in which they hang to catch their prey. They prey on anything that enters their web вЂ” which is often other spiders. They vibrate their webs rapidly when they sense danger (such as when a person approaches them quickly); this vibration obscures their exact location in the web.
When and Where to Find: These spiders can be found most of the year hanging from their webs in corners of dimly lit rooms. They are especially common in cellars (hence the common name «cellar spider»), in stairwells or under stairs, and in other less frequently used areas of buildings. These spiders show a close association with human dwellings, and are seldom found in adjacent outdoor gardens.
Identification: These slender spiders have very long and thin legs, and are light to medium brown in color. In general appearance, they look similar to harvestmen, or daddy-longlegs (which are not spiders at all, but comprise the arachnid order Opiliones).
Steatoda cobweb weaving spider
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Common Name: False Black Widow
Scientific Name: Steatoda grossa
Family: Theridiidae (cobweb weavers)
Size: body length about 3/8 inch.
Behavior: These spiders build cobwebs, a generally unorganized-looking web with many trip lines that entangle flying and wandering insects or other spiders. Cobweb weavers typically hang upside down in their web and wait for prey. During the day, they often retreat to cover near the web.
When and Where to Find: These spiders commonly build their webs in corners of garages, crawl-spaces, or other less frequently used areas. Webs can be found from near ground level to ceiling corners.
Identification: These cobweb weaver spiders typically have round abdomens that are much larger than the cephalothorax.
Common Name: European House Spider s, Hobo Spiders, and Barn Funnel Weavers
Scientific Name: Tegenaria sp.
Family: Agelenidae (funnel web weavers)
Three species of Tegenaria funnel web spiders may be encountered around Portland-area residences. These are the barn funnel weaver (Tegenaria domestica), the giant house spider (Tegenaria gigantia), and the hobo spider (Tegenaria agrestis).
All of these spiders build funnel webs in dark, moist areas such as in woodpiles, under rocks, or in basements. Distinguishing among the three species can be difficult, and typically needs to be done with the aid of a microscope or hand lens.
Size: These spiders vary greatly in size, with the giant house spider the largest of the three species (some are large enough that, from legtip to legtip, they would spread across the entire palm of your hand!).
Behavior: Funnel web spiders sit in their sheet webs, often within the funnel portion, and wait for prey to enter their webs. The spiders that people most commonly encounter in their homes are adult males, wandering in search of females.
When and Where to Find: Males are most commonly seen during JulyвЂ“September when they wander in search of females. Indoors, they are most frequently found in dimly lit areas such as in boxes, closets, and storage areas.
Identification: All three of these spider species are medium brown with variably shaped lighter chevrons on the dorsal (upper) side of the abdomen. These species of funnel weaver spiders cannot readily be distinguished with the naked eye and require examination under magnification.
Common Name: Common House Spider
Scientific Name: Parasteatoda (formerly Achaearanea) tepidariorum
Long-bodied Cellar Spiders
What are Cellar Spiders?
Cellar spiders are a species of spider belonging to the group of animals known as “arachnids .” There are both long-bodied as well as short-bodied cellar spiders . As their name implies, cellar spiders are found in dark and damp places like cellars and basements. They are also sometimes referred to as “ daddy long legs» because of their very long, thin legs . There are about 20 species of cellar spiders in the United States and Canada.
Cellar Spider Identification
Pale yellow to light brown or gray
Long skinny legs with a small body
Found throughout U.S.
What Do Cellar Spiders Look Like?
All cellar spiders have oval-shaped bodies that range in color from pale yellowish to light brown or gray . Adult female long-bodied cellar spiders have a body length of about ¼-5/16” (7-8 mm) with front legs about 1 ¾-1 15/16” (45-50 mm) long. Adult male long-bodied cellar spiders have a body length of about ¼” (6 mm). On the other hand, short-bodied cellar spiders have much shorter bodies as their name implies. Adult female short-bodied cellar spiders have a body length of about 1/16” (2 mm) with front legs about 5/16” (8.5 mm) long. Adult male short-bodied cellar spiders have a body length of about 1/16” (1.6 mm) with front legs about 3/8” (9.5 mm) long.
Like all arachnids, cellar spiders have eight legs ; however, theirs are very elongated and thin compared to other spiders. Cellar spiders also have eight eyes that are arranged into two widely-spaced lateral groups of three each and two eyes in between. They have a cylindrical abdomen that is about three times longer than it is wide.
Long-bodied cellar spiders are also similar in appearance to harvestmen — which are arachn ids , but technically not spiders— given their equally noticeable, lengthier legs . As such , the “daddy long legs” nickname also applies to harvestmen, but , by contrast, these arachnids have oval bodies that are more reddish in color compared to cellar spiders .
Cellar Spider Prevention
How to Prevent Cellar Spiders
To keep long-bodied cellar spiders from entering structures in the first place, seal cracks around the foundation of homes and buildings with a silicone-based caulk. Homeowners and business owners should consider using yellow light bulbs for exterior light i ng , as they may reduce the number of cellar spiders and other insects that are typically attracted to white-light sources. Additionally, it is good practice to consider using a dehumidifier in basements, cellars and crawl spaces, since cellar spiders thrive in moisture. Homeowners should also store firewood at least twenty feet from the home on a raised structure to deter spiders from hiding out in the wood. Make sure to wear gloves when moving the wood, and inspect it carefully before bringing any wood pieces indoors.
Inside, keep clothes and shoes from piling up on the floor and shake them out before putting them on. Also, consider using tightly sealed plastic boxes to store seldom-used items, such as boots, baseball mitts, skates, etc. in the basement, garage or other dark are as.
Spider bites can be painful, but a spider’s venom is the real concern. Thankfully, most spiders don’t bite, and 98% are harmless. For more information on spiders, check out the spider pest guides.
Find a Pest Control Professional
How to Get Rid of Cellar Spiders
Wondering how to get rid of cellar spiders? If a cellar spider infestation is suspected, contact a licensed pest control professional for assistance. Spider control is a multi -step process that includes inspection of the home or building, accurate identification, prevention, sanitation and mechanical measures.
Cellar Spider Education
C ellar spiders construct loose, irregular webs in areas with higher relative humidity and moisture , such as homes, sheds, barns and warehouses. Within these structures, cellar spider webs are usually found in dark and damp places, including but not limited to the corners of eaves, windows and ceilings in cellars, basements , crawlspaces and garages. In commercial buildings, cellar spiders tend to spin webs in corners near doors that are left open.
Cellar spiders prefer to hang upside down in their webs as they wait for prey, which typically consists of other spiders and insects. When bothered, a cellar spider will repeatedly pulse its body to make its entire web shake. These pulsations help to entrap any insects that have approached the web and become the spider’s next meal .
Unlike species that expend their webs and then make new ones, or clean their webs to reuse them, cellar spiders will continue to layer additional, new webs on top of their old ones. As a result, the webs can build up in excessive volume in a somewhat short period of time, creating a noticeable cobweb appearance in the home or building.
Female long-bodied cellar spiders may produce up to three egg sacs each containing 13-60 eggs t hroughout the course of their life . The sacs are created from a thin layer of silk that is see-through. The cluster of eggs gives the sac the appearance of an unripe blackberry. The females then carry the egg sacs around with them in their mouths until the eggs hatch, as opposed to resting them in their web like other spider species do. Female short-bodies cellar spiders produce a similar egg sac containing 10-27 eggs each that they also carry in their jaws. The emerging spiderlings often cling to their mother for a short time. There are five molts before the spiderlings reach full maturity – a process that takes one full year. Adult long-bodied cellar spiders usually live for about two years.
Long-bodied c ellar spiders are considered nuisance pests, probably more so because of their vast webs being an eyesore in homes and commercial buildings. Historically, cellar spiders are not known to bite humans and , theref ore , do not pos e a h ealth threat .
Are Cellar Spiders Poisonous?
Long-bodied cellar spiders are not proven to be poisonous. There is a myth that their venom is one of the deadliest, and that their short fangs keep them from injecting this fatal venom into humans. However, there is no research proving this statement to be true.
10 common spiders found in and around Britain’s homes — but are they really all harmless?
As we enter spider mating season, we look at some of the eight-legged creatures you might bump into in UK homes — and whether it’s worth running for the hills
Arachnophobes, look away now.
With the spider mating season upon us, the creepy crawlies will leave their webs and venture indoors to find a partner.
And here’s a fact to make your skin crawl: there are over 650 different species of spiders in the UK — and all of them bite.
But, luckily for us, only 12 of these species have enough venom that can cause harm to a human.
We’ve put together a list of 10 of the most common spiders you’re likely to find around the house in the coming months, and most importantly — whether they’ll cause you any danger .
So keep your eyes peeled and a glass at the ready as you find out which spiders are friends are which are definitely foe .
1. Missing sector orb web spider
Also known as Zygiella x-notata, this spider is named because it spins an orb web with one full sector missing.
With a size of up to 15mm, this arachnid is relatively small and is common around Britain’s houses and gardens.
The spider, which is not harmful to humans, can be distinguished by its pale body and legs, with silvery-grey markings on its abdomen.
Usually seen indoors in the autumn and winter months, this spider prefers warmth and is most common in areas around Leicestershire and Rutland.
How big are they? Up to 15mm
Are they harmful? No, not at all
2. Giant house spider
Measuring a size of 120mm, this critter is most common in the autumn months when the males leave their webs in search of females.
Often the spider you’re likely to find in the bath, they can run extremely fast, but only for a limited length of time before they have to stop to recover from their exhaustion.
These large spiders build sheet like webs and may be found in garages, sheds, attics and cavity walls where they are less likely to be disturbed.
Giant house spiders do possess a potent venom and can bite, but they do not usually pose a threat to humans.
How big are they? Big — 120mm
Are they harmful? Potentially, yes — but they’re not at all aggressive
3. Daddy long legs spider
Unlike the hairy giant house spiders, these creepy crawlies have small grey bodies and long, thin legs.
Although they can vary in size, the Pholcus phalangioides (to give them their scientific name) can potentially measure up to 45mm.
Urban myths exist that suggest the daddy long legs spider contains the most potent venom but that their fangs aren’t strong enough to penetrate human skin.
Reports on research into this theory suggests that the spiders can bite — but the venom will only deliver a brief mild burning sensation — if anything at all.
How big are they? Up to 45mm
Are they harmful? No, not really
4. Lace web spider
Usually found on outdoor walls and fencing, these spiders will retreat inside in the autumn months to find a mate.
Heavy rainfall can also force these spiders into the house, usually because they have been flooded out of their own home.
They generally grow to a size of around 20mm and are brown with yellow markings on the abdomen.
Be on your guard when you see one of these spiders, as they have been known to bite people in recent years.
Bites are reported to be painful but the symptoms usually just consist of localised swelling for around 12 hours.
How big are they? 20mm
Are they harmful? Yes — if they bite, you’ll know about it
5. Zebra jumping spider
These eight-legged creatures are small, reaching a size of just 8mm.
Recognisable from their distinctive white and black markings, the move in a jerky ‘stop, start’ motion.
These spiders are usually seen from spring through to autumn and can be found on external walls, as well as indoors where they will enter through open doors and windows.
They are more likely to flee from humans than attack them, but they can bite — although the venom is not considered medically threatening.
How big are they? Small — just 8mm
Are they harmful? No
6. False widow spider
The species, also known as Steatoda nobilis, usually has an overall size of 20mm and is characterised by a dark brown colour and a bulbous abdomen.
Adult female false widow spiders are known to have bitten humans, although they are not usually aggressive and attacks on people are rare and there are no reported UK deaths.
Symptoms of a bite can range from a numb sensation to severe swelling and discomfort.
In serious cases there can be various levels of burning or chest pains, which will depend on the amount of venom injected.
How big are they? 20mm
Are they harmful? In a word, yes
7. Cardinal spider
The cardinal spider is the largest spider in the UK, growing to an overall length of 14cm in some cases.
Also known as Tegenaria parietina, it is known as the cardinal spider in Britain because of the legend that Cardinal Thomas Woolsey was terrified by this species at Hampton Court back in the 16th century.
Although they are mainly thought to be harmless to humans, these arachnids get a bad reputation because of their huge size, incredible speed and their nocturnal habits.
Bites from these spiders are rare, and painless.
How big are they? Very — 14cm
Are they harmful? No, they look much scarier than they actually are
8. Money spider
From the Britain’s biggest to the smallest, money spiders grow no more than 5mm long, with their leg span just 2mm.
They get their name from an old superstition that if one got stuck in your hair, it would bring you good luck and increased wealth.
The money spider weaves hammock shaped webs and bites its prey to paralyse it — before wrapping it in silk and eating it.
The fangs on this spider are not anywhere near big enough to penetrate human skin.
How big are they? Tiny — 2mm
Are they harmful? No, not at all
9. Tube web spider
As you might expect, this spider is aptly named because of the tube-shaped web it spins to catch its prey.
They are often found in cracks in buildings which they will cover with silk lines while they wait in the entrance.