Wolf Spider Infestation — How to Get Rid of Wolf Spiders

Wolf Spiders

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Approximately 200 known species belong to the Family Lycosidae in the U.S. and Canada. These wolf spiders are particularly abundant in prairie areas but can be located in a variety of habitats.

Appearance / Identification

How Did I Get Wolf Spiders?

In many areas, wolf spiders are quite common. They typically reside outside in leafy, grassy areas, and some even make small burrows. However, they occasionally come indoors on accident or to seek shelter over the winter. Homeowners might see them near doors, basements, or windows.

How Serious Are Wolf Spiders?

Wolf spiders do not damage homes or threaten human health. They may bite, but only if threatened. Because of their large size, wolf spiders intimidate people and could be a nuisance in large numbers but they do eat insects so are often considered beneficial.

What Can I Do About Wolf Spiders?

The Orkin Man™ is trained to help manage wolf spiders. Since every home is different, the Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Keeping wolf spiders out of your house is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. Orkin’s exclusive A.I.M. solution is a continuing cycle of three critical steps—Assess, Implement and Monitor.

The Orkin Man™ can provide the right solution to keep these spiders in their place. out of your home.

Facts

Although their reputation would lead one to believe otherwise, the bite of the wolf spider is not a significant medical threat to the average adult. Wolf spiders typically do not bite unless threatened or provoked. In most cases the wolf spider will first retreat or rear up on its legs, exposing its large fangs.

Difference between other spiders

Wolf spiders are also sometimes confused for tarantulas, nursery web and fishing spiders, and brown recluse spiders.

It can be difficult to differentiate between wolf spiders and the many species that resemble them. Most spiders have in common two-segmented bodies, eight legs and fang-like mouthparts known as chelicerae. However, wolf spiders do have shorter legs than web-building spiders and appear more robust than other species.

Wolf Spider vs. Brown Recluse

It may help to observe the movements of the spider in question. Named for their swift motion, particularly while attacking prey, the wolf spider can sometimes be seen scurrying across open surfaces. The brown recluse, on the other hand, tends to hide in dark, unvisited places and is rarely seen in the open. Recluses also have six eyes arranged in pairs combined with a violin marking on their cephalothoraxes. Wolf spiders do not have these combined characters.

Jaws & fangs

Chelicerae, or jaws, are used to hold prey, inject venom and eat. Two sharp, horizontal fangs are present at the extreme bottom of these jaws. Also present near the jaw are the palps, which serve as sensory structures and as sperm storage in the male wolf spider.

The circulatory system of the wolf spider is open, meaning the blood isn’t confined and delivered inside of a closed system, and contains hemolymph, a respiratory protein similar in function to hemoglobin. Hemolymph is pumped through the heart and bathes the internal organs and tissues.

Where can you find them?

Wolf spider habitats range from woodlands and dry, inland shrub lands to wet, coastal forests and alpine meadows. Some wolf spider species prefer to dwell in suburban gardens. Coastal sand dunes, mountain herb fields or riverbank gravel beds are also home to many wolf spider species. Because wolf spiderlings travel great distances, the habitat of a single species can span a large region.

There are several wolf spiders found in the west that are most commonly brown in color, although gray and black specimens have also been documented. Colored markings may appear along their bodies. Some western wolf spiders can be found indoors, while others are specific to wet outdoor areas like riverbanks.

Burrows in the Ground

Wolf spiders do not spin webs and reside instead within burrows. These burrows may be open or sealed with silken doors. In rainy seasons, wolf spiders plug their burrows with pebbles and build turrets to deflect floodwater. Twigs may also be placed at the top of the burrow.

In the Home

At the onset of the fall season, wolf spiders seek warmer habitats and have been known to enter homes, where they are found in windows, doors, garages, basements and houseplants.

Signs of a Wolf Spider Infestation

All spiders have the potential to come indoors. Wolf spiders often scurry under gaps below doors, and jumping spiders accidentally may be carried in on people. Sightings of wolf spiders are the main sign of their activity. If wolf spiders are found invading a structure it is best to contact a local pest management agency.

More Information

Wolf spiders are common throughout the United States, especially Missouri, Texas, and California. In California, they are sometimes referred to as California wolf spiders.The Kauai cave wolf spider (Adelocosa anops) inhabits the caves of Hawaii’s Kauai Island. These spiders are eyeless and reddish-brown in color. Specimens can measure up to 20 mm in length.

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Wolf Spider Bites Wolf Spider Life Cycle Other Types Of Wolf Spiders

The Carolina wolf spider is the largest documented wolf spider in the United States. Its color matches its habitat, allowing for camouflage. Other wolf spider species may inhabit alpine meadows, coastal forests, dry shrub lands and woodlands. Most species are burrowers that live underground, although some specimens can be seen traveling above ground in leaf litter, on lawns and in gardens. Most wolf spiders are also nocturnal, although some do hunt in the morning. A wolf spider’s diet typically consists of insects and other small spiders.

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Wolf Spiders

The wolf spiders are a term given to the members of the Lycosidae family comprising approximately 2300 species divided into over 100 genera. Robust and agile, they are adept hunters known for their powerful eyesight.

Spiders Belonging To This Family

Genus

Hogna Rabidosa Tigrosa
Adelocosa

Species

Beach Wolf Carolina Wolf Rabid Wolf
Thin-legged Wolf Kauaʻi Cave Wolf Tigrosa Georgicola

Physical Description & Identification

Adults

Size: These species differ in size ranging between 10 and 35 mm (0.4-1.38 inches).

Color: Wolf spiders have a brown body, though they may also be available in gray and black shades.

Other characteristics: They possess eight eyes arranged in rows of three. These species are highly tactile because of the sensory hairs present on their bodies and legs. Their legs could be heavy (burrowing wolf spiders) or thin (as that of the members of the Pardosa genus).

The sac is round and globe-shaped made of silk, which remains fixed to the female’s spinnerets situated on their abdomen, right at the end. In this manner, it gets easy for them to carry their little ones along always even before they are born.

Spiderlings

After emerging from the silken egg case, the spiderlings cling on to the dorsal part of their mother’s abdomen. The female carries the juvenile spiders until they can get about on their own.

The Web

They are hunting spiders and are not known to spin webs. Instead, they get after their prey using their strong hunting skills.

Are the Wolf Spiders Poisonous and Do They Bite

Though venomous, having the ability to paralyze their prey, it is not known to be dangerous to humans. They are non-aggressive and would attack only when provoked. Their bite is equivalent to a bee sting causing itching, redness, and pain which may last for a few days.

Quick Facts

Lifespan Approximately one year
Distribution Continents of Asia, North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia
Habitat Shrublands, west coastal forests, woodland, homes and suburban gardens
Common Predators Wasps
Diet Cockroaches, ants, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets as well as small reptiles and amphibians

Did You Know

  • The Carolina Wolf Spider is known to be South Carolina’s state spider since 2000.
  • The largest wolf spider species is said to belong to the Hogna genus, with the Carolina wolf spider (H. carolinensis) being the biggest.
  • Species of the small genera dwell in Ireland and Britain.
  • Their ability to carry their unborn babies as well as spiderlings is considered to be the most unique, not seen in any other spider.
  • The fishing spider which is as good a hunter as the wolf spider with a sharp vision can often be confused with the latter. However, the significant differentiation factor is the arrangement of their eyes. In the former, there are four eyes arranged in two rows, while in the latter the eyes are placed in three rows.
  • Members of the Geolycosa genus are referred to as burrowing wolf spiders since they dwell in burrows.
  • They have an excellent jumping ability and can pounce on their prey with ease when on a hunting spree.

© 2020 (Spider Identifications). All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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Rabid Wolf Spider: Identification, Facts, & Pictures

  • By Zach David
  • Updated 03/13/2020

The Rabid Wolf Spider, or Rabidosa rabida, possesses perhaps one of the most intimidating and frightening names a spider can have.

Fortunately, it isn’t considered rabid because of its thirst for blood or ability to pass on rabies. It was given its name due to its ability to move incredibly fast and erratically if it needs to.

Therefore, while this spider seems like it would be a threat, it’s actually a great creature to have around due to its friendlier disposition and pest control abilities.

At A Glance

Scientific Name Rabidosa rabida
Distribution North America from Maine to Florida and west to Texas
Habitat Holes and rubbish in forests and cotton fields
Size 1/2″ to 1″
Bite Non-threatening
Lifespan 1-2 years

Rabid Wolf Spider Appearance

Appearance-wise, there aren’t many features that differentiate the Rabid Wolf Spider from many of the other genus and species that exist in the wolf spider family classification.

Female Rabid Wolf Spiders grow to be 3/5″ to 1″, while males measure slightly smaller around 1/2″. Their total legspan can take them to about 3″, or slightly smaller than an adult male’s palm.

The coloration of this spider is basic but very effective in helping them blend into their surroundings. Most of its body is a light brown color, with its cephalothorax and abdomen being slightly lighter than its legs.

The back of the spider features several thick, dark brownish-black parallel lines that alternate in color from the front half to the back half that make it distinct and easy to spot.

The carapace has two prominent lines running parallel to each other, while the abdomen primarily has a single line running down the middle of it.

Additionally, these spiders have eight eyes, with four of them taking on a unique appearance similar to a mustache.

Rabid Wolf Spider in grass

Rabid Wolf Spider Habitat

While many wolf spiders are present throughout the world, the Rabid Wolf Spider is native to a specific region in North America. This region is essentially comprised of the East Coast, spanning as far west as Texas.

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No matter the state that it’s living in, these spiders usually make their home in cotton fields or wooded areas due to a combination of food availability and places to hide.

During the day, these spiders live in burrows or holes that they’ve created for themselves and cover it with debris or silk. They don’t create webs, though, as they’re hunting spiders that come out at night to feed.

While hunting, Rabid Wolf Spiders use a combination of sheer speed/agility and camouflage to hunt down or ambush their prey.

As these spiders move around a lot to hunt down their prey, they may make their way inside of your home. This isn’t as optimal an environment for them as, say, a house spider, so seeing them live inside isn’t very common.

Close-up of Rabid Wolf Spider

Rabid Wolf Spider Bite & Venom

While the word “rabid” in their name may allude to a very painful and dangerous bite, that’s actually not the case. The Rabid Wolf Spider’s venom is considered medically insignificant and almost never has serious effects.

The most that a Rabid Wolf Spider bite will result in is a few hours of minor localized pain.

Additionally, while this spider does possess the ability to bite humans, it doesn’t choose to most of the time. In fact, it’s possible to handle this spider (although it isn’t recommended) if done properly.

When left to its own devices, this spider is relatively laid-back and slow-moving. When threatened, it may throw up a threat pose, but it much prefers to use its impressive speed to flee as opposed to biting.

Camouflaged Rabid Wolf Spider in leaves

Rabid Wolf Spider Eggs & Spiderlings

The mating ritual of this spider is quite interesting. Males perform a dance to seduce the female, in addition to creating an interesting sound through the act of stridulation.

Females will then create an egg sac in their web while the male goes off to find food and another mate.

Interestingly, these egg sacs are around 1/3″ in diameter, and females drag them around with them instead of simply attaching it to their web.

As the eggs get ready to hatch, the egg sac turns from a bright white to a more muddy brown color. A single egg sac can produce between 150 and 350 spiderlings.

Newly-hatched spiderlings stay with the female on her back until they’re mature and strong enough to go off on their own and leave the web.

Female Rabid Wolf Spider carrying spiderlings

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Wolf Spider

What is a Wolf Spider?

The name spider is enough to give you the creeps, but when it is the wolf spider that is in question get ready to feel scared. These spiders have earned their name from their characteristics to stalk a prey before they eat it. These spiders resemble lone wolves, who have all the potential needed to hunt a prey and then eat it.

Picture of a Wolf Spider

The wolf spiders possess several kinds of personalities, and that is possible within the same type of species. They live their lives far away from others including their own kind. Wolf spiders come in contact with female wolf spiders during the mating season.

These spiders are highly venomous, which means they kill their prey with the venom present in their body. The venom of a wolf spider is enough to paralyze their prey. They don’t pose a lot of threat to humans unless they feel cornered and threatened. Read along to see what wolf spiders are capable of.

Size and Appearance

Wolf spiders vary from one another in size. Their size usually lies between a 1/4 inch to one and a half inches. Sometimes they grow as big as two inches.

Just like a wolf, the wolf spiders take a leap at its prey after chasing them around. The wolf spiders have as many as eight eyes distributed in three rows. There are four small eyes in the bottom row, two huge sized eyes in the middle row and on the top row; there are two more eyes which are medium sized. The wolf spiders are nothing like the other arachnids; they have a powerful vision. Their body is covered in hair which helps them to detect touch.

These spiders carry around their own eggs. The egg sac is globular in shape and hangs from the end of the abdomen, and they are connected with the spinnerets. This helps the spider carry its unborn babies everywhere it goes. No matter how many eggs the female wolf spider is carrying, it will still be fast enough to catch its prey.

The wolf spiders care for their young ones like no one. Soon after the eggs hatch, the spiderlings are born and hang on to their mother’s legs. The wolf spider is known for their camouflage body color. Their body color fits perfect with the surroundings.

The female wolf spiders are much bigger than the male wolf spiders. The body of a wolf spider is divided into two parts. One being the cephalothorax and the other is the abdomen. The reproductive and the digestive system is present in the abdomen part of the body. Just like any other spider, these come with eight legs. The legs are all connected to the cephalothorax. The front portion of the cephalothorax has the fangs, mouth, eyes, pedipalps (or the mini legs).

They can be black, orange, brown and even grey in color.

Where do the Wolf Spiders live?

The wolf spiders have the ability to survive in different types of habitats. There are as many as 2300 types of wolf spider species alone in the world. They can be found in the inlands, coastal areas, woodland, shrublands, alpine meadows, wet coastal forests, suburban gardens, as well as residential areas.

The spiderlings move in an aerial way. There are wolf spiders that have specific habitat needs like gravel beds, herb fields, and specific type of temperature. Some wolf spiders dig burrows and live inside them. There are wolf spiders that cover their nests with pebbles and leaves when the monsoon starts. This will prevent water from entering their holes.

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What does a Wolf Spider Eat?

These spiders with their excellent eyesight and fast running skills hunt down the prey. First, they locate their prey, then they attack and pounce on them. They use their jaws to bite. Their diet consists of crickets, small insects, earwigs, grasshoppers, flies, and ants.

How Dangerous are the Wolf Spiders?

Wolf spiders are known for their keen senses. They use it to protect, hunt and engage in mating. They are sensitive to vibrations which means they know when there is movement around them. They use their camouflage to hide from their preys and predators.

Wolf spiders are famous for their venom that they use to paralyze their prey. The wolf spiders flip on its back and grab its prey with all its legs. After that, they bite it with their powerful jaws to kill it.

However, they don’t bite humans unless they feel threatened. Their venom is deadly for their prey but not for humans. If you are allergic to their venom, then you may face serious symptoms otherwise it is going to hurt like a bee sting. The most common symptom is the redness along with swelling. If the symptoms get worse, get medical attention immediately.

Difference between Wolf Spiders and Brown Recluse

The Brown Recluse is commonly found in the southern east parts of the United States of America, especially in Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky. A lot of similarities exist between the brown recluse and the wolf spiders.

The Brown Recluse has a typical design on its neck which sets it apart along with its light brown color. The presence of these markings in brown recluse set them apart. They are venomous and love to live in the dark. Their venom is highly poisonous and can cause tissue damage.

However, the wolf spider is found all over the world. They have basically a brown and grey color body color and show no signs of any markings. The bite of a wolf spider is not anything serious. However, anyone suffering from wolf spider bite can experience extreme causes of muscle pain, redness, swelling, along with pain in lymph nodes. These symptoms are rare and only show in case of an allergic reaction.

Ways to Get Rid of Wolf Spiders from your Garden

Spiders are one of the creepiest creatures that live on the Earth. Especially if it has eight eyes, a hairy body, and several pairs of legs. It is scarier than we can imagine. These spiders are not a direct threat to humans; however, it is not wise to have spiders crawling around in your backyard. If you think it is time to deal with the wolf spider infestation, then follow these steps.

Start by cleaning

The first step is always easy and quite necessary. You have to start off by cleaning your garden. Get rid of mulch, compost, leaves, firewood, and grass. Wolf spiders don’t like light and love to be in the dark. Expose your garden to a lot of light. Don’t leave behind stones, empty planters, and anything they can hide in.

Install screens to cut out insects

Use fine mesh to cover every opening and vent. Anything that opens your house to the outside world should be tightly sealed. These spiders live on the ground and enter your home from vents or any other small space. So, inspect your house properly and put a screen on these places.

Change the outdoor/front light

Lights are very attractive to every kind of insect. This includes moths, flies, insects, and other such kinds. When these insects come to your home, be sure the wolf spider will follow. Turn off your front lights if it is possible. This will prevent insects from coming to your house. Keep your blinds and curtains closed. The inside light will not attract the outside insects and they will not invade your home. Bugs don’t like bulbs that have a yellowish hue, choose that for your garden. Wolf spiders leave their nests at night to hunt, cutting out their souls of food will turn them away.

Maintain cleanliness inside

Vacuum your house on a daily basis. Anything that will attract insects will bring wolf spiders to your home. Clean crumbs and other kinds of debris inside. If you find webs clean them too.

Say no to cardboard boxes

They are an open invitation to wolf spiders. Remove every cardboard box in your house and make room for airtight plastic containers. There should be no cardboard boxes in the closet, attics, or any dark corner of your house. Wolf spiders love the dark places, which will attract them to the cardboard boxes.

Wolf Spider Pictures

Take a close look at these wolf spider pictures to understand more about them:

Wolf Spider Facts

Some facts about the wolf spider that you didn’t know:

  • The wolf spider is twice as large as the wolf spider.
  • Wolf spiders have gained their name from their stalking nature. They stalk prey and pounce on it afterwards. They are sensitive to vibrations and have an excellent sight.
  • These spiders don’t live in webs. They dig burrows in the ground and live inside them.
  • The male wolf spider has more markings and is dull in color.
  • A few species of wolf spiders are capable of walking on water. They hunt the insects that live in water and easily escape their predators.

This is all that you need to know about the wolf spiders.

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