How Poisonous Is A Wolf Spider?

Wolf Spiders and Their Bite

The wolf spider is very common in the U.S. In fact, scientists have identified more than 125 species of wolf spider in the U.S. alone. Although its large size (up to 2 inches long) causes fear in many people, its bite is not truly deadly. On the other hand, the wolf spider is considered to be one of the most dangerous spiders in the world!

9 Things You Need to Know About Wolf Spiders

What the Wolf Spider Looks Like

The wolf spider can range from 1/2 inch to two inches long. Like wolves, they chase and leap on their prey. Here are some characteristics that make it a little different from other spiders:

  • It is hairy and orangish-brown to gray and black with splotches or stripes that give it a camouflage look.
  • The eight eyes of the wolf spider are set in three rows of three different sizes, with two medium-sized eyes on top of its «head,» two large eyes center front, and four small eyes below those.
  • Like all spiders, it has eight legs. But the wolf spider also has an additional two tiny leg- or arm-like appendages (pedipalps) extending out front.
  • The young of this species look much the same as the adults, although their coloring may vary or change as they grow.
  • Mother spiders may sometimes be seen with the young riding on their backs until these spiders are independent enough to go off on their own.

Wolf Spider Habitat

Wolf spiders may live just about anywhere that they can find insects on which to feed. They are most likely to be found on the ground in open areas, such as farm fields and grassy areas or harboring in firewood or ground tunnels, and under leaf piles or other ground clutter.

In some areas, this spider can be a very common pest in the fall when it is seeking shelter» against the cooling temperatures.

In the home, the wolf spider is most likely to be found around doors, windows and house plants, and in basements and garages. When outside, they dig or move into burrows or leaf litter.​

Wolf Spider Behavior

This solitary spider hunts on the ground, which is how it has earned two other names: ground spider and hunting spider. In fact, unlike most spider species, Ithe wolf spider does not build webs to capture its prey but goes out at night to hunt it down. It can run, climb and swim, but rarely does unless hunting prey.

Unlike the orb-weaver spider, which operates primarily by feel, the wolf spider uses its vision to communicate. For example, when a spider waves its front legs to another wolf spider, the second spider knows exactly what is meant.

The Bite of the Wolf Spider

Wolf spiders are not aggressive, and will not bite unless frightened or provoked. Although the wolf spider’s bite is not deadly, it can be very painful.

Warning

Some people may also be allergic to the bite of this or any spider, so you should always seek the attention/treatment by a doctor anytime you are bitten.

Controlling the Wolf Spider

It is fairly difficult to eradicate wolf spiders because they must be directly contacted through physical or chemical means. Because this is a solitary spider that generally operates alone, physical removal and/or kill off the individual spider can be the best form of control and elimination.

To help exclude spiders from entering the home, seal cracks, crevices, gaps and other openings in the home structure, foundation, and around doors and windows. Discarding piles of old papers and boxes and keeping the home clean can help to reduce shelter and harborage which the spiders seek.

In addition to environmental and structural modifications and sanitation, the Washington State University Extension Service recommends the indoor use of an aerosol bomb or fogger to reduce existing spiders. WSU notes, however, that this «will not provide residual control for insect coming in later. The pesticide also may not penetrate inaccessible areas.»

For outdoor control, the university states, «Cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, permethrin, tetramethrin or deltamethrin can be applied around the outside of doors, window, vents, outdoor stairwells or window wells, foundations, or cracks and openings. Spray only where needed.»

When using any pesticide, read and follow all label directions; be sure that the site (indoor use, along foundations outside, etc.) is listed on the label; and use only products labeled for spiders or nuisance pests. You also may want to contact a pest control professional who may use or recommend a variety of chemical or non-chemical control methods in an Integrated Management Program (IPM).

www.thespruce.com

Are Wolf Spiders Poisonous?

More than 200 species of wolf spiders are native to North America, so it’s likely that you’ve encountered this eight-legged creature at one time or another.

These spiders have earned their name due to their tendency to stalk their prey before capturing them. True “lone wolves” among spiders, these solitary arachnids live and hunt on their own. In fact, they do not socialize with other wolf spiders unless it’s mating season (fall). Yet, while wolf spiders may be an intimidating threat to other insects, are they dangerous to people?

See also:  What Does A Brown Recluse Spider Web Look Like?

Wolf spiders are not poisonous. But they are venomous. There is a difference. However, that does not necessarily mean they are of much danger to humans. Wolf spiders produce a venom designed to paralyze their prey (normally a small crawling insect), but, in the case of the wolf spider, this venom is not especially toxic to human beings. Generally speaking, a wolf spider bite is no more dangerous or painful than a bee sting. Typical reactions to a wolf spider bite include initial pain and redness, but both symptoms gradually subside in most people. In fact, medical histories hold no records of serious consequences resulting from a wolf spider bite. On rare occasions, however, people have been known to have an allergic reaction.

Do Wolf Spiders Bite?

Wolf spiders bite, but they don’t often bite humans. When threatened, these spiders prefer to retreat. Wolf spider bites are most likely to occur if you are directly handling one or should one become trapped next to your skin.

How Big Are Wolf Spiders?

Wolf spiders come in many sizes and can grow to be quite large. They range from a quarter of an inch to about one and a half inches in length.

Because they are often brown, wolf spiders are sometimes confused with the brown recluse spider. However, wolf spiders do not sport the characteristic, violin-shaped marking that brown recluses do. Wolf spiders do have leg band markings, which brown recluse spiders do not have. If you spy a large, dark, fast-moving spider scurrying across your floor, it’s likely a wolf spider.

Where Are Wolf Spiders Found?

Wolf spiders can be found worldwide. They commonly live in grasslands and meadows, but they may also live in mountains, rainforests, wetlands and deserts. Some wolf spiders hide in vegetation or fallen leaves while others burrow in soil, or build tunnels under – or between — boards, stones, firewood and even your home’s siding.

Wolf spiders may also venture into homes in the fall when they’re looking for a warm place to spend the winter and raise their young. In domestic environments, they can often be found around houseplants, doors, windows, basements and in garages. However, you won’t be able to detect the presence of wolf spiders by looking for webs. Wolf spiders produce silk, but mostly for the purpose of creating egg sacs. They are nocturnal hunters that usually only come out of hiding after sunset to pursue and ambush their prey.

What Should You Do If You See a Wolf Spider?

To help avoid being bitten, refrain from touching or picking up a wolf spider. You should also avoid squishing it as doing so may cause the release of hundreds of spiderlings.

Should you find that wolf spiders are frequent invaders of your home, or that their local populations have gotten out of control, you can always contact a pest control professional for assistance. At Terminix®, we have decades of experience helping homeowners put their spider problems behind them.

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Does a Wolf Spider Bite?

If you’ve ever come across a wolf spider around your home, the encounter was probably memorable. Some people find these giant spiders beautiful and unique, while others shiver at the sight of them. Wolf spiders can also be mistaken for tarantulas, due to the fact each species has a thick, hairy body and an intimidating presence.

Though they may appear menacing, wolf spiders are beneficial organisms. Their diet consists of a variety of pests that might otherwise find their way into your home.

When Does a Wolf Spider Bite?

In general, and despite their menacing appearance, wolf spiders do not pose much of a threat to human beings. While they may be fast and aggressive when hunting their insect prey, they don’t usually bite people unless provoked.

If you do come across a wolf spider, its first impulse will probably be to retreat. If you pursue or attempt to trap it, however, and the spider feels threatened, it will be much more likely to strike back in defense. You may also want to squish it, but you shouldn’t as hundreds of spiderlings may run away from their squished mothers.

A wolf spider bite may be painful but should not be dangerous for healthy adults. This is because the venom has low neurotoxic action, therefore it should not do much damage. However, sensitive individuals such as children, elderly and people with compromised immune systems may have some form of negative reaction.

Wolf Spider Facts

There are as many as 3,000 species of wolf spiders on record. North American wolf spiders generally range in size from 0.25 inches to 1.5 inches in size, and they are mostly brown and sometimes black in color. They have eight eyes arranged in three rows. Note: Spider eye arrangement is a key taxonomy feature.

Wolf Spider Habits

There are a variety of wolf spider species. Some wolf spider species live in underground burrows while the majority of them are found in the landscape. They can often be found lurking in areas of the yard that provide cover or protection, including:

  1. In leaf piles and around plants or shrubs
  2. In tall or dense grass
  3. Under rocks, stacks of wood or landscaping timbers

Wolf spiders emerge to capture insects but do not trap their prey by spinning webs. Wolf spiders are hunters and find their dinner by sight or vibration. They will often ambush and pounce on their prey, which can range from crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, ants and even other spiders.

Unlike their four-legged namesakes, wolf spiders do not hunt in packs. They are solitary creatures that also don’t care to engage with people.

If you encounter one inside your home, chances are it has come in to escape extreme temperatures outdoors or because it’s following another insect in. Wolf spiders try to move through rooms inconspicuously and at floor level. They can do this by crawling along walls or under furniture.

Treatment for Wolf Spider Bites

If you are bitten by a wolf spider, don’t panic. The area surrounding the bite may become painful and inflamed. The Mayo Clinic recommends taking the following measures to lessen the discomfort:

  1. Wash the bite area with soap and warm water and keep the wound clean
  2. Place an ice pack or cool cloth on the wound to help reduce pain and swelling
  3. Elevate the wound if it’s on the arm
  4. Take over-the-counter medications for swelling and itching. You can also use aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling.

It’s always a good idea to consult a doctor if you are concerned about your health after a spider bite or if the wound is not healing properly.

Controlling Wolf Spiders

Here are some simple steps you can take outside of your home to help prevent a wolf spider infestation:

  1. Clear vegetation from around the perimeter of your house.
  2. Remove yard debris such as wood, rock and lumber piles.
  3. Seal any cracks or holes near your home’s foundation and around windows and doors.
  4. Keep exterior lighting to a minimum if possible, as light attracts the insects that wolf spiders like to eat.
See also:  What Does An Infected Spider Bite Look Like?

To help control wolf spider activity inside your home, take the following measures:

  1. Make sure weather stripping under your exterior doors forms a good seal.
  2. Use sealed plastic storage containers to help protect belongings in your attic and garage and keep spiders out.
  3. Vacuum your house at least once a week.
  4. Clean up food scraps and crumbs that can lure insects, which, in turn, can attract wolf spiders.
  5. Use caulk to seal small gaps under baseboards and in corners.

If your wolf spider control measures don’t seem to be working, or you want the help of a professional from the start, Terminix® can help.

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Spiders. Those eight-legged arachnids. Who needs them? Sure, they eat pests like flies and mosquitoes, but what’s so special about that? Well, take a closer look at these little creatures, and you’ll discover there’s more to them than meets the eye.

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FIND IT FAST

  • Home
  • The Buzz
  • Learn About Pests
  • Site Map
  • Accessibility Statement

TERMINIX

  • Terminix Canada ®
  • Corporate Information
  • Privacy
  • Terms of Use
  • Careers

SERVICEMASTER

  • ServiceMaster Home
  • AmeriSpec ®
  • Furniture Medic ®
  • MerryMaids ®
  • ServiceMaster Clean ®
  • ServiceMaster Restore ®

CONTACT US

OTHER SITES

By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies to analyze website traffic and improve your experience on our website. Learn more about the types of cookies we use by reviewing our updated Privacy Policy.

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