With a little under 4000 different species of spiders in the United States alone, spider identification can be quite difficult. You’ll hear names like ‘house spider’ and ‘cobweb spider’ tossed around frequently and out of context. The truth is, house spiders and cobweb spiders are actual species, not generalizations. This page is geared towards identifying the most common spiders in the United States (in no particular order):
Black Widow – Shiny black with a red hourglass on its abdomen. It is only the females who have a dangerous bite. They like to hide in shoes left outside (seriously), under rocks, between bricks, and will not usually get inside. They make very messy webs.
Brown Recluse – This a brown spider that has a horrible painful bite. On its back is the signature violin pattern. They do not build webs and will reproduce very fast inside of a home.
Daring Jumping Spider – Black, small and furry. It’s pretty fast and curious too. May have a white spot on its abdomen.
Yellow Sac Spider – Yellow or green bodied spider that can be found running around outside. This spider is responsible for more bites than any other spider in the United States.
Wolf Spider – Large brown spider with a tan strip running across its carapace. Does not construct webs and sometimes mothers can be seen carrying live babies on her back.
Cellar Spider – Translucent tan color, very long legs and skinny abdomen. They make messy webs in the corners of your home.
Nursery Web Spider – Looks just like a wolf spider except the females can be seen carrying eggs with their mouth parts. They are prominent around creeks and bodies of water. Does not usually get inside the house.
Garden Spiders – Black and yellow with white in between. This spider is huge and terrifying. They build large webs between shrubbery to catch and eat crickets.
We’ve skimmed the surface briefly. Spiders belonging to the order Agriope are very common as well, but because there are so many subspecies, it is impossible to provide a unique description. Spiders in the Agriope order build webs around eaves, windows, and below decking. They have a bulbous abdomen and vary in colors of orange, red, black, yellow, etc. The legs are usually striped as well.