Domestic House Spider

Domestic House Spider Scientific Name: Tegenaria domestica

All about the Domestic House Spider

Several species of the House Spider exist, but can generally be placed in two categories:  the Domestic House Spider or Giant House Spider. Known as the Domestic House Spider, Lesser House Spider, Drain Spider, or Barn Funnel Weaver, it is known for – you guessed it – shacking up in houses.

Domestic House Spider Identification

Close relatives of the Hobo Spider, Domestic House Spiders have similar coloring and size, ranging from ¼ to ¾ inches with dark orange, brown, beige, or gray coloring. Distinguishable markings include long, dull longitudinal stripes on the cephalothorax and an argyle-looking pattern on the abdomen. The eyes of the Domestic House Spider are in such a configuration to allow the spider to move agilely and watch for predators or prey from its front and sides. The domestic House Spider has eight eyes, with six facing forward and two on the sides of the head. These spiders will also shy away from light, as they are photosensitive.

Domestic House Spider Habitat

Domestic House Spiders are thought to be native to Europe, then introduced to the Americas by cargo ships during the Napoleanic wars. Concentrated to Europe and the Pacific Northwest, various species of House Spiders have been found worldwide.

Known as the Funnel Weaver, the Domestic House Spider spins a funnel-shaped web that consists of multiple silk threads spun over a flat surface. The funnel web is most often found indoors tucked away in the corners of windows and ceilings. Females spend most of their time in the web while males and immature spiders leave it to search for other females or nesting sites. The spider will reside in the narrow end of the web and come out to attack its prey (insects and other arthropods) and drag it in as it approaches the opening of the web.

Domestic House Spider Lifespan

If left undisturbed, Domestic House Spiders can live as long as seven years in the same web in places like attics, basements, and garages. When outside, female Domestic House Spiders die in the cold and males rarely live longer than a year.

The web of the Domestic House Spider may be home to both a male and female spider where they mate repeatedly while coupled over the course of several weeks. After mating, males do not live long and are sometimes eaten by the female.

Domestic House Spider Bites

Domestic House Spiders are not aggressive, and tend to stay away from larger creatures like humans. The spider will stay in the funnel part of its web and shy away if its web is broken or disturbed. If disturbed enough, the Domestic House Spider will bite, injecting a venom that is both neuro- and necro-toxic (it can affect tissue cells and inflict systemic symptoms). The bite of a Domestic House Spider is known to leave considerable and localized pain and cause small lesions around the bitten area. Most healthy adults will exhibit no symptoms from a Domestic House Spider bite, whether or not the spider injects venom. As with other spider bites, though, young children and the elderly may show more serious symptoms like discomfort and fatigue. No medical attention is needed for a Domestic House Spider bite, but iodine can be applied to the wound to help it heal and avoid allowing the lesion to spread.

If handling the spider for identification, it can be easily trapped inside a cup and released outside, but care should still be taken in case a female is protecting her egg sacs. In this case, she may become aggressive.

Domestic House Spider Control

The Domestic House Spider’s habitat is concentrated to close, undisturbed places like cellars, sheds, garages, basements, closets, and storage rooms. The House Spider also prefers to spin its funnel into corners. Most Domestic House Spider control will be concentrated to the indoors, but exclusion methods are the best preventative measures for keeping these spiders out of the house in the first place. Where numerous spiders are seen, a professional should be contacted to inspect your home and recommend treatment. Professional treatments may include, but are not limited to some of the following common measures:

  1. Pesticides applied inside and out have been known to be effective when targeting the Domestic House Spider. Pesticides will be applied to any holes, cracks, or other openings in which the spider may reside.
  2. Pre-Baited Traps have been known to be most effective against Domestic House Spiders when placed near home entrances such as exterior doors and windows.
  3. Dust Pesticides work well for controlling Domestic House Spiders indoors. Dusts are able to penetrate hard to reach spaces such as wall voids and cracks.

DIY Domestic House Spider Control

Domestic House Spiders can be easily rid of by keeping your house, inside and out, clear of webs and clutter. If you spot a Domestic House Spider, it can be easily caught by placing a cup under it. The spider will most likely shy away into a corner and scrunch up into a ball; release the spider outside, away from entrances:

  1. Habitat Elimination: Clean and dust behind furniture, in closets, under baseboards, and other indoor areas focusing on areas that are seldom used. Keep vegetation and mulches from touching the exterior of your home and vacuum or dust corners to eliminate any of the spiders’ webs.
  2. Exclusion:  Seal holes where pipes enter the house, as well as any cracks or openings in the foundation or around windows and doors. Install tight-fitting screens and weather stripping around doors and windows.

The Domestic House Spider is a spider that should not be feared, but can nonetheless be a serious pest. Because this species chooses to reside indoors, its cobwebs can become cumbersome and if left unchecked the Domestic House Spider can become a problem inside.  Keep your home dusted and vacuumed, sweeping away cobwebs anywhere they’re found. Remember to dust areas seldom used like shelves, closets, and windowsills. The bite of the Domestic House Spider is typically harmful, but should be avoided using the above control measures all the same.