Hearing the words “wolf spider” may conjure up images of a super-sized wolf-hybrid monster destroying the city. Thankfully, wolf spiders are not B-rated movie monsters come to life. They are a common arachnid found throughout the United States. What they are known for is a painful bite. However, it is not deadly. Here’s everything you never knew you needed to know about wolf spiders.
Wolf Spider Appearance
- Wolf spiders can be up to two inches in body length, with a grayish brown color that features lighter stripes.
- They have markings on their back that are similar to the Union Jack flag.
- They are hairy.
- Like all spiders, they have eight legs, but unlike other spiders, they have two pedipalps (small arm like appendages) extending from the front.
- Wolf spiders have eight eyes set in three rows.
- Mother spiders carry their young on their back.
Where to Find Wolf Spiders
You’re likely curious where wolf spiders live. They are adaptable and live where they can find insects to hunt and eat. This means you may spot them anywhere from fields, wooded areas, western coastal forests, and vegetation along bodies of water. You can even find them in suburban backyards and other home areas, like gardens and fences. Wolf spiders hunt primarily on the ground and do not spin webs.
Wolf spiders also live on every continent in the world – except Antarctica. Over 125 species of wolf spider live in the United States. They can be found in all 50 states.
Also read: Spiders Near Houston To Be Aware Of
Wolf Spider Behavior
Wolf spiders are nocturnal, hunting their prey at night. They earned their name through the way they hunt – by meticulously stalking. They’re also “lone wolves” and live solitary lives. They paralyze their prey by injecting it with their venom. They hunt common insects such as earwigs, grasshoppers, ants, and flies.
Wolf spiders are not aggressive toward humans. Often, when threatened, they just retreat. You’ll only get bitten if you’re directly handling one or provoking one.
Also read: Debunking 8 Top Spider Myths
Wolf Spider Bite and Treatment
If you’re unlucky and get bitten, you may have puncture marks that are visible. If not, look for any red or swollen areas on your body. While we’ve mentioned the bite won’t kill you, it is painful due to the venom. Once you’ve been bitten, clean the area with warm soap and water. Bandage your bite to prevent infection. If you become itchy, you may take Benadryl to counteract the irritation. You may experience more intense symptoms such as:
- Rapid pulse or heart rate
- Tissue damage (in some cases, necrosis can happen, meaning your tissue ends up dying)
Should you experience any of these severely, seek medical attention.
How to Prevent Wolf Spiders
Even though most wolf spiders do no harm, people more often would love to rid themselves of them. Proactive spider control is your best bet against wolf spiders.
- Eliminate places to hide. Wolf spiders like to burrow – so don’t give them places where they can do that. Store your belongings in containers that have a tight-fitting seal. Using wooden blinds over curtains also removes a common hiding place for spiders. Clean up the clutter in your front or backyards, because this provides another spot for wolf spiders to burrow.
- Vacuum your house. Frequently vacuuming your home is a sure-fire way to prevent baby wolf spiders from growing into adults with large, venomous fangs.
- Kill the other bugs in your house. Wolf spiders prey on smaller insects, so the less other pests you have means less food for the wolf spider.
- Clean with lemon juice. Wolf spiders hate lemon juice – so if your furniture and belongings are cleaned with it, they’re more likely to stay away.
- Seal cracks in holes in your house. Focus on areas near the ground, and around doors and windows, and you’ll prevent an entry.
Also read: Tips for Spider Proofing Your Home
While wolf spiders aren’t lethal, their bite is painful, and can generally cause a nuisance. Being informed of their behavior and characteristics can should you come face to face with one. You can also prevent coming in to contact with them with our advice. However, if you take these measures and continue to find wolf spiders and other pests in and around your home, don’t fret. There are still other methods of wolf spider extermination. Enrolling in our Healthy House Program guarantees a clean and safe home. Join today and save $50 on the program!