Wolf spiders belong to the family Lycosidae, and they are one of the best known spider groups due to their relatively large size, hairy body, and tendency to enter residential homes, especially during the fall and winter seasons. Wolf spiders are not your typical house spiders, as many species are commonly mistaken for tarantulas, and unlike cobweb weaving house and cellar spiders, wolf spiders do not build webs for catching prey. However, like all spider species, wolf spiders produce silk which they use to construct a globular sac for the purpose of egg transport. Females put significant time and energy into creating egg sacs, and they constantly carry their eggs on their back everywhere they go until hatching. This is impressive considering that wolf spiders are solitary hunters that never stop moving in pursuit of insect prey. It is because of their virtually ceaseless mobility that they often wander into homes inadvertently, especially when chasing insects. According to a recent nationwide survey of pest management professionals, wolf spiders were the most commonly controlled spiders within homes and buildings during the 2016 year.
Wolf spiders have an intimidating appearance that make their indoor presence intolerable to most homeowners, so it is no surprise that wolf spiders are the most commonly controlled spider pests within homes. Wolf spiders rarely invade homes in large numbers, but they may become prevalent in homes that contain high numbers of their insect prey. Wolf spiders are also known for invading Houston homes during the fall and winter seasons in order to overwinter in warm shelter, and despite their frightening appearance, most wolf spider species are rather shy and will not bite unless provoked or mishandled. The largest wolf spider species in the US, the Carolina wolf spider (Hogna carolinensis) is common in and around Houston, and they are easy to recognize for the two stripes situated above an almond-shaped design located on the top side of their similarly shaped abdomen. Carolina wolf spider females are between 1 and 1 ½ inches in body length, not including the legs, and they are often spotted carrying egg sacs. Another wolf spider species frequently found within Houston homes is commonly known as the tiger wolf spider (Tigrosa aspersa), and they are unusual for behaving relatively aggressively toward humans, more apt to inflict bites than other wolf spider species. Although wolf spider bites are tremendously painful to their proportionally large fangs, their venom is harmless to humans.
Have you ever encountered a wolf spider within your home?