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Harmless or Deadly? How to Identify Common Spiders

Find a giant furry spider nestled in your backpacking gear? It is Spring and spiders are coming out of hiding to eat and breed. Before you dig out your backpacking gear from the closet or garage, you might want to know how to identify what spiders are harmful.

You can probably tell the difference between a Black Widow and a common Daddy Longlegs spider. However, can you distinguish a Brown Recluse from a Common House Spider?

Depending on where you live, this infographic by Pest Control Experts shows how to recognize common house spiders that are common to the United States. Familiarize yourself with it before getting too close to any eight-legged spiders that may emerge from your backpacking gear.

common us house spiders
Source: Pest Control Experts

Refer to Reliable Sources of Information about Spiders

While pest control sites might be helpful for identifying spiders, they are motivated to scare you. In the United States, we recommend you check your local University Extension website for reliable information about venomous spiders that are unique to your area.

Most spiders are beneficial, and you should not kill them!

Spiders are misunderstood and feared because of the rare occasion of a venom incident – yet few spiders can bite us because they are unable to pierce our skin with their fangs. In reality, the majority of the spiders that can bite people have venom that is harmless to humans. Two notable exceptions in the United States are the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow. At a minimum, learn how to identify these two spiders.

Overall, spiders are beneficial because they provide natural (and free!) pest control for your home and yard. Before blasting them with pesticide, squishing them, or getting hysterical, learn how to identify them – particularly the Brown Recluse and Black Widow in the U.S.

And remember: Be kind to nature.

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