The wolf spider is not harmful to humans, unlike the black widow and brown recluse. It is more of a nuisance pest because of their sometimes nasty appearance. They have tiny hairs all over their body and are hunters and will chase their prey down like a wolf. Because of these characteristics, they are called wolf spiders.
They will enter buildings such as homes in search of prey. They are often found indoors and once inside, they tend to stay there living near ground level along walls and furniture. To properly eliminate a wolf spider infestation, it is good to use glue-boards indoors near areas where spiders have been seen; usually near walls, objects, under furniture, and near thresholds.
The black widow is most recognized for the red hourglass shape on its abdomen, which is not always present. The black widow is usually hidden during the day in a dark place near her web, but they can be identified by their chaotic web, which is strong enough to ensnare leaves and often will. Only the female is venomous, but her venom contains a neurotoxin that causes swelling at the site, pain that is instant, but reaches its maximum 1-3 hours after contact. Other effects include the increase of body temperature and blood pressure, profuse sweating, and nausea.
Standard spider control should be sufficient, but it is important to use caution when eliminating these spiders. It is also important to eliminate all nests and egg sacs to take care of the infestation fully.
The brown recluse or violin spider, widely known for its venomous properties, is a very common pest throughout the United states. They have a cyto-toxic venom, which destroys tissue near the site of the bite leaving a painful, lingering wound. The wound can be identified by a dry, blue-gray or blue-white, irregular sinking patch with ragged edges and surrounding redness – termed the “red, white, and blue sign.” There is an antitoxin, but it is not available so healing may take several weeks or require surgery.
A brown recluse will live anywhere inside the home that is virtually undisturbed, which means storage areas etc. are likely homes. Make sure to check any area with wood mulch. Place glue boards in areas where spiders have been spotted especially close to a general treatment, as the population will try to relocate. The control of severe infestations can take months or more.