Know Your Arachnids: Your Guide for Identifying Spiders in Virginia
There are over 40,000 different types of spiders in the world.
These eight-legged critters inspire fear in millions of people. In the United States, about 5 out of 100 people have phobias, and arachnophobia, a fear of spiders that’s so severe that it’s debilitating, is one of the leading ones.
There are multiple species of spiders that choose to make their home in Virginia due to its warmer climate. If you’ve recently moved to the commonwealth of Virginia, then odds are you’re curious about whether any of these spiders are poisonous.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the most common spider species native to Virginia.
The wolf spider is one of the largest and most common spiders in Virginia. Due to their large size and ability to move extremely fast, it’s also one of the spiders that inspires the most fear.
The venom of wolf spiders is not poisonous to humans or animals. At worst, the bite from a wolf spider can lead to redness and swelling of the affected area, as well as some slight pain.
While there are several different types of wolf spiders, they all share a few common traits. Wolf spiders have a thicker build than many other spider species, including their legs. Wolf spiders tend to live in small holes in the ground from which they spring out, and chase down their prey.
Wolf spiders are typically solid brown in color and have three rows of eyes in total. The bottom row consists of a horizontal row of four small eyes, atop which sits two larger eyes, followed by a pair of smaller eyes on the top row.
These spiders stalk their prey during the day. Similar to the wolf spider, the jumping spider is another species of hunting arachnid.
Jumping spiders stalk their prey, creeping up on the insect, then, when they are close enough, they jump and strike – hence their name. Their two front legs seize the prey and then attach an anchor line of spiderweb to prevent the food from escaping.
This species is tiny and ranges from dark brown to black, with white spots on their abdomen. They have a fuzzy appearance, and their legs are tinier than most other spiders.
Jumping spiders have eight eyes in total. They have four across the front, with an additional set of two eyes on each side. The two eyes in the center of the bunch are larger than all the others.
The black widow spider is the most infamous spider in the United States. This species is poisonous and delivers very painful bites that can require a trip to the hospital.
Black widows are among the easiest spiders to identify. The females are solid black with long legs and the underside of their abdomen is marked with a bright red hourglass shape.
Male black widows are also black, but smaller than their female counterparts. The males lack the iconic red marking, and instead may have yellow or red bands and spots on their back.
Black widows are web-spinners and prefer secluded, dark areas. It’s common to find black windows on the undersides of outdoor chairs or benches, hanging in webs in quiet corners, and sometimes, unfortunately, your shoes.
Though not poisonous, orb weaver spiders are some of the more terrifying in appearance than other species.
They get their name due to constructing large, complex webs that often have a dense zigzag or straight cluster of webbing near the center.
Orb weaver spiders are often quite large, sometimes spanning near the size of your hand when including the length of their legs. Their bodies are thick and sometimes painted in vivid colors. Many orb weavers however, are black with splashes of other bright shades like yellow on top. Their size and coloring make them appear more menacing than they are.
The crab spider is one of the more easily identifiable species. They derived their name from the appearance of their legs and their crab-like habit of shuffling sideways.
Crab spiders are another species of spider that doesn’t construct a web, but instead roams around and ambushes its prey. They do not build a lair of any sort, instead opting to take shelter wherever they can for the day.
Crab spiders tend to be a solid brownish color, but the most standard way to identify them is by the shape of their long legs that resemble crabs without claws.
They are not poisonous.
Otherwise known as a Daddy Longlegs.
Harvestman spiders are referred to as spiders, but technically speaking, they are not. The harvestman is not classified as a spider because its head, thorax, and abdomen are all fused together. The standard spider has all three of these body parts jointed. Also, the harvestman only has two eyes, instead of the standard eight.
This species is identified by its tiny body and exceptionally long legs. Their bodies tend to range from light to medium brown in color. Also, harvestmen lack fangs or venom, and, as such, are harmless to people and pets.
Harvestmen are often a welcome guest in gardens by pro-gardeners. They eat aphids, caterpillars, beetles, mites, flies, slugs, snails, and other spiders.
This bug is often one of the few that molts. Every ten days or so it will split its exoskeleton open and shed the old casings from its long legs.
Spiders in Virginia and You
There are many different kinds of spiders in Virginia. Most are harmless, though a select few are poisonous.
Most spider populations will experience a sudden increase during the spring and summer. This is when you will begin to notice spiders on the move, building webs around or within your home.
If your garden or home is overrun with spiders, you can contact a professional exterminator to take care of the problem. An expert will be able to treat your yard or home to kill any existing spiders, as well as deter any others from moving in afterward.
Contact us today to get rid of your spider problem!