It’s that time of year that most of us put up Halloween decorations, including fake spiderwebs and plastic creepy crawlies. But most of us are surprised and perhaps alarmed to find the real deal lurking around our homes!

Spiders are a common sight in California homes, and while many people are quick to jump to conclusions about their venomous nature, the reality is that most spiders found indoors are harmless. Let’s take a closer look at some of the common spiders you might encounter distinguish between the venomous and benign species.

1. Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus hesperus). The infamous black widow spider is perhaps the most feared arachnid in California. Recognizable by its glossy black color and the characteristic red hourglass marking on its abdomen, the black widow is indeed venomous. However, bites are relatively rare, and fatalities are extremely uncommon due to the development of antivenom. Black widows tend to stay hidden and are not aggressive unless provoked. They prefer dark, secluded areas, so be cautious when reaching into dark corners or crevices.

2. Brown Widow Spider (Latrodectus geometricus). The brown widow is a close relative of the black widow and can also be found in California. It typically has a mottled brown color with an orange hourglass shape on its abdomen. While the brown widow is venomous, its bite is usually less severe than that of the black widow. This spider is less aggressive and more likely to retreat when disturbed.

3. Western Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus). Another member of the widow family is the western black widow, which is distinct from the more well-known southern black widow. The western black widow can be identified by its black coloration and red markings on the abdomen. Like other widows, its bite is venomous, but the effects are usually not life-threatening.

4. False Black Widow (Steatoda grossa). The false black widow is often mistaken for the more dangerous black widow. These spiders have a similar shape and coloration but lack the distinctive red hourglass marking. False black widows are not considered highly venomous, and their bites are generally less severe than those of true black widows. They are commonly found in dark, sheltered areas.

5. Common House Spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum). The common house spider is one of the most frequently encountered arachnids in California. These spiders are small, brown, and possess a haphazard web. They are completely harmless to humans and primarily feed on other insects, making them beneficial houseguests.

6. Daddy Longlegs (Pholcidae). Daddy longlegs are not true spiders but are often confused with them. They have long, spindly legs and tiny bodies. These arachnids are not venomous to humans and are more interested in consuming other pests, such as flies and mosquitoes. Let them stick around and clean up for you!

The risk of being bitten by a venomous spider and experiencing severe effects is relatively low. Most spiders found in and around homes are harmless and actually help control other pest populations. But if you come across a spider you can’t identify, it’s best to exercise caution and avoid provoking it. If you suspect a spider infestation, call us for professional pest control service so we can safely manage the situation. Remember that in most cases, spiders are more of a help than a hazard in your home.