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Insects of Arizona: the giant crab spider

The giant crab spider is also known as Olios giganteus. Although Olios translates as “baleful and deadly,” it is not deadly or even particularly dangerous. It does have a painful bite, however.

As expected, giganteus translates as “very large.” In fact, they are among the largest spiders that Western Exterminator encounters, as their leg spans usually exceed 2 inches.

There are a lot of rumors about giant crab spiders, such as the species having a deadly bite. However, the species of crab spider covers a wide variety of spiders. In fact, there are more than 2,100 species of crab spider and 175 genera.

A spider that looks like a crab

There are a number of possible origins for the crab spider name it has earned. For example, some spider species earned the “crab” nickname due to their ability to quickly move sideways. It can also climb smooth walls relatively easily as compared to other types of spiders such as the wolf spider – another species that Arizona pest control specialists come across regularly.

Another way to distinguish this species from others is the fact that giant crab spiders tend to extend their thick and hairy legs at right angles to the rest of their bodies. This feature provides it with a crab-like appearance as well.

Crab spider

Crab spiders in the tropics

Interestingly, giant crab spiders are a tropical species. However, these insects live in high numbers throughout the Southwest as well. They are usually found near saguaros or rocks or in homes.

Giant crab spiders are usually active at night as they tend to hide in cracks and crevices during the day. When they are out and about, these spiders tend to use camouflage to blend into their surroundings and grab insects that wander nearby.

Spiders who trap prey

Crab spiders do not build webs nearly as much as other spiders. There are a wide variety of spiders that get classified as crab spiders, and some of them build webs, but most of them are solitary hunters who will use their webbing to drop lines that entangle prey. Others just wander and will sneak up on prey. There is even a species of crab spider (Misumena vatia) that can change color to blend in with flowers and their background.

Crab spiders will use their venom to paralyze prey, using their large front legs to hold them in place and then feed.

Crab spider eating a fly

Signs of crab spider infestations

Crab spiders have a very special skill in not being seen. Some of them even blend into whatever background is behind them. However, there are signs of a potential giant crab spider infestation. Most of the time, the spiders themselves are the sign you could have an infestation. Since giant crab spider webs are not usually a problem homeowners have to deal with, spotting the arachnids is the best bet in finding them.

Generally speaking, a crab spider infestation happens outside the home. Very rarely do they end up inside a home. This means they do not usually pose much of a risk to people inside the home. A spider infestation can be an indication of another problem, however, since they must be finding insects they want to eat around your home.

Crab spider sitting on flower

Western Exterminator will help get rid of crab spiders

At Western Exterminator, we train our specialists to find crab spiders and find the root cause of the crab spider infestation. We know where they hide and can see through their disguises to find where they are and help you get rid of crab spiders and prevent crab spiders from returning.

Western Exterminator offers pest control in Tucson, Phoenix, Prescott, and other areas throughout Arizona. Fortunately, giant crab spiders are generally docile and only attack humans if they feel threatened. And they do tend to get rid of the more annoying pests that may have made their way into your home. However, if you have a problem with these spiders or any other pests, don't hesitate to contact Western Exterminator at 800-937-8398.

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