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Everything you never knew about grass spiders

Grass spiders. Maybe you’ve heard of them. Maybe you’ve misidentified them as wolf spiders or hobo spiders. Either way, living in the Western United States, you’ve probably seen one. As their name suggests, they tend to hang out in the grass. However, they sometimes find their way into homes and businesses. The grass spider is a shy creature, so if you happen to spot one, don’t expect it to stay around for long. Read on to discover all you should know about this elusive arachnid.

If you have too many spiders around your home, you might have an infestation. There may also be underlying problems with other pest insects that spiders are feeding on. Either way, a Western Exterminator pest control specialist can inspect your property and help get rid of spiders and prevent their return inside your home. Contact your local Western Exterminator office today.

What do grass spiders look like?

Female grass spiders range in length from 10-20 millimeters, and males are somewhat smaller at 9-18 millimeters. The carapace, or hard upper shell, is a yellowish-brown color with two stripes running longitudinally. The abdomen is usually darker in color. Grass spiders are often confused with their similar-looking cousins the domestic house spider and the hobo spider. All three species are frequently found in West Coast homes, when they retreat from the outdoor elements.

Grass spider eggs and life cycle

The grass spider life cycle is only about one year long, with mating rituals bringing about eventual demise for both parties. The male grass spider dies shortly after mating. In the late summer or fall, female grass spiders deposit a white sac that then overwinters. The female grass spider then dies shortly after laying the egg sac. After the eggs hatch in spring, the spiders go through a series of molts, reaching adulthood in late summer.

The notorious grass spider funnel web

Grass spiders are one of the approximately 1,200 identified species within the Agelenidae family. Members of this family of spider are known for their funnel-weaving capabilities. Grass spiders and other funnel weavers construct funnel-shaped webs near to the ground in which to trap their prey. These webs are not sticky, but the way they are built makes it inherently difficult for the prey to escape. Once the prey is trapped, the grass spider can quickly crawl over and inject it with venom. The horizontal, sheet-like nature of the web also makes it a great hiding place for the spiders themselves.

In addition to hobo spiders and domestic house spiders, grass spiders can also be confused with wolf spiders, but the web is a great way to tell them apart. Wolf spiders do not spin webs, but rather live within burrows. Therefore, if you see the spider spinning a funnel web or hanging out in close proximity to one, it is likely a grass spider and not a wolf spider.

Are grass spiders poisonous?

Technically, grass spiders are not poisonous, but are venomous. They contain venom, as all spiders do, that they use to subdue their prey. Due to the small size of grass spider fangs, they have difficulty penetrating human skin. Consequently, those with thin skin (i.e. babies and the elderly) are at greater risk of a grass spider bite.

As mentioned previously, grass spiders are shy and don’t actively go out seeking humans. They may bite as a defense mechanism if they feel threatened. In the event that a grass spider does bite and is successful in penetrating the skin, the venom can cause necrotic skin lesions and bacterial infections. To be safe, it is best to let Western’s pest specialists worry about handling them and removing them from your property.

How to get rid of grass spiders

Though grass spiders aren’t a huge threat to humans, chances are, you don’t want them all over your property. Their webs can make a yard appear unkempt and neglected. Through landscaping and sanitation, the following are ways to discourage growing populations of these 8-legged pests.

  • Clean up food and beverage crumbs/remains
  • Wash dishes immediately after use
  • Do not leave pet food out for extended periods of time
  • Mow lawns frequently
  • Trim vegetation – especially near to your home or business
  • Eliminate brush piles
  • Remove webs

A dirty environment does not necessarily attract grass spiders themselves, but it does attract other insects…grass spider prey. Food crumbs and sticky residue left behind by sugary drinks are just the snacks ants, flies, and other small insects go looking for. Grass spiders are hungry too, and they’ll come after those very insects. A well-kept yard and outdoor environment will keep web construction at a minimum, discouraging grass spiders from staying on your property.

The most effective way to control grass spider populations is to call in the spider experts at Western Exterminator. Our spider removal services will have you back to living web-free in no time. Contact us today for a free property inspection.


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