The Common House Spider

Common house spiders (Parasteatoda tepidariorum) are also known as American house spider or more commonly as just a ‘house’ spider. While there are many spiders you can find inside a home, many of those may or may not always want to be there. This arachnid actually prefers to live near to or in a humans dwelling. Even though this spider lives in such close proximity, it often comes as a surprise to the homeowner who moves some furniture and finds a well established web complete with eggs sacs and many dead insects strewn about. The common house spider is very comfortable in living with you and me.

What Does The Common House Spider Look Like?

It is fairly easy to identify a common house spider. Its appearance is most often dullish shades of brown in color with some spotting or varying patterns. Their bodies are at least a 1/4 of an inch and at most an inch in size with legs extended and are similar to the widow spiders in shape. It prefers to build its web in undisturbed areas often only inches from everyday human activity. Such areas include behind couches, under furniture, in corners of bookcases, behind doors to name just a few. A tell tale sign of the common house spider is the presence of many dead bugs on the ground just beneath the web. Once captured prey is fully consumed or gone dry, the common house spider will cut the body out of the web and allow it to fall below. A good exterminator often gets valuable information as to what’s been visiting your home by seeing what this spider has been eating.

Are Their Bites Harmful?

Just like all spiders, the common house spider only bites when threatened. This spider has a neurotoxin venom similar to the black widow but the house spider is not as venomous and very often their bites to humans are ‘dry’. Usually the most you can get from a bite is itching and swelling, but it may also trigger allergies in a more sensitive victim. This spider can live for about 1 year and a single female can produce up to 17 sacs in her lifetime and each sac can hold as many as 400 babies.

Control Of The Common House Spider

A vacuum with hose end attachment is probably the most effective and sure way to eliminate the common house spider. Residual insecticides can be used on common house spiders, but one has to make sure that the spider makes contact with the treatment or else it will be rendered ineffective. Wettable powders can help as it can be applied onto webs, where they will stick and ensure that the spider makes contact with it. Efforts to seal up the home can help but tiny spiderlings can just about be impossible to keep out of even the most sealed homes.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • Stuto1

    Just today a customer told me that her son was getting bit by spiders in his room. The house of course is a total disaster. 

  • Mel

    What’s your opinion of “spider traps”? I’ll tell you, I dislike them but not reveal why:)

  • Hate em! One reason really, – they are marketed to be the answer for the dreaded brown recluse- quite the joke. That said I do set out glue traps all the time for spiders but it’s like fishing in a large lake. I don’t know IF I’ll catch any, I don’t know WHAT KIND I’ll catch & when I leave, I’ve LEFT spiders behind to catch another day.

  • Plenty o places to set up shop in other words? ;)= Imagine that.

  • Years ago, we had an enormous spider that took up residence in our home. This spider was huge, folks. I tried, but failed to convince him to pay his share of the rent.

  • I have a feeling the story didn’t end well for the spider… lol

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  • Andrea Miller

    I just killed a spider in my home, I’m not sure what kind it was though

  • No need to panic…I’d call in a pro or send in a pic..A good ID is always the place to start… It’s most likely nothing to worry over.

  • sara

    I just moved to a new apartment on the 2nd floor in Southern California and am seeing tons of spiders – they all look the same too. I first would see them on the ceilings and where the ceiling meets the walls, but after laying down sticky traps I see them on those on the floor too. I have tried having the apartment management bring in a pest control agent to spray something, and I have even had them seal any holes with caulk. I even covered the fireplace so nothing can possibly get through there. I have no idea where these are coming from but am having a really really hard time about seeing them everywhere, and seeing new ones on the sticky traps each morning! Please help. I got a picture of one that I can send you too – please let me know where