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Seattle Pest Control and Home Services: What spiders are venomous in the Pacific Northwest?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What spiders are venomous in the Pacific Northwest?

First of all, every spider is capable of producing venom, but not all spiders pose a threat.  Just because a spider looks big and creepy, does not mean that it can actually hurt you.  In fact, most people will tell you that the typical Daddy Long Legs spider is the most poisonous spider in the world, but its fangs are not long enough to pierce a humans skin.  This "fact" is actually completely untrue.  Their fangs are too short to do any harm, but they are not venomous to humans and not even really insects for that matter.

So, don't believe everything that you hear. 

Luckily, here in the Puget Sound area, we really do not have too many spiders that we need to worry about.  They are kind of gross and you may want a pest control company to come and get rid of them anyway, but the purpose of this article is to inform you of how rare "poisonous" spiders are in our area and help you to identify these spiders when you see them.  So, let's get started:

Black Widow Spider:  Most people know what a Black Widow Spider is or at least have heard about them.  They are not common in our area, but can be brought here from warmer climates to the south of us.  In all my time in pest control up here, I have only come across a handful of these types of spiders in the past decade.  There are quite a few sub-species of black widow spiders that you will not need to worry about that have a large rear end.  Sometimes they will even have a white hourglass marking on them that is indicative of a male Black Widow.  However, these spiders are not the poisonous types.  What you will want to look for is the prominent red hourglass shape on the underneath side of the abdomen.  They will usually hang around under furniture or in other dark places.  If you see a spider that fits this description, I would recommend giving us a call, but again, they are very rare.

Brown Recluse Spider:  These types of spiders are also very rare and typically are found in the southeast areas of the United States.  You will want to look for a few distinguishing marks that will let you know if have a Brown Recluse.  They have a prominent "violin" shape marking on their back and are often called a "Fiddle back" because of this.  This in itself, is not enough to determine if it is in fact a Brown Recluse because other non-poisonous spiders have similar markings.  Also, if you get close enough, a Brown Recluse has only 3 eyes (most spiders have 8).

Hobo Spider:  If you are going to worry about a spider, this is the only one that is somewhat common to this area.  They are large, brownish spiders that can do some damage with their bites.  Typically, they are identified by a V shaped pattern on its back.  They also do not have different colors on the joints of their legs like most spiders do and they have a lighter colored stripe running down their sternum.  They are easily mistaken for what is known as a "Giant House Spider".  These creepy spiders are about the same size as a Hobo Spider and look remarkably similar.  In fact, in treating for Hobo spiders, I would say 3 out of the 4 times people think they are seeing a Hobo, they are actually seeing a non-poisonous Giant House Spider.  Either way, they are definitely creepy and should be treated since they are hard to tell the difference between the two without looking under a microscope.

Most people choose to have treatment for spiders because they creep them out, but it is important to know that most spiders cannot typically hurt you.  If you don't care if they can hurt you or not and just want them gone, please give me a call.  Also, if you have a spider that you think might be one of the spiders listed above, you can send me an email with a picture and I will help you identify it.  If you have any questions or need any other help, we would love to assist you.


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  2. Thanks for this great post, i find it very interesting and very well out and put together. I look forward to reading your work in the future.
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  3. Hi,
    I live in western NY, and although normally not a place for poisonous spiders. I do believe i may have inadvertently imported the poisonous Hobos into my home. ANY and ALL help you can give me with identifying the specimens I have bravely caught would mean more than you know. I can forward pics to you or mail you the sample.. Lol
    Thank you

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