Spider problem

Asked October 10, 2017, 10:29 PM EDT

Please tell me what kind of spider this is? And if it's poisonous? And how to get rid of them? We've killed 5 about this size in the matter of two days I'm concerned. My daughter is only 10 months old and she stills crawls I want to get rid of this problem as soon as possible.

Gates County North Carolina

1 Response

Thank you for your question. Identifying a spider based on a photograph alone can be very difficult. Some species have very distinct markings that make identification easy, but, for most spiders, you have to be able to at least examine them under a dissecting microscope to see all of the characteristics necessary to make a positive identification. Your spider is one of those that you need to be able to examine.

I can tell you it is one of the wolf spiders in the family Lycosidae. Most likely in the genus Hogna or Tigrosa, and possibly Tigrosa georgicola.

Most wolf spiders do not utilize a spider web to capture prey. They are primarily ambush hunters who sit and wait for insect prey to wander by, and then they rush out and bite their prey. If no prey wander by, then they will move to another location and wait. Most are active at night or near dawn or dusk, but some are active during the day. Some wolf spiders build burrows.

Some wolf spider females takes very good care of her egg sac, carrying it along with her until the spiderlings hatch. Then they crawl up on to her back, remaining there for a week or so until they finish their development, and then they disperse, and are on their own.

Like most spiders, the wolf spiders are venomous, but, unless you just happen to be allergic to their venom, like some people are allergic to bee stings, their bite is not considered to pose a serious health risk to humans. It has been compared to a bee or wasp sting. They are generally not aggressive to humans, and only bite if provoked. They usually just try to escape.

Here's a link to the University of Kentucky's Dept. of Entomology's webpage on wolf spiders. They discuss wolf spiders found in Kentucky, and North Carolina has some of the same species. There's also just some good general information on wolf spiders on the page, as well:

http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CritterFiles/casefile/spiders/wolf/wolf.htm

An excellent, and relatively inexpensive, field guide for spiders in North Carolina is:

Gaddy, L.L. (2009). Spiders of the Carolinas. Duluth: Kollath + Stensaas Publishing.

It doesn't feature every spider that occurs in the Carolinas, but covers most of the common species.

As far as controlling these spiders, if you can catch them in a jar , then you can release them outside. For longer term treatment, here's a link to a NC Cooperative Extension site that discusses control techniques:
https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Urban/spiders.htm

Hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim