Wolf spider

(family Lycosidae)

Identification

Wolf spiders, (family Lycosidae) are robust, ground dwelling spiders. These spiders are various shades of brown, with light and dark brown stripes along their back. These spiders also have excellent eyesight, with eight eyes arranged in three rows. Wolf spiders use their superior eyesight to actively hunt on the ground rather than spin webs and wait for prey. Female spiders can sometimes be seen with large silken egg sacs on their abdomen. Often these spiders are mistaken for the Brown Recluse spider, however wolf spiders have longitudinal stripes that run the full length of their body, whereas brown recluse spiders have a rounded, fiddle shaped mark on their back. The legs of wolf spiders are also thicker and more robust, while brown recluse legs are long and thin.

 

Habits

Wolf spiders can occasionally wander into homes and buildings in their search for prey, however they are typically not aggressive towards people. If provoked or threatened, they can retaliate with a painful bite, but their venom is mild and only result in swelling and itching at the location of the bite. In many cases, wolf spiders are beneficial in lawns and gardens, as they will hunt and eat insects that may harm your garden or invade your home.

One neat trick you can try to see if you have wolf spiders hunting in your lawn is to look for their eyeshine at night. Take a flashlight (LED lights work best) shine it down across the grass. If there are any spiders, you will see bright points of light reflecting back at you. This eyeshine is produced from the reflection of your flashlight off the spider’s eyes. The eyeglow reflection only reflects directly back at its source (your flashlight) so it is best to hold the flashlight up near your face.

 

Control

Because wolf spiders are strictly a solitary hunter, they usually do not produce large infestations in homes or structures. However, if many wolf spiders are found inside, it is most likely due to an infestation of other insects that the spiders are hunting. If you notice many wolf spiders in your home or structure, call your local Cook’s Pest Control office. Once our thoroughly trained and equipped technicians are able to control the spider’s prey, the wolf spiders will stay outside where they belong.

About Spiders

  • All spiders are eight-legged, and they can enter a home in a variety of ways: on clothing, through cracks under doors, and more.
  • Although some bites may hurt, most spiders can’t seriously harm people, except for a few species present in the U.S. like the brown recluse and black widow.
  • A Cook’s professional knows how to spot and control all types.