How to Identify Venomous Spiders in Miami
February 27, 2023
There’s nothing worse than being in your kitchen, bedroom, or somewhere else in your house and suddenly seeing a spider race across your floor. You race to find a paper towel or shoe to kill the creeping intruder but it scurries away, leaving you scared and frustrated. You begin to worry you might have a spider infestation and wonder if it’s time to call pest control.
Is your fear justified, though? Spiders are creepy, yes, but can they actually cause you harm?
The answer is that while most South Florida spiders are harmless, there are two species whose bites require medical attention. But it can be so tricky identifying which spiders are harmless and which are venomous—they all look scary. Let’s take a look at the most common household spiders in Miami and how to identify the poisonous ones.
What Are Spiders?
The first thing you need to figure out is if the creepy crawlies in your house are, in fact, spiders. It is possible that you could be mistaking an insect for a spider. Here’s a breakdown of spiders’ characteristics.
There are more than 45,000 known breeds of spiders. They are air-breathing arthropods with eight legs. They are the largest order of arachnids and are in the same class as mites, ticks, and scorpions.
While insects have three body regions, all spiders have two—this is something to look out for when trying to distinguish insects from spiders. Spiders also have chewing mouthparts and lack wings and antennae.
Some spiders bite, some don’t, and some of their bites can cause serious health problems. But how to know which is which?
How to Identify Venomous Spiders
First, let’s discuss how to identify the most common household spiders that aren’t going to cause you serious harm. Remember that not all spiders are bad—in fact, most of them are good! They play a pivotal role in the Florida ecosystem and provide a natural way of reducing the population of pesky insects like mosquitoes and gnats.
Here are some of the most common harmless spiders in Miami and how to identify them:
- Daddy longlegs are not true spiders (they belong to the family Phalangiidae) and are unable to spin webs. They are brown, black, or grey with very long, thin legs and though they appear to have a single oval-shaped body, they in fact have two body segments that are fused together. They have fangs but do not inject venom—instead, they just use their fangs to capture and clutch their prey.
- Common house spiders are, as their name implies, the most common type of house spider here in Florida. You can identify them by their long brown or grey bodies, banded legs, sphere-shaped abdomens, and dark chevron markings along their bodies. These little guys are completely harmless.
- Cellar spiders can be recognized by their small grey, pale yellow, or light brown bodies and long, thin protruding legs. Due to their long, thin legs, daddy longlegs are often mistaken for cellar spiders. This fragile, inconspicuous spider poses no threat to you or your pets.
- Wolf spiders are a hairy, large species with black, grey, or brown bodies. They are not good climbers so you are likely to spot them crawling on the floor. These spiders can bite but no serious health issues will arise afterward.
- Banana spiders are very large with long, inward-pointing legs and are typically black, yellow, or red. The female banana spider’s size is roughly 1-3 inches, while males are about 1/2 an inch long. Like the wolf spider, these spiders can bite but their bites aren’t very painful and don’t result in any serious health issues.
- Orb-weaver spiders can be tough to identify since they come in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes. One way you can recognize them is by the large, wheel-shaped webs they weave. Orb-weaver spiders rarely bite unless they feel threatened, and the bite is equivalent to a bee sting with no long-term implications.
After reading through this list, you should be well-equipped to identify harmless spiders in your home. Now it’s time to talk about the venomous spiders you should watch out for.
Two species found in Miami are considered dangerous to humans and pets: the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider. Both species are rare and tend to avoid people. They only bite if they feel threatened, but it’s important to be careful and know what you might be dealing with.
Black Widow Spiders in Miami
These arachnids have shiny black bodies and red, hourglass-shaped markings on their abdomens. Their size varies from 1/8 to 2/5 of an inch long, while females can be as long as 1/2 an inch.
Black widow spiders prefer to be outdoors and build their nests and weave their webs around things like firewood and high grass. But if they’re seeking a food source or shelter, they’ll creep inside your house. The most likely places you’ll find them are dark, quiet spaces like closets, basements, and garages.
These spiders are nocturnal, so if you see one during the day, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with an infestation. Seeing their messy webs at ground level is another indicator.
If you are bitten by a black widow spider, we encourage you to seek your local medical providor black widow spider bites can cause complications and uncomfortable symptoms like muscle pain all over your body, nausea, skin inflammation, and fever.
The reaction to these bites can be more serious in children and the elderly, as well as those with sensitive immune systems and heart conditions. If this describes anyone in your home and you think you may have a black widow infestation, consider seeking professional spider control.
Brown Recluse Spiders in Miami
In the same way the black widow spider is black, the brown recluse spider is brown. Due to its common color and traditional shape, it is often mistaken for other types of spiders. But you can identify these spiders by the dark “fiddle” marker on their bodies and the fact that they aren’t hairy.
Brown recluse spiders are drawn to man-made objects that don’t receive much attention like porches, the backs of closets, and trash cans.
This is a spider found in Miami that can cause moderate to severe symptoms with its venom. As with the black widow spider, if you get bitten by a brown recluse spider, you should reach out to your doctor.
If you are allergic to the spider’s venom, a bite could be more harmful. The brown recluse spider’s venom can also cause necrosis, which can be serious. Luckily, this condition is rare and the brown recluse is unlikely to bite you if you don’t provoke it.
Seeing either type of these spiders in your home can be a cause for concern for you and your loved ones. If you do, we suggest reaching out to your South Florida spider control experts here at Native Pest Management.
How to Prevent Venomous Spiders in Miami
Preventing venomous spiders is tricky, since spiders are sneaky creatures. Your best option is to partner with us here at Native Pest Management to eradicate the issue.
In addition to giving us a call, here are some methods you can try to help prevent venomous spiders in your home:
- Vacuum and dust your home to remove cobwebs. A spider web can have an egg sac with hundreds of eggs inside.
- Reduce bugs. Spiders are attracted to bugs as a food source, so it is important to keep flies and other pests out of your house.
- Keep a well-maintained yard. Cut your grass short and trim down overgrown bushes and shrubs.
- Cover vents and drains that lead to your home.
- Seal spaces around air conditioners.
- Remember to turn off outdoor lights when they’re not necessary, and consider purchasing yellowish bulbs that are designed to not attract pests. Lights will draw insects, and insects will draw spiders.
- Inside your home, keep storage areas tidy and clean.
- Outside your home, make sure to seal spaces found around windows and doors, in exterior walls, and the foundation.
Professional Spider Control in Miami
If you notice either of these venomous spiders in your Miami home, we offer eco-friendly and pet friendly spider control services at Native Pest Management. Our team here are your local spider control experts with years of pest control experience.
Our techniques and plans for Miami spider control will help to keep your home spider-free year-round. While spiders are rarely a danger, they can still disrupt your peace of mind, and we want to help restore it. So for the best spider control in Miami, contact us to get a free quote today!