South Florida Spiders
Peter Parker fans rejoice! Sony Pictures Entertainment recently announced a new partnership with Marvel Studios that will bring a new Spider-Man film to hit theaters in the summer of 2017. The popular superhero’s upcoming return prompted Hulett to share some Spidey-tastic species of spiders found in South Florida. Where you are likely to find them: Spiders can be found almost everywhere. Look for their telltale webs inside and out. They prefer dark and quiet garages and storage areas. Outside look in bushes, trees and hedges, under piles of dead leaves, under rocks and pots, along fences, on walls and windowsills. Inside, look in corners, especially along the ceiling, and around windows and in houseplants. Spiders vary in their hunting style. Some spin webs to catch their prey; others lie in wait for insects; still others actively hunt for prey. Hunting spiders can be found walking on walls and floors. Some spiders are active during the day, many are more active at night.
Some common South Florida spider species include:
- General Characteristics: The southern black widow spider is shiny black and is often feared because of their painful bite. The female usually has a red spot or hourglass-shaped mark on the underside of the abdomen.
- Size: The body is about 3/4 inch long and the abdomen is about 3/8 inch in diameter
- Hunting: By day, they hide by night in its web.
- Found: It’s usually found outdoors under rocks and boards, and in and around old buildings.
- Medical: Considered the most venomous spider in North America. These are shy spiders, and if you avoid placing your hands where you can’t see, bites are unlikely. They are timid and solitary, and often bite only when disturbed. However, the female injects such a small dose of venom that it rarely causes death. The bite of the black widow feels like a pinprick and the initial pain disappears rapidly, leaving local swelling and two tiny red marks. Muscular cramps in the shoulder, thigh and back usually begin within 15 minutes to three hours.
In South Florida, one of the main types of venomous spiders are brown widow spiders.
- General Characteristics: Brown widows are slightly smaller than the black widow and are gray to brown in color. If you can see it, the underside of the abdomen, contains the characteristic hourglass marking and is yellow to orange in color. Their legs have dark bands.
- Size: Mature females are 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length
- Found: In nature, most are found under rocks and logs, but they readily adapt to human-altered environments. It prefers secluded, protected sites around our homes. Some typical sites include inside old tires, empty containers, entry way corners, under eaves, cluttered storage closets and garages, behind hurricane shutters, underneath outside chairs, and under any item that has been undisturbed for a lengthy period such as a barbecue grill, slide, or sand box.
- Hunting: nocturnal
- Medical: Widow spiders are generally very timid and only bite in self-defense when they accidentally contact humans. Experts believe that the venom of the brown widow may be twice as potent as the black widow, but the brown widow is less inclined to inject larger amounts of venom. Brown widow bite symptoms can include pain, rigidity in the muscles of the abdomen and legs, swelling, nausea, vomiting and in severe cases a sharp rise in blood pressure.
Black and Yellow Argiope Spider
- General Characteristics: Its characteristic silver body and yellow-and-black markings make it easy to identify.
- Size: 1 inch in length
- Found: Their large webs can often be seen along the edge of woodlands. Argiope spiders tend to hang head down in the middle their web that has thickened, zigzag bands of silk in the center.
- Hunting: These spiders have relatively poor vision, but are quite sensitive to vibration and air currents.
Crab spiders get their name from they way they hold their legs to the side in a crab-like fashion.
- General Characteristics: Some resemble tree bark, leaves, or fruits; others appear to mimic bird droppings.
- Size: Most crab spiders are about 0.4 in in length, but the giant crab spider may reach 1.0 inch.
- Found: These spiders do not spin webs to trap prey, but are often extremely well-camouflaged, blending in perfectly with the vegetation and flowers they live among. They wait on flowers and foliage for their insect prey and then ambush attack.
- Hunting: Though their jaws are rather small and slender, many crab spiders possess potent venoms that quickly immobilize their prey. Crab spiders do not wrap their prey in silk after biting, but instead remain with the immobilized prey until they have sucked it dry.
- General Characteristics: Many are brightly colored and strikingly patterned and are among the most ornate of spiders. They have stout bodies, short legs, and very large eyes on the front of the face. They are easily identified by their eye arrangement, which is in three rows.
- Size: Relatively small, usually 1/2 inch less. Jumping spider females are generally larger than males.
- Hunting: Jumping spiders do not make webs, but actively hunt prey during the day, “jumping” or pouncing on their victims.
- Found: Commonly seen around the home because they are active predators during the day. Juveniles may make their nests rolled leaves, while adults frequently make their nests along the inner mid-veins of palm fronds
Golden Silk Spider (aka Banana Spider)
- General Characteristics: The female is one of the largest orb-weaving spiders. Distinctively colored, the female is a large orange and brown spider that has noticeable feathery hair tufts on her long legs. Males are dark-brown, and are often found in the webs of females.
- Size: The female is 1 inch to 1.5 inches long; Males are about 0.2 inch long
- Found: They are most commonly found in forests, along trails and at clearing edges. These spiders feed primarily on flying insects, which they catch in webs that may be greater than 3 feet wide.
Green Lynx Spider
- General Characteristics: This is a relatively large, bright green spider. The body is a vivid, almost transparent green, with red spots and some white markings. The legs are long, slender and covered at intervals with long black spines. This spider is capable of “spitting” venom in self-defense.
- Size: Ranges from 0.5 to 0.75 inch long
- Found: This spider is commonly found in shrubs and bushes during the day and almost always choose light green foliage. They prefer to be near flowers, but still tend to be perfectly camouflaged.
- Hunters: They do not spin webs and are not active hunters but prefer to sit-and-wait for unwary bees, flies, and other insects.
Spiny Orb Weaver Spider
- General Characteristics: The spiny orb-weaver spider is one of the most colorful and easily recognized spiders in Florida. The back of the abdomen is usually white with black spots and large red spines on the margin.
- Size: range from 0.2 to 0.5 inch wide.
- Hunting: Spiny orb weavers make the familiar flat, ornate, circular webs. The webs typically contain tufts of silk, which may prevent birds from flying into them.
- General Characteristics: Relatively common, wolf spiders are large, hairy spiders which are usually patterned with a mixture of black, gray, and brown. They look particularly malicious and often frighten people, however they are not are poisonous and will not bite a human unless provoked.
- Size: Range from 1/2 to 2 inches in length
- Hunting: This spider does not spin webs and may hunt actively at night or wait in ambush at the mouth of its burrow or hide under debris, where it hides during the day. Like other hunting spiders, they have good eyesight and are sensitive to vibrations.
- Habitat: Usually found on the ground, where they are well-camouflaged by their hairy bodies under leaf litter, rocks, and logs. When they come inside, they normally stay on the ground floor and are active in dim light.
Yellow Sac Spider
Yellowish in color (almost albino looking), with dark markings on the jaws and feet
- Size: relatively small, approximately 1/4 inch.
- Habitat: Look for their egg sacs are laid in corners of all sorts. They get their name from the sac of silk they produce daily for resting. The egg sacs are white and spun with silk.
- Hunting: These active spiders are nocturnal and actively hunt their insect prey at night. Yellow sac spiders are nighttime hunters that search for prey rather than catching their prey within a web.
- Medical: The fangs of yellow sac spiders are powerful and can penetrate human skin, delivering a painful bite and mild venom that is usually restricted to area of the bite.
Hulett’s Healthy Home program takes a proactive approach and focuses on pest prevention, not just pest control. We use only the highest quality products and treat in an environmentally responsible fashion. This means you receive the most effective and convenient pest protection system there is, guaranteed! So if you see any of these spiders crawling around your home Just Call Hulett today! All of our spider removal services – they are all covered under Hulett’s Healthy Home Guarantee.
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