Several spider species that are commonly referred to as “house spiders” can be found in every area of the US. Some of these species include, the southern house spider, the American house spider, and cellar spiders. Another group of house spiders are known as “comb-weaver spiders,” and these species are the most commonly sighted and most widely distributed house spiders in North America.

Comb-weaver spiders are relatively small, as adult females rarely grow larger than two thirds of an inch in body length. They can be recognized by their bulbous abdomen, and their exterior ranges between brown and black. Although small, comb-footed spiders may become a nuisance within households, as they can create an abundance of webs, and numerous specimens can quickly establish an infestation. These spiders become common indoors due to their rapid breeding, and superior ability to survive within indoor habitats.

One particular survey of 1094 comb-footed spider sightings had 706 sightings occur indoors, while the rest were outdoors. When the spiders are found outdoors, it is almost always on a residential property, such as on a lawn or on a home. Comb-footed spiders are spotted all year round, as they can survive the cold northeast winters indoors. The cobwebs that are often found within indoor structures, like sheds, garages and homes, are most likely built by comb-footed spiders, which explains why most people know these spiders as “cobweb spiders.” During the daytime, the comb-footed spider rests within its webbing, and at night, the spiders become active and continue to build more webs to maximize the amount of insect prey they capture. These spiders belong to the Parasteatoda family, making them closely related to black widows, the brown widow, and the American house spider. Luckily, the common indoor dwellers do not possess toxic venom like their relatives. The comb-footed spider is portrayed as biting Peter Parker, causing the character to become Spiderman.

Have you ever spotted a comb-footed spider indoors?