Luckily, the most dangerous spider species in the United States are largely absent from the northeast, but many spiders that are capable of delivering a painful sting are frequently found within homes in the region. Although the US is home to several recluse spider species, none can be found in Massachusetts, but the northern black widow species is abundant in the northeast and southern Canada. However, northern black widows are very rarely encountered within Massachusetts homes, but not long ago in the state, a 5 year old girl sustained a spider bite outside of her home from a species that had been confirmed as a northern black widow.

Although not fatal, the bite hospitalized the girl who later made a full recovery. In spite of this incident, residents of mainland Massachusetts are unlikely to even encounter the northern black widow spiders in the wild, but on nearby islands, particularly Tuckernuck and Cape Cod, residents sometimes encounter large congregations of northern black widows in grassy fields near coastal areas. Experts also state that warming global temperatures are making the northeast and southeastern Canada more hospitable to both northern and southern black widows. While residents of Massachusetts should not be too concerned about black widows invading their homes, another potentially dangerous spider species, the yellow sac spider, is commonly found in homes in the state where they are known for inflicting bites without provocation.

In order to prevent spiders from entering a home, homeowners should remove all potential spider nesting sites in yards. These nesting sites include woodpiles, lumber stacks, rock piles, brush, high weeds and grasses. Spiders also prefer to nest in stacks of firewood, so wearing gloves while handling firewood is highly recommended. Regularly cleaning the floor and walls behind furniture will keep spiders from establishing harborages in these areas. Frequently moving furniture will also often reveal active spider harborages that can be removed with a vacuum cleaner.

Have you ever found spiders nesting behind furniture in your home?