Wolf Spiders are robust spiders that are both quick and cunning. More often than not, they’re mistaken either for Tarantulas because of their stout, hairy bodies, or the Brown Recluse Spider, due to their pale, brownish-grey coloring. From the grassy hillsides of Placerville to the suburbs of Roseville, Wolf spiders can be found just about anywhere and everywhere in the Greater Sacramento area.
Named for their distinct way of hunting prey (they stalk insects instead of creating a web to snare them), Wolf spiders are typically shy in nature and avoid people. That being said, pick one up and it will bite you. Although their bite is venomous, it’s not lethal to humans. If you’re bitten by a Wolf spider, you’ll probably experience pain (anything from slight irritation to muscle pain), swelling and some itching. Regardless, when encountering any type of spider your best course of action is to leave them alone.
To be safe, here’s a quick look at the Wolf spiders that you might find in the Greater Sacramento area.
Wolf Spider Identification
Wolf spiders are usually tan or grey with white and black markings. Their coloring is similar to the brown recluse spider, however they don’t have the distinctive violin-shaped marking behind its head that a Brown Recluse has. They have eight eyes in three rows—four small on the bottom, two medium-sized on the top sides and the two largest in the middle. This gives them excellent sight in addition to their acute sense of touch. Their bodies and legs are covered with hair (similar to a tarantula).
There is another, fairly easy way of figuring out if your spider is a Wolf spider and not something more dastardly. Besides living in silk-lined burrows of grass instead of webs, female Wolf spiders uniquely carry their egg sac at the end of their abdomen. This pale, silken sphere typically has around 100-150 eggs inside of it. Once the spiderlings hatch, they hang on to their mother’s back for a couple of weeks before venturing out on their own.
Just like many insects and arachnids in our area, Wolf spiders are quite prolific in both the spring and summer. That means that now is the time to break the cycle, if you are looking to get rid of your Wolf spider population. During the fall, mature spiders’ mate with the male sometimes becoming a meal for his companion. Female Wolf spiders have the ability to live several years producing many hundreds of spiders in their lifetime.
If you live near an open field, pasture or woodsy area, you’re likely to encounter a Wolf spider outdoors any season during both day and night. As winter approaches though, they seek out warmer housing and will venture inside human structures to find new homes in house plants, windows, doorways, garages, and basements until things warm up again in the spring.
Pro Active Pest Control can help to treat your Wolf spider population through locating and identifying nests and regular, monthly treatments. The best way to protect against any unwanted pests is through consistent, regular pest control. New Pro Active Pest Control customers get $100 off initial pest control service with an annual agreement.
You can help to control your local Wolf spider population around your home by keeping your grass cut low and your shrubbery well-trimmed. You should also avoid having piles of stones or wood near your home as they are the perfect places for a Wolf spider burrow. Remember, these spiders typically do more good than harm by keeping local insect populations in check, but they can become a nuisance to humans if left unchecked.