Understanding Wolf Spiders In The Greater Sacramento Area

There are some spiders that don't look particularly scary but can do serious damage when they bite. Then there are other spiders, such as big, hairy, dangerous-looking tarantulas, that may be terrifying to encounter but are mostly docile. Wolf spiders fall into this second category. They're big. They're hairy. But they're mostly docile. If you approach a wolf spider, it is going to try to get away from you as quickly as possible. While a wolf spider can bite you and it can feel like a bee sting, they usually flee rather than bite. Here are a few more things you should know about wolf spiders in Sacramento.

wolf spider on the ground in sacramento

Wolf Spider Facts

There are good reasons why these spiders are called "wolf" spiders. They share many things in common with their canine counterparts.

  • Like wolves, these spiders are hairy. If you see a large hairy spider near or inside your home, it is probably a wolf spider because wolf spiders are common pests.
  • Like wolves, wolf spiders are medium-sized. While not nearly as big as a tarantula, they are much larger than a common house spider. They fit right in the middle, measuring between ⅜ to 1 ⅜ for females and ¼ - ¾ for male spiders.
  • Like wolves, these spiders hunt for prey. Wolf spiders do not build webs to catch insects; they will use their excellent eyesight and quick reflexes to chase after and catch their dinner. If you see a spider and it is sitting in a web, it is not a wolf spider.
  • Like wolves, these spiders are fast runners. They are so fast, in fact, that some entomologists refer to wolf spiders as the cheetahs of the spider world. They are able to run as fast as two feet per second. That is really fast for a spider!
  • Like wolves, wolf spiders tackle their prey. If they are cornered, provoked, or feel threatened, they may jump onto a person and bite them. But it is more likely that they will run away.
  • Like wolves, wolf spiders like to live in caves. If you see a spider crawling out of a hole that looks like a cave, it is probably a wolf spider.
  • Like wolves, wolf spiders care for their young. Most spiders lay eggs in egg sacks and never encounter their babies again. A wolf spider mother will carry her egg sacs around and when the spiderlings hatch, they climb on their mother's abdomen where they will spend their first days.

How And Why Wolf Spiders Get Into Homes

Like other types of spiders, wolf spiders tend to get into homes because they follow their prey indoors. When the weather cools down, many insects will seek out warmth inside manmade structures and, when they do, spiders will follow. Wolf spiders can get inside in a number of ways including squeezing through cracks in a foundation, crawling underneath a door without door sweeps, getting in through a screen that has a hole in it, or hitching a ride in a box that has been stored in a shed, barn or outside storage unit.

Some Helpful Spider Prevention Tips

The first step in keeping wolf spiders out of your home is to keep them out of your yard and away from your outer walls. Since wolf spiders come into a yard in search of food (namely bugs) one great way to prevent wolf spiders is to reduce bug populations in your yard. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Keep garbage in trash cans with tight-fitting lids.
  • Reduce moisture in your yard. Fix leaky spigots and hoses. Clear out clogged gutters. Fill in low-lying areas where water tends to collect.
  • Turn off outside lights or change your bulbs to yellow, insect-resistant bulbs.
  • Clear away leaf piles and other organic debris. Bugs love to hide in yard debris, and so do spiders.
  • Remove yard clutter, tall grass, and weeds. These are all things that attract bugs as well as wildlife.

What Does It Mean If You Are Seeing Lots Of Spiders?

If you begin seeing lots of spiders in your home, it can mean a couple of things. First, it is likely that you have insects in your home. Those spiders are looking for a bite to eat. Second, it could be an indication of water damage, especially when it comes to wolf spiders, which are highly attracted to dampness.

Spider Control

If you're having trouble with spiders in the Sacramento area, we can help. Our licensed pest professionals know how to identify the spider species we have in our area and recommend effective control options. Reach out to us today for immediate assistance.


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