Many people are dismayed to discover brown spiders inside their homes. While most spiders are not harmful, there are a few species that are poisonous. Some spiders feed on damaging pests such as mole crickets, flies and mites, keeping them from feeding on vegetable crops, flowers and garden plants.
Spiders are members of the Arachnid family and have four pairs of legs. Their bodies consist of a head, abdomen and legs. On the top of their heads, spiders have six or eight eyes that are arranged differently for each species of spider. Most house spiders have a lifespan of one year, but certain species, such as the wolf spider, may live for several years. Certain species of spiders use their venom to capture prey, while others may use webs to capture prey.
There are various types of brown house spiders. Wolf spiders are large spiders that are brown or grey in colour. These spiders are often found living in homes, and females typically carry their egg sacs on their backs. After hatching, the new spiders remain there for the first delicate weeks of life. Wolf spiders like to hide in protected areas such as under rocks or in cracks. If backed into a corner, wolf spiders may bite humans, but their venom is not poisonous. Another brown house spider is the brown recluse, which is poisonous. Brown recluse spiders are typically light brown in colour with markings behind their heads that resemble a violin. This spider does not have as many eyes as most species, as they have only three pair. The brown recluse lives in a web that they place in dark, damp corners of homes and buildings. Humans that are bitten by the brown recluse develop a painful ulcer at the bite site. Funnel web spiders are large, usually measuring over 1/2 inch in length, and brown in colour. These spiders are known for the webs they make that resemble a funnel. Both ends of this web are left open, so the spider can easily escape if necessary.
Preventing infestations of spiders is best accomplished by clearing debris from outside the home. Remove old boards, rocks and piles of firewood to keep spiders from breeding in these areas and coming inside your home. Be sure all your doorjambs and windows are sealed tight, as these areas provide easy access for pests. Vacuum or sweep spiderwebs from inside your home and use insecticidal sprays for indoor spider control.
Most species of spiders are harmless to humans and do not cause serious health effects. Spider bites can cause symptoms similar to other conditions and are often difficult to diagnose. If you are bitten by a brown house spider, treat the site with antiseptic to clean the wound. If any adverse effects such as swelling, redness or extreme pain are present, consult a medical professional.