Spiders are highly diverse arachnids, from their size, shape, and color to their habits and venom strength.

While spiders are helpful, they’re usually a sign of a pest infestation at your home. For this reason, treating a pest infestation will help you get rid of your spiders.

Nevertheless, Northeast PA is home to several species, many of which you may already be familiar with and that already live among your homes

In this spider guide, we’ll run through the primary intruders you’ll likely find roaming your home or yard and tips to keep them away from your property as best as possible.

Common PA Spiders

Funnel Web Spiders

Two common funnel web spiders exist in Northeast PA, including the grass spider and barn funnel weaver. The primary difference is their common dwellings. For example, grass spiders dwell in the grass, while barn funnel weavers reside in the doorways and cracks of barns.

With life spans of up to 7 years, these spiders are some of the longest-living members on the list. However, due to their shy nature and fast movement, funnel web spiders are relatively illusive and conspicuous.

You can identify a funnel web spider by its elongated thorax, red-brown hues, and yellow hairs across the length of the body.

As their names indicate, funnel web spiders produce a unique, primarily horizontal web with a “funnel” or retreat located in the center or off to one side.

Danger-wise, funnel web spiders are some of the lowest on the list. They’re timid, with limited reports of bites. Reported bites usually include mild symptoms, such as localized redness, swelling, and slight pain.

Orb Weavers

Several Orb Weavers are present in the Northeast area of the state; however, we’ll primarily focus on the yellow garden spider. This arachnid is one of the largest, flashiest, and most common spiders in PA, identified by its bright yellow color, large body, and long black/red legs.

Besides their physical appearance, orb weavers are commonly identified by their unique web shape, crafting large and ornate orb-shaped webs in gardens and tall grass with plenty of sun. Like funnel weavers, orb weavers are non-aggressive and generally have harmless bites, causing no more pain and irritation than a bee sting or wasp bite.

Black Widows

This spider is identified by its shiny black body and characteristic red “hourglass” on the underside of the abdomen. The males are far smaller and possess a series of white markings and red spots atop a primarily black body.

Webs can be identified by their disorganized and relatively sparse design, especially in dark, undisturbed cavities such as wood piles, under stones, and in building crevices.

Though no deaths from black widow bites have been recorded in the US since the early 1980s, they can still be highly unpleasant. Black widow venom is primarily neurotoxic, producing a variety of generalized body symptoms that last an average of 4-7 days.

Jumping Spiders

The most common jumping spider in PA is the Phidippus audax, a compact hunting spider with a knack for daytime exploration. These small spiders are identifiable by their hairy black bodies, tufts of hair protruding from the area around their large primary eyes and small secondary eyes, white, yellow, or orange spots, and iridescent green chelicerae.

Jumping spiders are aggressive and skilled hunters, utilizing their athleticism and powerful eyesight to pounce on prey from a great distance. Additionally, jumping spiders require light to hunt, making daytime sightings highly likely.

Generally, jumping spiders are shy creatures, hiding from humans whenever approached; even when threatened or held, they don’t often bite. Jumpers also have extremely mild venom; if you happen to be bit by a jumping spider, you’ll likely only experience mild irritation, pain, and itching for 1 to 2 days.

Wolf Spiders

Wolf spiders are a common and diverse subspecies, with scientists noting 240 variations and 23 genera in the United States alone! However, in Pennsylvania, you’ll likely only encounter two species of wolf spiders: Hogna carolinensis and Tigrosa aspersa.

Both species are large and commonly found in homes, with female H. carolinensis reaching 25-35mm in length and female T. aspersa reaching 18-25mm. Both spiders feature a distinctive brown color; however, T. aspersa feature prominent yellow markings at the leg joints and along the carapace, near the eyes.

Both species of wolf spider display similar behavior, building retreats in the soil, beneath rocks and wood, or in other tight spaces, only emerging at night to hunt. Regarding venom, wolf spider bites produce no notable medical side effects besides localized redness and swelling, which subsides within 24 hours.

Daddy Long Legs

Also known as cellar spiders, daddy long legs are one of the most common spiders you’ll encounter in your home in PA. These non-aggressive arachnids are often perched on sparsely woven webs in undisturbed locations, like the upper corners of rooms.

These spiders are easily identified by their small 6 to 8-mm body length and 50-mm leg length, hence their colloquial nickname. Other identifiers include a wide carapace, a long cylindrical abdomen, and a characteristic tan color.

These spiders possess a mild venom that isn’t likely to cause any medical issues. Daddy long legs are also extremely docile and aren’t likely to bite. In fact, bites are so rare that studies haven’t even been conducted to assess toxicity in mammals!

natural insect repellants

How to Keep Spiders Away

When it comes down to it, Spiders are actually beneficial predators of smaller insects, providing your home with some free pest control! As previously stated, taking care of any underlying pest issues will usually help you eliminate spiders.

Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about the Joro Spider in Pennsylvania any time soon.

Nevertheless, if you’re still worried or afraid of spiders in your home, we have some simple tips and tricks to ensure a spider-free home year-round.

Keep a Tidy Home

Spiders will generally only settle where food sources are bountiful; as spiders consume other small insects, the routine presence of ants, cockroaches, and flies will often lead to more spiders. You’ll effectively drive the arachnids away by eradicating spiders’ food sources.

So, ensure that you’re frequently cleaning your home and ridding the space of pest attractants like food, spilled drinks, and garbage.

Additionally, stay on the lookout for spiderwebs; if you spot one in the corner of your room or behind a piece of furniture, vacuum it up. The disturbance may be enough to drive them elsewhere.

Natural Repellants

Are you looking to keep spiders out without killing them or subjecting your kids/pets to harmful chemicals? Then consider using some natural insect repellants like peppermint essential oil and vinegar.

After mixing a 50/50 concentration of vinegar and water or 10 to 15 drops of essential oil and water in a spray bottle, mist the areas where you find them lurking–reapply every 2 to 3 days as necessary.

Block Possible Entry Points

Even larger ones are small enough to squeeze into the tightest of cracks and openings, making a torn window screen, drafty door, or gap in your home’s siding the perfect place to gain entry. So if you’re noticing a large increase in spiders in a certain area of your home, do a quick walk-around outside and note any possible entry points.

Seal gaps, cracks, and unnecessary holes with latex caulking and repair any broken window screens to keep spiders away. In addition, install proper seals on exterior doors, ensuring that your home is fortified against 8-legged intruders.

Professional Assistance

If all else fails, or you’re uncomfortable using insecticides on your own, don’t hesitate to contact your local pest control experts. With a wide array of treatment plans, the Pest Rangers can help you eliminate spiders in your home and around your property.


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