How To Identify and Get Rid of Wolf Spiders

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Wolf spiders are intimidating spiders. When you see one in your home it can be the thing of nightmares. They are big, fast, and they can even jump. 

Although they aren’t dangerous we are sure you want to keep them away. 

Don’t worry I’m here to make sure you can get rid of wold spiders. 

In this post, I am going to tell you everything you need to know about wolf spiders and how to get rid of them and keep them away. 

Let’s get started. 

What Do Wolf Spiders Look Like?

wolf spider close up

Wolf spiders often look intimidating but they are relatively harmless spiders. One of the key characteristics of wolf spiders is their size. 

Unfortunately, there are many species of wolf spiders around the world. For example, scientists have identified more than 125 species of spiders in the U.S. 

This means to identify wolf spiders from other spiders you need to use size, shapes, and measurements to separate them from other spiders. 

 

Size

They are larger than most house spiders measuring between ½ inch and 2 inches long. This is one of the reasons they often strike fear in people. Males are typically smaller than females. 

Body

Wolf spiders also tend to look much larger than they actually are due to their long, hairy, and spiny legs. 

Eyes

Another key feature of wold spiders is their eyes. Like many spiders, they have 8 eyes. But the arrangement of these eyes is what makes them unique. They have three rows of eyes with three different sizes. 

Wolf spiders have two medium-sized eyes at the top of their head, two large eyes right at the center, and four small eyes just below their pair of large eyes. 

Color and Pattern

Wolf spiders are typically dark or light brown and black. They have markings and patterns on their body that appear light brown or yellow. Their abdomen has a signature pattern with two black stripes down the center.

What Spiders Look Like Wolf Spiders?

While some spiders may be unique and easy to identify, the wolf spider is not always one. With hundreds of different species, their color and shape can vary. 

This means there are several different species of spiders that resemble the wolf spider.

1. Brown Recluse Spiders

brown recluse

One of the most common spiders that are mistaken for wolf spiders is the brown recluse spider. These spiders are often confused due to their similar color to the wolf spider. Brown recluse spiders also tend to have long, spiny legs, just like wolf spiders. 

There are a few key distinctions between the brown recluse and the wolf spider. 

  • Size: Wolf spiders are significantly larger than brown recluse spiders 
  • Body: Wolf spiders are known for their robust and hairy body. Brown recluse spiders have no hair and are much thinner than wolf spiders. 
  • Color: Wolf spiders are brown and typically have a petter on their abdomen and head and two colors on their legs. Brown recluse spiders typically don’t have any patterns, and they are typically brown across their entire bod

2. Tarantulas

tarantulas

Tarantulas are another spider that is often confused with wolf spiders. Although tarantulas are not as widespread as tarantulas, they do look alike.

Tarantulas are only found in the western desert states such as California, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas. And Oklahoma. 

To differentiate between Turantualas and Wol spiders, there are a few characteristics you can look for. 

  • Size: Tarantulas are much larger than wolf spiders. They can reach upwards of 6 inches while wolf spiders at their biggest are two inches, and often they are between 1 ½ to 1 ¾ of an inch. 
  • Body: Tarantulas are much more robust than wolf spiders. In comparison, the wolf spider legs are much thinner and their body narrower. 
  • Hair: Both spiders have hair. The wolf spider’s hair is much thinner and shorter. Their hair is also typically flat with their body. Tarantulas have thick, long hair that typically sticks out of their body and is easy to notice. 
  • Color and Pattern: Wolf spiders are typically brown and have patterns on their head and abdomen. 

Tarantulas, on the other hand, very rarely have patterns in their colors. Tarantulas with patterns on their abdomens are usually exotic, and you’re not likely to find them wandering in U.S or U.K. 

3. Funnel Web Spider

funnel web spider - real

Funnel-web spiders are another spider that is often confused with wolf spiders due to their similar color, body type, and relative size. 

Similar to wolf spiders, there are many different species of funnel-web spiders. This can make it hard to identify key characteristics across every species of funnel-web spider. 

There are a few easy characteristics you can look for to tell the difference between them. 

  • Web Building: The easiest way to tell the difference between wolf spiders and funnel-web spiders is their web. 
  • First, wold spiders don’t spin webs. They are hunting spiders that use their speed and pouncing ability to kill their prey. Funnel-web spiders build unique webs that have a funnel or small cave. They use this cave to hide and attract their prey. 
  • Behavior: First, female funnel-web spiders rarely leave their web. So if the spider is in a web, it’s not a wolf spider. Male funnel-web spiders do tend to travel outside of the web much more frequently. 
  • Color and Pattern: It’s not common for funnel-web spiders to have patterns, although it’s possible. Wolf spiders carry their unique brown color and distinct patterns on their head, abdomen, and legs.  

4. Grass Spider

funnel web spider

Grass spiders fall in the family of funnel weaver spiders. This is a more unique species that are more common and widespread similar to wolf spiders. 

They are often confused for their similar color, pattern, and body size. 

  • Size: The easiest way to tell grass spiders and wolf spiders apart is their size. Grass spiders are typically smaller than 1 inch, while wolf spiders can grow up to two inches. They are most commonly between 1 ½ inch to 1 ¾ inch. 
  • Web Building: Like funnel weaver spiders, grass spiders create funnel webs to catch their prey. Wolf spiders, on the other hand, don’t build webs. They hunt their prey. 
  • Color and Pattern: The grass spiders most resembles the wolf spider in terms of color and pattern.

They both have a brown color with unique patterns on their heads, abdomen, and back. One key distinction is that grass spiders typically have a yellow hue.

Also, grass spiders typically have a darker abdomen than their head. Wolf spider’s abdomen is the same color and typically has a pattern.

What Do Wolf Spiders Eat?

Wolf spiders are hunters. They tend to eat small insects. They tend to target small invertebrates that they can capture with ease.

Common wolf spider prey include 

  • ants
  • flies 
  • crickets
  • caterpillars 
  • earwigs 
  • cockroaches 
  • moths 
  • beetles 

In some cases, large wolf spiders might eat small vertebrates such as amphibians and reptiles. 

Where Do Wolf Spiders Live Outdoors?

Wolf spiders are hunters. They tend to hide under objects and wait between their hunts. Some species are known to create burrows so they can live in before and after hunting. 

Unlike other spiders, wolf spiders don’t create webs. They hunt their spiders and use their speed, long legs, and large fangs to catch and eat their prey. 

Wolf spiders are very adaptable and they can live in a variety of places. They will typically hide where there is a food source present.

In most cases, this is in wooded areas, grass, fields, or marshes. They will live anywhere there is vegetation. This includes areas near the water such as lakes, streams, oceans, and marshes. 

They also commonly live among rubble in yards, under stones, rocks, or pots. 

Keep an eye out if you suspect wolf spiders in or around your home. 

Where Do Wolf Spiders Live Indoors?

Wolf spiders don’t commonly live indoors. But, if they do make their way indoors they commonly hide among the clutter, inside boxes, or under furniture. 

These spiders will hide in dark areas such as basements, attics, cellars, or unused rooms. They tend to seek out moisture, shelter, and darkness inside homes. 

How To Get Rid of Wolf Spiders

Wolf spiders are typically live outdoors. Getting rid of these spiders involves habitat modification, prevention techniques, and insecticide application to eliminate any live wolf spiders. 

Below are the steps you can take to get rid of wolf spiders.

1. Seal Entry Points

Wolf Spiders are typically accidental intruders. They don’t typically strive to enter and live indoors. As a hunting spider, wolf spiders prefer to live where there is an abundant food source that they can hunt.

During the winter, wolf spiders might seek shelter indoors to protect themselves against the cold. 

Like many spiders, wolf spiders will get inside through openings. Openings include typically cracks, crevices, gaps, or open windows and doors around your house. 

The best thing you can do to keep wolf spiders out of your home is to seal entry points. 

  • Weatherproof doors and windows 
  • Apply doors sweeps to all doors 
  • Install screen doors if you like to leave your doors open
  • Fix or replace screen doors 
  • Apply bugs screens to vents on basements and attics 

The first step you want to take is to weatherproof your doors and windows. You also want to make sure all screens are on correctly and they don’t have any rips on them. 

Applying door sweeps and weatherstrips will prevent wolf spiders from slipping into your home through the small gaps around doors and windows. 

You also want to inspect other areas outside and inside your home for cracks or other potential entry points. 

Common places to inspect for entry points include: 

  • Window sills 
  • Door sills 
  • Pipe entry points 
  • Cracks around your home 
  • Foundation 
  • Wall meeting points 

If you do find any cracks or crevices around your home use caulk to seal the crack and prevent wolf spiders from entering your home. 

2. Remove Food Sources

Wolf spiders live near places that there is a food source. If there is not a food source nearby wolf spiders will likely move away from your home. Since they don’t rely on webs and most don’t live in tunnels they tend to roam and hunt for food. 

Wolf spiders eat all the common insects that you will find around your home. To eliminate the insects around your home you need to first determine what type of insects are outdoors. 

A common food source for wolf spiders around homes are flying insects Wolf spiders will hide near light sources and attack and flying insects that land nearby them. 

You can try changing your light source or turning them off. You can also use bug zappers or fly killers. 

These devices will kill the flying insects around your home and drive the wolf spiders away. 

It’s important that you work on eliminating any insects that are around your home. 

The easiest way to kill many insects with little effort is to use an insecticide outdoors. We will discuss this option more shortly. 

3. Apply Insecticide To The Outside Of Your House

It’s often unnecessary to apply insecticide indoors for wolf spiders since they commonly live outdoors. It’s only necessary to apply insecticide indoors if the infestation is large. 

In this case, getting rid of wolf spiders is a bit harder because you need to apply it indoors. 

The most effective type of insecticide is one that has a residual effect. There are two insecticide options: residual sprays and granules. 

 

Residual Spray

The most effective type of insecticide for wolf spiders is a residual spray. A residual spray provides a lasting effect that will kill any insects that come into contact with the insecticide between 3 and 6 months later. 

When applying insecticide spray you want to target your foundation as well as 3 feet upwards from the floor on your walls. 

You should also apply the residual spray around doorways and windows to prevent wolf spiders from trying to sneak into your home. 

You should also consider spraying any outside structures to prevent wolf spiders from making their home inside those. This includes sheds, garages, and patios. 

You can also apply the residual insecticide to your grass, plants, and other areas outside your home. Remember to double-check the label before applying your insecticide. Make sure that it’s safe for application on plants. It should also mention how long before animals or children can use the grass again. 

 

Granules

If you don’t want to use sprays you can also use granules. These are small pellets that you distribute on your grass and other open areas. Then you apply water using a water hose. 

The water will cause the pellets to disintegrate releasing the insecticide into the ground and on the grass. This is a fast and easy way to apply insecticide to your entire grass. 

4. Use Glue boards Indoors

To eliminate wolf spiders that are already inside your house is using glue boards. 

Since wolf spiders tend to travel on the ground and other normal surfaces, glue boards tend to be very effective. 

This is important because smashing wolf spiders is not always recommended. This is because mother wolf spiders carry their young on their back. If you kill them, you will end up with many baby wold spiders on the floor of your home. 

Glue boards will trap wold spiders and their young. It also allows you to monitor the activity and infestation level of wolf spiders. 

They also allow you to trap and eliminate the infestation while you sleep. Place these glue boards under appliances, furniture, baseboards, guidelines, and any other place you’ve seen spiders. 

As bait, you can place a small insect at the center, which will draw wolf spiders towards the trap. 

How To Prevent Wolf Spiders?

There are few things you can do to prevent wolf spiders around your home. 

  1. Seal all entry points on your home 
  2. Eliminate food sources 
  3. Treat the outside of your home for other insects and pests 
  4. Eliminate water sources
  5.  Eliminate clutter 
  6. Eliminate overgrown vegetation 
  7. Remove shrubs and plants near the foundation of your house

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can Jumping Spiders Bite?

Yes, jumping spiders can bite. While they can bite they are not venomous. A wolf spider bites are generally harmless and won’t cause much damage. 

A bite will heal naturally and does not require medical attention. If you do experience swelling or blisters after a wolf spider bite, seek medical attention as this is a sign of an allergic reaction. 

Although wolf spider bites are not dangerous they can cause some pain. When bitten you might experience a tight pinch and a short stinging sensation. 

Can Wolf Spiders Jump?

Yes, wolf spiders can jump. They typically jump on their prey as they hunt. This is similar to wild cats that pounce on their prey. Wolf spiders are not known to jump on people or from one location to another. But they can do so if necessary. 

What To Do If a Wold Spider Is Inside Your House?

If you find a wolf spider in your house avoid your natural instinct to smash it. These spiders tend to hold their young on their back. If you were to smash it you could have hundreds of baby wolf spiders crawling all over your house. 

The best thing to do is to catch it and remove it from your home. Ideally, place it outside or even a few miles away so it doesn’t return.

As an alternative, you can use a glue board. Any wolf spiders that walk over it will be trapped. Even if they have their young on their back its very likely they will also get trapped on the glue board. 

Do Wolf Spiders Jump On Humans?

Wolf spiders can jump but they are not known to jump on humans. They rarely jump. When they do it’s typically a pouncing motion on their prey. 

In most cases, wolf spiders will run away from when they come into contact with humans. 

Are Wolf Spiders Dangerous?

Wolf spiders are not dangerous. They are not aggressive or venomous. Wolf spiders also don’t generally bite. In most cases, wolf spiders will retreat if they see humans. 

Do Wolf Spiders Climb Into Beds?

Wolf spiders are not known to climb into beds. While they are very good climbers they tend to hide in secluded areas. 

Although they do move often, if they are in your bed there is likely other insects in your room that they are trying to hunt. 

Are Wolf Spiders Dangerous To Dogs?

Wolf spiders are not venomous to dogs but they can physically hurt your dog. 

Depending on the size of your dog the damage causes different levels of pain. The bite may cause your dog to bark or sequel. It might also cause them to limp or lick the area they were bitten. 

In most cases, it’s hard to determine your dog was bitten by a wolf spider unless you see the wolf spider running away. 

In many cases, dogs will chase and kill wolf spiders since they are large and easy to spot for dogs. 

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