CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – October is already spooky with haunted hayrides and Halloween decorations but add in spiders and you’ve got one scary month!
This is the time of year when we see more spiders roaming in and outside our homes because the start of the fall season is when spiders begin looking for a mate. In Massachusetts, there are a few dozen species of spiders that you can encounter as you go on a hike or prepare your yard one last time before the winter months.
The good news is most of these spiders are not venomous and the ones that are rarely bite humans. Here is a look at the most common spiders in Massachusetts:
In Massachusetts, the most common type of spider you may see roaming on the outskirts of your home are wolf spiders. These types of long-legged spiders are always on the move because they are aggressive insect hunters and tend to not build webs. The good news for you is they are more interested in eating insects than bugging you!
These tiny little creatures can be mainly found in vegetation, wood piles and rocky habitats. They hunt for food during the day taking advantage of their large eyes that can nearly see a full 360 degrees around them to find ants and fruit flies. These spiders do not web typically and yes… they can jump!
Black and Yellow Garden Spiders
These large spiders are known to make webbing that are eye-catching. They make a recognizable zig-zag pattern in their web which can be found, just as their name says, in your garden.
The spiders can grow up to 2.5 centimeters in length and have the ability to regenerate a leg if they lose one.
Grass spiders are similar to the wolf spider but one difference in they weave a web. Their webs are not sticky but help them catch prey. These spiders are one of the fastest spiders in the state.
These spiders will typically stay in their web unless they are provoked.
If you have a basement, then you’ve most likely encountered one of these! These harmless, fragile spiders have very long legs and sometimes can be seen bouncing or vibrating in their web when alert.
These spiders commonly are mistaken for daddy longlegs but the difference is cellar spiders tend to spin web while daddy longlegs do not.
Common House Spiders
These spiders are exactly what their name says… common. They can be yellowish, tan, brown or gray with a round abdomen. There are more than 230 species that fall under the house spider family.
House spiders eat all kinds of insects such as mosquitoes, flies, wasps, beetles, cockroaches and other household pests. Once the insect is trapped in their web, the spider will suck the body fluids out of them and then let them go to die elsewhere, that way the spider doesn’t need to rebuild their web!
House spiders are in the same family as our next species…
Nearly everyone can immediately detect a black widow due to their unique look. They are black with a red hourglass shaped mark on their underside. They can grow up to half an inch in length and tend to build their webs in out-of-the-way locations.
While these spiders are venomous, they tend to not bite humans. If you were to disrupt their web, they would most likely run away. The only time one of these spiders does bite humans is if they are pinned against something. If bitten, their toxins can cause chest pain, muscle tightness, and cramping.
These spiders can skim bodies of water and even dive beneath the water to catch tiny water creatures. They can grow to the size of the palm of your hand and are unlikely to bite a human.
Fishing spiders aren’t always next to the water, they can also be found around rocks, shrubs and other vegetation. They can sometimes be mistaken for a wolf spider.
American Nursery Web Spiders
Nursery web spiders have long legs with slender bodies and can blend well with plants or in the grass. One noticeable feature of this spider in the two front legs on the left and right are typically held together.
These spiders tend to stay in areas heavy with plants and will wait for their prey to come to them. They do not build webs but will create structures to protect their egg sacs.
Daddy Longlegs (Harvestmen)
This is probably one of the most seen spiders here in Massachusetts and can typically be identified quickly due to their long legs and tiny eyes. Daddy Longlegs do not create webs and lack venom.
They are active more at night but can also be active during the day. They use their legs almost like a blind person tapping a cane due to their poor sight.
There are a variety of types of orbweavers seen in Massachusetts, such as the Spotted Orbweaver and Orchard Orbweaver. This species is identified by there large abdomen and side legs that are smaller than the other legs.
Orbweavers tend to eat insects like gnats, mosquitoes, moths and others. They are big web makers and are often rebuilding it at night. You may see them creating a web near your outside lights for easy prey.
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