10 UK Household Spiders and Why They’re Good for Your Home
Estimated reading time 6 minutes
The spindly eight legs, the quick as a flash scurry across the floor, and the invisible yet frustrating tangle of webs make spiders one of those household visitors we just don’t want to welcome.
Fear not though for the majority are harmless. Those that are, are way more scared of you than you are of them. Unfortunately, the first thought when often encountering these relatively small creatures is to squash them – don’t do that! They can actually make your home a cleaner place to live.
Read below and see how the 8-legged mini beasts could be the home assistant you never knew you needed.
Why are spiders good for your home?
It may come as some surprise, but many types of spiders are working hard keeping your home free from insects and disease riddled pests. The instinct of many spiders is to hunt insects and similar creatures, trapping them in a web and then using them as food. The spider is as good a cleaner as any for getting rid of unwanted visitors.
Not only do they keep insects at bay by using them as a food source, but they also keep other spiders away. Naturally territorial if a different species of spider makes its way into your house, the ones that took up residency initially will fight their new adversary, who wins though will depend on the size of the new visitor!
10 spiders you are likely to find in your house
With 640 indigenous species in England and Wales it is unlikely you have come across all the spiders in our list, however with an estimated 2.2million individual spiders per acre in some areas, it is fair to say you will get a visit from one or two!
Common Fox Spider
A rapid mover when it comes to finding food the common fox spider won’t leave a trail of webs as it resides in your garden. It much prefers to chase its food before a feast. Measuring between 5-11mm and with a yellowish/red abdomen you will find these out and about mainly between April-July.
Green Orb-Weaver Spider
Another fan of the garden, this vibrant arachnid may sometimes find itself in your house if it has wandered away from its favourite hedge, at just 6mm they are small but due to the bright green abdomen, they are easily identifiable. Web spinners that like flies and other small invertebrates, this little spider will be found between April-October.
Giant House Spider
One of the most common spiders you will come across and a rapid mover when it wants to be. Able to cover 20inches per second these messy web builders thrive on the insects that find their way into the home. With a bite that can pierce human skin the Giant House Spider is one that will defend itself if need be although it will only attack if severely provoked.
A tiny body and long legs make this spider quite distinguishable. With no ability to bite or spin a web, This creature scoops up its prey courtesy of little hooks on the ends of its legs. Living within walls they will prey on small insects, worms and snails when presented with the opportunity. With a lack of venom, their natural defence is to let out a foul-smelling liquid, they can also shed a leg if they need to escape!
This spider loves it in the South of Britain and spends its time on walls where sunlight is prominent, in gardens or hidden within bark or behind curtains. With a preference to reside near humans, you can expect to see these turn up in your house or garden nearer the summer. Despite their small size they will happily take on an insect two-three times their own size. Having the ability to jump means they can pounce on their prey rapidly.
One of the most common spiders in the UK and seen as a source of good luck, the money spider utilizes a method called ballooning to move around when it is not on the floor. This means it drifts through the air by releasing a small thread of web and allowing itself to be carried by the wind. This is a large reason they are so widespread, and it has been known for them to travel several hundred kilometers! Found almost anywhere they will help cleanse your home of small insects.
Tube Web Spider
Residents of England, in particular the South, the tube web spider is a fan of hiding in the cracks of walls. Present from June to November these spiders are known to pack a bite that can hurt a human where the pain can last several hours! It is no wonder that they hunt a more aggressive prey with a bite so potent and they will be on the lookout for wasps, bees, moths, and cockroaches. Growing up to 22mm and showing a striking green colour in places they have apparently been enjoying Britain since at least 1845.
Noble False Widow
The false widow has long been an inhibitor of UK homes for some time and whilst it was initially known to only reside in the South, they have been progressively making their way North. With three species to false widow, it is easy to get confused as to what type you may encounter in the home. Look for a skull like pattern on the abdomen to differentiate the Noble False Widow from the others. With a bite that can pierce skin if provoked it can cause you a lot of pain and discomfort, however the number of recorded bites from these is very small. Approximately 14mm in size, you’ll encounter them year-round but more commonly from July-November.
Lace Web Spider
Hiding themselves in your house throughout Autumn or in the walls and fencing outside all year long, these 20mm spiders make an almost wool like web in which to trap their pray. When heavy rain comes you will notice more appearing in the house as they may have been flooded out of their initial home. These are often confused with the false widows due to some similar features, but these are harmless and do not have the skull like feature on the abdomen.
This spider loves to live in a house or at least be near one and prefers drier areas. With the males present all year long and females from August- October they are noticeable due to their light oval spots showing on the abdomen. With the potential for a bite quite rare, these are a species more scared of you then you should be of them despite their imposing size.