cellar spider on web in knoxville home

Do you have spiders in your cellar? If you do, it is likely that you have the species of spider known as Pholcus phalangioides. That is the fancy scientific name for long-bodied cellar spiders. You might call them daddy longlegs. Most people do. But cellar spiders aren't considered to be the true owners of that name. A true daddy longlegs belongs to the order Opiliones and is not really a spider, though it has some spider-like qualities and is considered an arachnid. These true daddy longlegs are called harvestman, and they aren't household pests. Daddy longlegs spiders, on the other hand, are common household pests, especially in our Knoxville service area.

Why do cellar spiders like my cellar?

In nature, these spiders can be found in dark, damp caves by the thousands. Caves are their ideal environment. So it isn't surprising to see them establishing themselves on the hard concrete surfaces in our humid cellars.

How do cellar spiders get in?

At only ¼ of an inch in size, these spiders are pretty small. It doesn't take much of a gap to allow one into your home. Once inside, it can reproduce inside. It never has to go back outside. Some of the entry points these spiders use are:

  • Gaps around window frames, particularly basement windows.
  • Broken window panes and holes in window panes created by wood-damaging pests, such as mice, rats and carpenter ants.
  • Gaps in the weatherstripping seal around basement doors.
  • Cracks in foundation walls or chipped mortar around bricks.
  • Gaps around plumbing pipes that pass through foundation walls.
  • Gaps around wire conduit or exterior wall openings found in electrical boxes.
  • Sometimes these spiders are carried into a home. They can hide in containers and other items that are stored in cellars. If these items are moved from one cellar to another, the spiders move with the item.

Are cellar spiders harmful?

You may have heard that cellar spiders have the deadliest venom of any spider in the world but that its fangs are two small to break human skin. This is not likely to be true. First of all, there is no scientific evidence or trusted scientific study that can be referenced to determine the potency of cellar spider venom. Second, the fangs of a cellar spider may be small but so are the fangs of a brown recluse spider, and we know for sure that brown recluse spiders can bite people. As of this writing, cellar spiders are not known to bite people or deliver a dose of deadly venom. They may be completely harmless.

Should you leave those harmless spiders alone?

You can if you want to. They're just going to build webs all over your cellar and catch insects that are crawling around in your basement. It is preferable to have harmless cellar spiders than cockroaches, right? Yes, but keep in mind that cellar spiders don't have the dedication and professionalism of a licensed pest control technician. They're not going to catch and eat "all" the cockroaches that get into your home. It is best to leave your pest control to human pest control experts who know how to fully exclude pests from your home.

Spider Management

It is important to know what to do if you see spiders in your home. Leaving them alone isn't really the best idea. Here are a few tips that can reduce cellar spiders and other, potentially dangerous spiders that are in your cellar.

  • When you see webs, remove them. This can be a strong deterrent for spiders because it lets the spiders know that their hard work may be for nothing. You can use a vacuum to suck webs up or a broom to swipe them down.
  • Consider installing fans and dehumidifiers in your basement to keep it dry. Not only will this reduce cellar spiders, it will reduce other moisture pests which can be very beneficial to your home and to your health.
  • Do an inspection of your exterior and seal any gaps, cracks, or holes you find. This will make it harder for cellar spiders and other pests to get in.

Spider Control

The best way to control spiders completely is by reaching out to the pest control experts at Russell's Pest Control. We offer residential pest control plans that include coverage for many common household spiders. You don't have to live with those creepy arachnids or deal with all of the webs they make. Get started by requesting a free, no-obligation, pest control estimate today.


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