black widow spider handing from its web

We have a lot of spider species in Tennessee. Fortunately, only a dozen or so make themselves a problem for homeowners. These spiders fall into two categories: nuisance spiders and dangerous spiders. Here are a few commonalities within these spider groups.

Nuisance Spiders

There are many spiders that are considered a nuisance. The top two in Knoxville are American house spiders and cellar spiders. These are tiny arachnids that actually prefer to live in our homes with us, especially if we provide the right environment for them. But, since cellar spiders don't bite and the American house spider has a bite that will usually only create an itchy red welt, these are just irritating and creepy bugs to have around.

Common Traits

  • Both of these spiders have the same food source. They eat flies, moths, mosquitoes, and, occasionally, other spiders. Reducing flies in your home will make your home less attractive to nuisance spiders. If a fruit fly or fungus gnat infestation occurs, you'll quickly see how many of these spiders you have living inside your walls.

  • Both of these spiders can survive quite comfortably inside the environment of a home. They prefer a temperature-controlled climate and the abundance of food sources.

  • Both of these spiders love rooms that are humid. You can use this to help manage visible spider populations in your home. Installing fans and humidifiers will dry things out enough to make your common areas unenjoyable. That doesn't mean that you won't see any nuisance spiders. But you'll see fewer.

  • Both of these spiders make webs. These webs will usually be a tangled mess in high places, since they both focus on eating creatures that fly.

Poisonous Spiders

All spiders have venom. The reason poisonous spiders are such a threat to us is that their venom is meant to take down larger prey than those nuisance spiders. This creates some commonalities for how they establish their webs, and how they behave. The two poisonous spiders we see most in Knoxville are black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders.

Common Traits

  • Both of these spiders can eat tiny insects like nuisance spiders do, but they prefer to hunt a larger meal, such as cockroaches, crickets, and other bugs that crawl. As with nuisance spiders, you can make your home less attractive to poisonous spiders if you don't have food for them to eat. Proper control of pests in your home has a direct and indirect effect on spider populations.

  • Since poisonous spiders catch larger prey, they usually make their webs near the floor, and inside hollow spaces. If you see webs like this, it is a good idea to have a professional do an inspection and put in place monitoring devices to determine what spider threat you have.

  • Poisonous spiders don't actually prefer to be in your home. They can come in searching for food, and are prone to hiding in stored boxes and other places that cockroaches and crawling bugs explore, but you're most likely to find these spiders in your yard.

  • Protecting yourself from bites is similar for both of these spiders. Make sure to shake your shoes and your clothing before putting them on. Check towels before using them, especially if they have been left on the floor, and especially if they were on the ground in your yard. Be careful when turning over rocks, boards, and other objects in your yard. If you're working on a project, use work gloves. It is a good practice to pull you bedding down and examine your bed before getting into it, especially if you know you've had issues with poisonous spiders on your property. Always take care when searching through a box that has been stored in your attic, garage, or in an outbuilding.

  • Both of these spiders are medically important. If you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately to reduce symptoms and properly control the effects of the venom.

Here To Help!

There is one thing all of these spiders have in common. Their populations can be significantly reduced or entirely controlled with ongoing pest control from Russell's Pest Control. At Russell's, monitoring for spiders, and applying control measures to safeguard against them, is part of our basic pest control package. Find out more about Power, Power Gold, and Power Platinum service and get your home, your family, and your pets protected from all of the invasive pests we have in Knoxville. Help is just a click away.


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