Wolf Spiders have earned themselves a terrifying reputation. Extremely fast hunters with outstanding eyesight. But they’re not really all that bad…are they?
In this article, we will give you simple and clear guidance on how to get rid of wolf spiders and prevent them from coming back…for good!
Wolf Spider Identification
Before we delve into how to get rid of wolf spiders, it is important to confirm whether you have correctly identified the problem species. If it is not a wolf spider, you will need to consider other factors as to the spider behavior and any associated risks.
Wolf spiders are often mistaken for tarantulas, fishing spiders, and brown recluse because of the similar color or size. But there are a few features that will help you differentiate wolf spiders from other spiders.
How To Identify A Wolf Spider
- Arrangement of eyes: if you inclined to get close enough, you will see that the eyes of wolf spiders are fascinating and intimidating at the same time. They have two medium-sized eyes on the top, two very large eyes in the middle, and four small eyes at the bottom
- Shorter legs: When compared to web-building spiders, wolf spiders have short legs and a stout body. They use their legs to hold the prey before feeding
- Running speed: Wolf spiders are the real sprinters of the spider world. Being able to cover as much as 2 feet in a second, they are considered as the cheetah among all spiders
- No webs: Unlike most spiders, wolf spiders do not make webs. Instead, they go hunting or wait for their prey to come near them. They are true hunters, which is why they are also known as the hunting spider
- Way of carrying eggs: Wolf spiders are unique in the manner they carry their eggs. Mother wolf spiders carry the egg sacs at the end of the abdomen, taking good care of the unborn. Furthermore, they often carry their spiderlings for several days after they are born.
What Attracts Wolf Spiders?
Wolf spiders are solitary creatures with a shy and introverted nature, therefore, meeting one is relatively uncommon. They will typically avoid humans and will only bite if provoked continuously.
However, stay alerts, and you may see them in their preferred hang-outs:
- Wolf spider prefer dark places like garage, basements, or attics
- They hang out in areas where prey insects live such as beetles
- Look out for wolf spiders in your backyard or in the garden, under leaves or in log-piles
- They will attempt to enter your home through cracks and gaps seeking out insects and other food items
What To Do If You Find A Wolf Spider In Your Home
Wolf spiders are considered a beneficial bug that plays an important role in natural pest control. Since they are an essential part of the ecosystem, it is best to let wolf spiders live if you encounter one. If you find more than one, or if they become a pest you can take action to remove them
Keep the following things in mind if you find a wolf spider in your home:
- Avoid touching the spider to prevent being bitten
- Do not squash the spider, as it may release hundreds of spiderlings from it’s back
- Use traps or insecticide spray as necessary
- Follow our preventative steps below to avoid a re-occurrence
How To Kill Wolf Spiders
Since wolf spiders are solitary animals, it is relatively easy to get rid of them.
Although its best to take preventative action to avoid wolf spider infestations. However, using sprays or traps isn’t a bad idea if you already have a spider infestation within your home
As we mentioned previously avoid squashing or crushing spiders as this approach has the potential to release hundreds of tiny baby spiders sprawling across your floor.
1. Wolf Spider Spray
Using a spider spray is an excellent way to kill arthropods. A spider spray will leave a residual insecticide on surfaces around the outside of the home. Spray around drains, brickwork and external gaps.
The intention is to create an invisible insecticide barrier that the spider has to walk over to enter your property. Picking up the compound as it walks through the residue.
2. Wolf Spider Powders
Similar to the insecticide spray, powders containing Pyrethroids are a great product to sprinkle on floor surfaces, lawn, or around your backyard.
Boric acid can also be used in powder form to sprinkle in dark areas, corners, inside cracks, or under furniture. When the spider walks over the power the abrasive nature of the product damages the spider exoskeleton and also causes stomach poisoning.
How To Get Rid Of Wolf Spiders Naturally
If wolf spiders have already found comfort in your home, there are a few natural ways to get rid of them instead of using sprays or powders.
3. Wolf Spider Traps
Spiders traps have a sticky adhesive surface to catch passing spiders. They are simply a thick card layer or cardboard structure coated with a sticky adhesive substance, similar to a sticky fly trap. The principle is the spiders walks over the trap and stick to it leading to death by starvation or being disposed of safely.
Place the traps in low lit areas like basements, garages, and closets as wolf spiders love dark corners.
A great non-toxic, clean product to use in the home where small children or pests may be present.
4. Organic Pesticides
Plant-based pesticides containing Hexa-hydroxyl are effective to remove wolf spiders. It comes in the form of powder or granules that are safe for children and pets. This is also a great option for applications on lawns and larger outdoor spaces.
Simply apply the insecticide with a granular spreader. Check the manufacturer’s instructions as some granular products require activation with water, so are best used prior to rain.
How to Prevent Wolf Spider Infestation
Preventing wolf spider infestation is always better than dealing with an actual infestation. Since wolf spiders do not occur in colonies, getting rid of them is relatively easy.
Follow these simple steps to make your home unappealing to the arachnids:
Vacuum To Prevent Insects
Wolf spiders love to eat other insects. One of the best preventative strategies you can deploy is to keep your home free from food crumbs and other items that attract the wolf spiders food source (beetles, ants etc) into your home
Remember to clean all corners and hidden areas to get rid of all insects and spiders.
Clear Away Clutter and Debris
Clear away piles of leaves, firewood, and compost. Wolf spiders often dwell under leaves, stones, and debris. Decluttering your home and backyard is an important step to remove environments that attract wolf spiders and other insects
Seal Cracks, Gaps and Crevices
Closing off entry points is essential if you want to prevent unwelcome guests from entering your home. Under the door, cracks in brickwork, gaps in air vents will all provide a way in for these small spiders.
Use copper mesh blockers to plug larger gaps around waste pipes, eves, or building materials such as expanding foam spray, filler or decorators caulk to fill smaller gaps.
If it is not obvious already, an open window is an open invitation for insects and yes the predatory wolf spider will follow them in.
Get Rid of Cardboard Boxes
Wolf spiders find cardboard boxes to be spacious and cozy. Remove the empty boxes from basements and attics and generally avoid clutter that creates dark spaces and crevices.
Types Of Wolf Spiders
Wolf spiders are present all around the world, with about 2,300 species known, out of which 200 species live in the United States. The Carolina wolf spider is the official state spider of South Carolina. The habitat and a few behaviors change with the type of wolf spiders.
Binomial Name (Scientific Name)
Lycos is a Latin word that means “wolf”. The term was chosen owing to the hunting nature of these spiders that is similar to how wolves hunt. However, there is a behavioural difference. Wolves hunt in packs, whereas spiders are solitary animals.
Here’s the taxonomy of wolf spiders, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS):
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Subkingdom: Bilateria
- Infrakingdom: Protostomia
- Superphylum: Ecdysozoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
- Family: Lycosidae
Wolf Spider Size
0.4 in to 1.38 in.
Males are smaller than females. The largest wolf spiders belong to the genus Hogna.
Long and broad body, with stout legs. They have shorter legs when compared to web-building spiders.
These arthropods also have a two-segmented body: the cephalothorax and the abdomen. Wolf spiders with the largest bodies belong to the genus Lycosa.
Number Of Legs
Eight legs attached to the cephalothorax.
The two small legs on the front of the cephalothorax are called pedipalps. These mini-legs are used to grab and hold their prey before biting it.
Wolf Spider Eyes
Eight eyes arranged in three rows. The top row consists of two medium-sized eyes, the middle row has two large eyes, and the bottom row has four small eyes.
The two large and prominent eyes help distinguish wolf spiders from other species, as most species have the same sized eyes.
Wolf Spider Color
Most wolf spiders are dark brown or solid black. But the color varies with the spider species. Although most species are one single color, some come with stripes and blotches.
Wolf spiders are less visible than other kinds of spiders as they depend on camouflage for protection. This feature helps them to catch their prey and stay safe from predators.
- Hunters: Wolf spiders are more robust than many other species. Their excellent eyesight and running speed make them fantastic hunters.
They also have excellent night vision, allowing them to hunt for food in the dark hours. This nocturnal hunter has evolved a ‘tapetum lucidum’ (a layer in the choroid of the eyes) to enhance low-light vision.
- Solitary: They mostly live in solitude and hunt alone
- Parenting: The parenting habits of wolf spiders are different from other species. The mother lays several eggs and wraps them in silk, creating individual egg sacs.
They continue to care for the young even after the eggs hatch. The spiderlings cling on to their mother’s back for several days.
- Mating: Wolf spiders rely on visual cues more than other types of spiders, as they have good eyesight. The male wolf spiders capture the attention of females by waving the pedipalps (the mini-legs at the front) in a special pattern.
- Nature: Wolf spiders are shy and introverted creatures. If you encounter a wolf spider in your home, chances are, it will likely run away to escape
- Lifespan: Male wolf spiders mostly live for a year, while females live for several years.
Wolf Spider Distribution
Wolf spiders are found all over the world with over 100 genera and 2300 species. The largest wolf spiders are seen in North Carolina, in the United States.
Some species prefer specific microhabitat needs, such as stream-side gravel beds, herb-fields, or coastal sand-dunes.
Do Wolf Spiders Make Webs?
No, Wolf Spider don’t make webs.
Instead, Wolf Spiders are robust and agile hunters with sharp eyesight. Exhibiting the characteristics of a hunter, pouncing upon passing prey, or chase over short distances.
In self-protection, wolf spiders use their great eyesight, camouflage patterns, high running speed, and vibrations senses to avoid predators.
Where Do Wolf Spiders Live
Wolf spiders prefer to live among grass, under stones, vegetation litter, or tunnels.
Due to the solitary nature of the spider and their hunting prowess, they prefer temporary resting places. Preferring to occupy existing gaps, tunnels, or crevices offering shelter and warmth.
During autumn, they are attracted to human habitation seeking warmth in tunnels in the soil or under leaf litter. Or looking our for small gaps or spaces to the hideout.
What Do Wolf Spiders Eat
Wolf Spiders’ diet is varied, including grasshoppers, beetles, and other invertebrates such as amphibians and reptiles. Ground-dwelling insects are the most commonly hunted food.
Are Wolf Spiders Dangerous
Wolf spiders will bite humans but with very limited risk.
If you are bitten by a wolf spider, you may experience redness or swelling, similar to that of a bee sting. In rare cases, people can develop serious reactions that may require medical attention.
Wolf Spider Bite Symptoms
The symptoms of a wolf spider bite can vary in severity, but the most common signs are swelling mild pain and itching. You may also notice a red bump on the site of the bite.
If the pain or your physical response to the bite is extreme, it could be an indication that the bite was from a more dangerous species, such as a Brown Recluse Spider.
If the symptoms do not fade off over time, or if you notice any of the following symptoms, seek medical help immediately.
- Breathing difficulty
- Large red bump
- Swelling in the face
- Excessive sweating
- Dizziness or unconsciousness
Wolf Spider Bite Treatment
- Wash the bite with warm water and soap to clean it
- Use a cold compress, ice pack, or cold wet cloth to soothe any pain and reduce potential swelling
- If possible elevate the bite site, to relieve the sense of pressure
- Take over the counter anti-inflammatory and apply a bite cream
Summary How To Get Rid Of Wolf Spiders
So we have looked at how to get rid of wolf spiders from your garden or within your home. Although they do not present a real risk to humans, it can be unnerving having these hunting arachnids scuttling around whilst you sleep.
Whether you choose to kill, trap or take a more sensitive approach to removing them from your property, be sure to implement the preventative measures so you don’t have to go through the process again and again.