These creatures occur throughout the world and have derived their name from their presence inside human dwellings. A number of species are classified as “house spiders,” although the Common House Spider is the most recognized. These arachnids are also sometimes referred to as American House Spiders.
House Spiders are typically brown or gray in color, with darker chevron markings along their bodies. Their legs are yellow, with rings at the end of each segment. Adult females are considerably larger than males.
Their presence is typically characterized by the formation of cobwebs; irregularly shaped structures that can be located in various places within a home, including windows, ceiling corners and above or beneath fixtures.
The abundance of empty webs is caused by the House Spider’s propensity to construct webs in various locations until it finds the most suitable place to catch prey. Unlike some other spider species, House Spiders may choose to cohabitate and mate numerous times. Females deposit as many as 250 eggs into a sac of silk. These sacs are often brown in color and are flask-like in shape. An individual spider can produce over a dozen egg sacs in her lifetime.
After hatching, air currents disperse surviving spiderlings on threads of silk. This process, known as ballooning, allows spiders to populate areas far from where they were hatched. Adult specimens may survive for more than a year.
This is one of the most commonly encountered cobweb spiders in urban areas, and can be found in almost every garage, barn, and attic. It is harmless, and it catches and eats flies, mosquitoes, and other pests that enter buildings.