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Spiders

All spiders are predators. They feed on a wide variety of insects and other soft-bodied invertebrate animals. Spiders attack and subdue their prey by biting with their fangs to inject a poison. As predators spiders are beneficial, especially when they feed on household and garden insect pests. There are no poisonous spiders native to Maine.

All spiders spin silk, but the silk is used in a wide variety of ways. Most spiders construct a silken case to protect their eggs, but not all spiders make a web.

 

Common Spiders in Maine

American house spider fisher spider wolf spider jumping spider
House spiders (Achaearanea tepidariorum) are common in barns and houses, where they construct webs in the corners of walls, floor joists, and windows. Because they frequently abandon their web to build new ones nearby, they can produce many webs in a short period of time. Fisher spiders (Family Dolomedes) are also known as fishing spiders or water spiders. They are amphibious and are typically found in moist areas, especially along the edges of streams and lakes. They have the ability to skate across the surface of the water and will even dive beneath the surface to feed on small fish, tadpoles and aquatic insects. Wolf spiders (Family Lycosidae) hunt at night and are often seen under lights. They run over the ground or on plants in search of prey and pounce upon their victims with vigor and power. They are large, usually brown and black, and may have longitudinal stripes. They frequently enter homes and backyards but pose no danger to people. Jumping spiders (Family Salticidae) are active hunters during the day, stalking their prey and attacking in a fast leap. They can sometimes be seen dangling from a silken dragline after a leap that fails. Many jumping spiders are bold, stocky and often brightly colored. They are not considered hazardous to humans and are unlikely to bite unless cornered or handled.

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Identification and Control Information (each will open in a new window)

 

[Photos, left to right: Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org; David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org; Eugene E. Nelson, Bugwood.org; David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org]

 
It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.