The classic image of a spider web appears as a circular design containing curved geometric shapes. However, these hypnotic-looking webs are built mainly by orb-weaver spiders and a few other arachnid groups. Most spider webs are not nearly so intricately designed. In fact, the cobwebs that you have no doubt encountered within your home numerous times over the years are the most common types of spider webs. Obviously, cobwebs are far more abundant in structures that are not regularly inhabited. Such structures include barns, sheds, storage areas, attics, basements and crawl spaces. Cobwebs are not as abundant within regularly inhabited homes, as house spiders must make an effort to remain hidden from a home’s occupants. But many residents have surely noticed that cobwebs become more abundant within a home following a long vacation, indicating that house spiders waste little time taking advantage of larger areas of space to catch their prey when humans are not present. The most common type of house spider is the Achaearanea tepidariorum species, which is more commonly known as the American house spider.

The American house spider is not aggressive, but they are abundant in all homes, whether you see them or not. These spiders are small and go to great lengths to avoid being noticed by a home’s occupants. In fact, these spiders are so docile that they often “play dead” as opposed to biting in defense. However, if these spiders are roughly handled they will inflict a bite that is surprisingly painful, but despite being closely related to the black widow, these bites almost never require medical attention. The webs can be found in the corners of houses, wall joists and in window sills, but they also dwell outdoors beneath rocks and plant material and beneath structures like bridges. The spiders themselves often dwell within the dampest areas of a home, such as basements and crawl spaces. Their small body size allows them to easily access indoor areas. Summer homes that are not occupied year round can become inundated with American house spiders. And they can become a nuisance within a home after a home has remained unoccupied for a period of time. In some cases, pest control providers are called upon to eradicate infestations of American house spiders.

Have you ever walked through a cobweb upon returning home after a long vacation?