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Everything You Need To Know About Wolf Spiders

Frequently asked questions about wolf spiders

We have many spiders in our Tennessee pest control service area. One type of spider we see quite a bit of are arachnids from the Lycosidae family, also known as wolf spiders. This is not surprising, considering there are more than 200 known species of Lycosidae in North America. Most of these species can be found crawling around in prairies and woodlands, but they can also be found in urban areas as well. You may even find one crawling around inside your home.

a wolf spider on a piece of cobblestone outside of a tennessee home

Do wolf spiders bite? 

Let's address the most important question first. When wolf spiders appear in Tennessee, folks want to know if these spiders are going to bite them. Since there are many species of wolf spider and individuals within a species can react differently when encountered, there is a lot of confusion on this topic. You may pick up one wolf spider up and have a very hard time getting it to bite you, while another may bite you immediately. For the most part, these spiders have no inclination to bite. But they can and do bite people.

Does a wolf spider bite hurt?

A bite from a wolf spider can be compared to a bee sting. It isn't extremely painful, but it will get your attention, especially if you get bit somewhere sensitive.

Are wolf spiders poisonous? 

All spiders have venom with which to disable their prey but the venom administered by wolf spiders is not considered medically important. A bite from this spider is not likely to turn into anything more than a red welt. And this is a good thing. Some wolf spiders are quite large. If their venom was more potent, it would create a considerable wound.

Why are they called wolf spiders? 

Wolf spiders in Tennessee are hunters. Unlike spiders that build a web and wait for their prey to come to them, wolf spiders go hunting for a meal--like a wolf. This is due, in large part, to their great eyesight.

Do wolf spiders go by other names? 

Yes. Some people call these ground spiders, hunting spiders, or funnel web spiders. Each of these names are connected to the specific traits of wolf spiders. These spiders prefer to establish a den in the ground. From this den they hunt for prey and pull it back in. And they use their webbing to fortify their den, which can make it look like a webbed funnel.

Do wolf spiders dig holes in the ground?

Wolf spiders are able to excavate a hole from which to attack their prey but, often, they will occupy a hole created by another creature. These holes are usually small, and hidden.

How big is a wolf spider? 

These spiders range in size from 10 to 40mm.

Do wolf spiders carry their babies around? 

Yes. If you've heard that a momma wolf spider carries her babies with her, you heard right. In fact, a momma wolf spider will allow her hatched spiderlings to ride on her back until they have their first molt. Discovering this fact can be disturbing. There is nothing quite like watching several dozen spiders jumping off their mother's back.

What do wolf spiders look like?

The primary identification trait of a wolf spider is its hairy body. They come in a few colors but brown and gray are the most common. If you see a brown wolf spider, it is likely to be Hogna carolinensis, which has a large distribution in the United States. These spiders have two dark lines on their back.

Are wolf spiders and brown recluse similar? 

No. Beyond the fact that these two spiders can be brown, that is where the similarity end. Brown recluse are not hairy, have a thinner body and longer legs, are characterized by the fiddle mark on their back, and have a potent venom that is medically important.

When wolf spiders show up in our Tennessee homes, they can cause quite a bit of fear. While this fear is mostly unwarranted, we understand if you'd rather not live with these spiders around. For assistance keeping this and other disturbing pests under control, reach out to us. All-American Pest Control is a leader in the pest control industry with a team of professionals who know the habits and habitats of the pests that invade Tennessee homes. Speak to one of our agents today to set up service and to learn more about out residential and commercial pest control services in Tennessee.


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