Wolf spiders are extremely fast and built for hunting; this means they don’t rely on webs for catching prey. The wolf spider is distinguishable by it's giant body and a large tan stripe running the length of its carapace (the portion closest that looks like the spiders head), with black or brown on both sides. They have furry legs and are often confused with the nursery web spider. During warmer seasons, they can often be seen running around carrying large egg sacs at the rear end. Wolf spiders are diurnal, meaning they hunt during the day or night.
The wolf spider is one of the larger spiders in the United States, measuring over an inch in length. They prefer to dwell in cool protective areas, burrowing in mulch, underneath rocks, pine straw, and beneath splash blocks. They will eat just about anything they can catch, including crickets and flies, pouncing onto their prey and crushing them with their powerful chelicerae (spider jaws). After catching its prey, the wolf spider will deliver a venomous bite, paralyzing or killing the victim. The wolf spiders venom is designed to liquefy the insides of its prey, making the meal easier to digest. Wolf spiders will not attack unless continually provoked and will occasionally enter homes.
To get rid of wolf spiders, the focus should be on exclusion. Most of the time, spiders this big will enter through an open or poorly sealed door. If you are finding wolf spiders in the house, you should check the weather stripping around all the exterior doors, as well as the basement door if you have one. Nine times out of ten, they will enter the home through the garage. Use sticky traps on the inside of the garage door to catch them before they can enter the interior.
- Check all windows to make sure they are screened and sealed. Don't forget to make sure all doors are sealed also.
- Place glue boards on the interior of the garage. Garages are poorly sealed and the starting point for many pest problems
- Remove potential nesting sites. Wolf spiders will take shelter under just about anything. Ensure leaf and plant debris is kept far away from the house.
The wolf spider is unable to survive in a home environment and will most likely die if it's not released back outside. It is also best to avoid smashing them. Many times, females will either have their young on their back or be carrying a large egg sac, which upon smashing will release an explosion of hundreds of baby spiders all over your floor. If you have a rogue wolf spider running around the home, place a cup over its body and wedge a piece of paper between it. Catch and release – wolf spiders are scary, but 100 percent beneficial to have in any garden or landscape.
Using pesticides for wolf spiders should only be used in combination with the exclusion tips listed above. Any chemical treatments should be concentrated in the flowerbeds and around the entrance points.
- Using your product of choice, dampen the flowerbeds around the home. Wolf spiders thrive in mulch and pine straw.
- Spray around all potential entrances. This includes the doors, windows, and plumbing lines coming into the home.
- Treat beneath potential harborage sites. Rain traps, fallen limbs, rocks, and retaining walls should all be closely inspected.
The best way to control spiders is direct contact. Because they don't clean themselves like most insects do, it takes longer for them to metabolize or be affected by products sprayed around the home.
Wolf spider bites are very painful, but not dangerous. The bite of a wolf spider bite is identifiable by two tiny red dots where the bite occurred. There are lots of wolf spider bite pictures online falsely using brown recluse spider bite pictures, so it’s important to understand the difference. In most cases, people experience localized reddening and swelling, similar to a wasp sting, but a bit more painful. Proper spider identification allows for better understanding of venom potency. Chances are it will itch too, but itching will only cause further irritation. You can save yourself a trip to the ER by rubbing some toothpaste or baking soda on the bite to reduce swelling, applying a cold ice pack, and taking some Tylenol for pain relief. If the swelling begins to spread beyond the bite, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.