Nursery Web Spider

Nursery web spiders can usually be seen carrying large egg sacs. They are hunting spiders and prominent around large bodies of water, creeks, and streams. Nursery web spiders bear a striking resemblance to the wolf spider, but possess minor differences. They pose no significant threat to humans but may be seen in the home from time to time. If you're seeing high numbers of these spiders, it's likely due to nearby bodies of water and heavy breeding.

Nursery Web Spider Identification

The nursery web spider is hairy and may average one inch at the adult stage. They also vary in color depending on the species, but they are prominently brown or yellow and may have a dark brown band about the carapace and abdomen. They possess eight eyes that are arranged in two rows, the back row being shaped like the letter ‘u’. The key identifier is finding a female supporting a large round egg sac with her fangs. Males are seen more frequently between June and July when searching for a mate. The female may then construct a web amidst leaf litter to suspend her eggs when they are ready to hatch. She will remain there until all of her spiderlings have dispersed.

Behavior & Facts

Many species of nursery web spiders are able to walk on water and dive after prey. They feed on insects, worms, small fish and tadpoles. This species, like many others, is known to engage in sexual cannibalism, where the male is eaten after mating. In an attempt to satisfy the females hunger, the male will present the female with a meal prior to mating. Females are quite maternal and prefer to nest around plant life, shrubbery, and wooded lots, where they can retreat after hunting and monitor eggs before they hatch. The female will carry the egg until it hatches.

Nursery Web Spider Bite

The nursery web spider has a moderately painful bite but is not known to attack unless it is aggravated. Most bites occur when a spider is accidentally wedged between clothing and the bite is accompanied by localized redness and swelling. With an ice pack and some Benadryl to reduce the swelling, symptoms should disappear after a few days.