Funnel Web Spider
Summary: The common Funnel Web spiders derives its name from the unique webs it spins. The Funnel Web spider kills garden pests, but the bite of this common spider is harmless to humans.
Funnel Web spiders derive their name from the unique webs they create. At first glance, their webs look ordinary, but in the middle or on the side of the webs, there is a funnel spun out of the web silk. The spiders hide in this funnel to wait for flies, insects, or even other funnel web spiders to land in their webs. Immediately after their prey lands, they scurry out to bite it. Their bite contains venom, which numbs their prey instantly. Then, the spiders bring their prey back down into the funnel to hide from predators while enjoying a delicious lunch.
Funnel Web spiders can grow up to one inch in length, with females growing slightly larger than males. (This measurement does not include leg length.) They are typically brown and gray and have eight eyes and eight legs. They are very quick-moving spiders and only create one web during their lifetime.
These spiders will create their webs in grass, bushes, wooded areas, gardens, small burrows, corners of buildings, under rocks, and in dark areas inside homes. One species is nicknamed “grass spiders” because they can be seen in lawns among the morning dew. Funnel web spiders fear the light and are most active at night. Most Funnel Web spiders die by wintertime.
Female Funnel Web spiders play “hard to get” and wait while males come in search of them to mate. While they are waiting, they build their webs and eat insects. After mating, males usually die and females lay the eggs. Female Funnel Web spiders die shortly after laying eggs.
If a Funnel Web spider bites you while you are working in your yard, do not get too worried. You will only feel a sharp prick from its bite. Its venom is relatively harmless to humans. However, there are a couple species of Funnel Web spiders with very toxic venom, but these are found only in Australia. If you see funnel web spiders in your yard, keep in mind that they are beneficial because they eat insects that can become pests.
If funnel web spiders invade your home, here are some tips to help eliminate them.
Vacuum regularly, including underneath beds and other furniture.
If there are holes in the screens of your doors or windows, replace them immediately. Even a small rip is enough for funnel web spiders to crawl in.
Never put firewood against the siding of your house. It is an invitation for funnel web spiders and other pests to find a way in! Keep firewood as far from your house as possible. Also, elevate it off the ground for extra precaution.
Cut down any branches or limbs of trees that are touching your home.
Seal any holes or crevices in the foundation or doors of your home.
If there are many spider webs along the siding of your house, hosing them down with a power washer will help eliminate them.
Change the light bulbs of your porch or patio to yellow or sodium vapor lights.
Dust and sweep the floors in your home regularly.
Use plastic tubs or containers for storage. Spiders seem to be attracted to cardboard boxes.
Use a leaf blower to eliminate dust from your garage or shed.
Spray an insecticide containing pyrethins in the places where you have found spiders. Also, spray the insecticide in corners in your basement and garage.
Put a few drops of chestnut oil on some cotton balls. Set them on windowsills and other places where spiders could easily get into your home. Spiders are repelled by the smell of chestnuts, so they should avoid coming inside.
Block up the drains to your sinks and bathtubs at night. Spiders can crawl in from there.
Set off a total release aerosol insecticide “ fogger” in your basement. This treatment will help deter many different types of pests. Make sure you are out of your home for at least 3 hours to allow the house to properly ventilate before you return.