At some point, you may have seen some spiders in your lawn. They’re easy to misidentify. The most common type is the grass spider, also called the funnel-web spider. In most areas, you’ll start to see these spiders from early spring all the way to the end of summer.
To get rid of spiders in your lawn, trim overgrowing vegetation around your home and mow turfgrass to keep it short and reduce cover for the spiders. Also, remove spider webs manually and clean your yard to remove food particles and debris that attract other insects that spiders prey on.
The most common species of spiders in lawns is the Agelenopsis spp. It is also called the grass spider. Other types such as the hobo and wolf spiders may also be present in your lawn. The question is, are they poisonous? Do lawn spiders bite?
Lawn Spiders Identification
There may be different types of spiders in your lawn. Identifying them is very important as it will help you distinguish the poisonous vs the non-poisonous ones. Here, I’ll help you identify the features that distinguish the various spiders commonly found in lawns and backyards.
1. Grass Spider (Agelenopsis spp)
The American grass spider can grow to about 19 mm in body length, with the hind spinnerets prominent and distinct. The easiest way to identify this spider is by its dark bands running on the sides of the cephalothorax.
The grass spider is known to be a funnel-web builder. You’ll easily know your yard and lawn has them by noticing the little funnel-like webs they build in the grass. They may use grass blades to build their funnel webs in between them.
The web constructed by grass spiders in your lawn is not sticky. To compensate for this, the spider runs very fast. Sometimes, unsuspecting insects wander into the funnel and get themselves entangled by the web.
You might start to notice these little creatures enter your house as winter approaches. This is because they are escaping the low temperatures outside and opting for the warmth in the house.
This should not scare you because Grass spiders are not dangerous to humans. They will die with the onset of winter because of the harsh weather conditions.
Is your lawn infested with spiders? Here’s a picture to help you identify the Grass Spider:
2. Wolf Spider
The wolf spider is often mistaken for the grass spider because of the similarity in the thoracic stripes. Those of wolf spiders are thick and more pronounced.
One of the major differences between wolf spiders and grass spiders in your lawn is that wolf spiders do not spin webs. Instead, they burrow small holes in the yard where they hide and wait for prey to come nearby and attack it.
Wolf spiders are fast-moving predators and do not need webs to catch prey. Their speed, sharp eye-sight, and spiky legs make them among the top predatory spiders in the lawn.
Being hunters, you’ll easily find wolf spiders in your lawn because of the insect activity in the grass. Grasshoppers and other insects move and feed in your turf, making it the perfect hunting place for wolf spiders.
3. Hobo Spider
Like grass spiders, hobo spiders are a species of funnel-web spiders that can easily be found in your home – around yards and lawns. They’re common in the northwestern parts of the United States.
It is hard to identify the hobo spider because it appears to have long legs, a brown body, and a grayish abdomen, sometimes with slight yellow markings. These are typical characteristics of many species of spiders that may be found in your yard.
If you wake up to a lawn dotted with small webs all over the place, chances are hobo spiders have infested it.
This spider is commonly confused with other spiders because it has varying shades of brown. You might even think it is a wolf spider or even a brown recluse spider.
Note that if there are shrubs, trees, and bushy areas surrounding your lawn and yard, there may be many other types of spiders hunting in your lawn than the ones we’ve identified above.
Are Grass Spiders Dangerous and Poisonous?
The American grass spider produces toxins that can quickly paralyze their prey. Their prey are mostly small insects found in the lawn or grassy areas. As a homeowner, your worry is knowing whether the grass spider’s bite is poisonous and dangerous to your health.
- Grass spiders may bite but their venom does not affect humans.
- Wolf spiders can bite especially when disturbed. The bite will hurt but it is not life-threatening.
- Hobo spiders hardly attack people unless provoked. They’re aggressive hunters but not to human beings. When they bite, their venom is fairly dangerous.
Most of us like playing lawn and yard games. If you think your lawn is infested with spiders, it might be dangerous because you’ll be risking spider bites. Some spider bites can be painful and dangerous. If you suspect you’ve been bitten by a venomous spider, seek immediate medical attention.
Do Lawn Spiders Bite?
Wolf spiders are known to bite especially when disturbed. However, they are not aggressive and will hardly bite you if not disturbed. These spiders are venomous, but their bites will hardly require treatment.
Hobo spiders don’t bite humans unless provoked. Some earlier studies have shown that their bites can cause unwanted symptoms in humans. However, later studies have shown that the bite from a hobo spider is not medically dangerous.
Grass spiders are not expected to bite. However, when under duress, they may bite even though they’re not poisonous.
Note that your lawn may be inhabited by other types of spiders other than the three I’ve discussed above.
How to Get Rid of Spiders in Your Lawn
Most of the spiders in your yard are harmless. In fact, they’re usually beneficial because they prey on harmful insects such as mosquitoes,
1. Apply insecticide to control insects in your lawn
Spiders in your home appear because there’s plenty of food around the yard and lawn. As I’ve already pointed out, grass spiders and other types of spiders in your lawn live off insects. So, if you have plenty of insects in your lawn, you’ll have spiders crawling around as well.
To get rid of spiders in your lawn, you want to control insects by applying an insecticide.
- One of my favorite treatment for lawns is the Control Solutions Bifen Granules that contain an insecticide.
- You can also use the EcoSmart Insect Killer which is made of organic ingredients and won’t affect your lawn, yard plants as well as pets.
These two insecticides can kill not only lawn spiders but also other unwanted insects in your lawn. Bifen LP Granules, for example, can kill over 100 different types of insects and remains potent for a period of 3 months. One application can really help in getting rid of spiders in your lawn over a long period.
2. Cut vegetation around your yard
Some species of spiders like creating their homes in dense vegetation. The reason you probably have a spider infestation in your yard is probably the overgrowing vegetation.
To control and get rid of lawn spiders, trim vegetation frequently to leave the area around your home clean and well-manicured. This will go a great deal in sending away the spiders towards the denser areas.
You also want to remove debris and leaves on your lawn as these attract insects and provide hiding room for such creatures.
3. Mow your lawn frequently
Mowing is a great way of keeping your lawn neat, making grass grow thicker, and preventing unwanted insects and animals from inhabiting your space.
To control and discourage spiders in your lawn, ensure you mow frequently at the right height. It will keep away a lot of insects that may infest your lawn frequently.
4. Remove spider webs frequently
When you wake up to grass covered in spider webs, especially when there’s dew on your lawn, it’s time to clean up. The trick is slow but works in controlling spiders in your lawn.
Here are three ways of removing spider webs that work best for me:
- Use a sprinkler at high pressure to destroy and remove spider webs on your lawn as you water the grass.
- Using a broom, gently sweep the spider webs off the grass. Ensure you do this carefully not to damage the grass blades in your lawn.
- You can also use a vacuum or leaf blower to get rid of spider webs on your lawn. It works.
5. Clean up your yard
Food crumbs and residue left behind by sugary drinks are food for ants, flies, and other small insects. When ants infest your lawn due to such food residue, you should expect spiders to infest the area as well because they come hunting these small insects.
Should You Kill Lawn Spiders and Insects?
While lawn spiders may be unwanted, it is important to know that other insects that aren’t harmful to your grass inhabit the lawn. Spraying an insecticide can eliminate the spiders, but may also do a lot more damage than you think.
The toxin in insecticide can seep through the soil and kill important organisms in the soil, slowing down the process of decomposition and organic fertilizer release.
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