Itsy Bitsy Big Ugly Spiders

I went to my sister’s house yesterday for a birthday party. The skies were blue, the grass was green and it was in the mid 70’s. In other words, it was a perfect day, and definitely a day to be outside.

Being one of the last to arrive, I assumed when I went into the house, everyone would already be outside on the deck and gazebo. Instead, I found everyone inside the house. All inside! I asked the group why no one was outside. My niece, who is 9, piped up and said “We are all afraid of the spiders”.

Spiders? My sister had mentioned some spiders hanging out around the gazebo and nearby sandbox, but I hadn’t given it too much thought. I certainly didn’t think it was keeping some of them from going outside.

So my sister went out with me to show me one of the spiders. I am warning you now that I put a picture of one of the spiders at the bottom of this post, so if you aren’t into big, ugly spiders, you can pass now and move on to something else. If you are undecided on if you want to get to the bottom to see the picture, I’ll just natter on here for a bit longer while you decide.

We think the spiders are big, and there seems to be quite a few of them. Most of them have taken up residence in two large Albert Spruces (Picea glauca ‘Conica’). These are two of the best looking Alberta Spruces that I have ever seen; they are over 20 years old and we’ve done almost nothing special to them. They’ve never even had red spider mites, which is a common problem with them.

Now they’ve got these great, big spiders living in them. Another sister and I talked about the spiders and agreed that if they were in our yard, we would have done something about them. However, I am not sure what that something would be. I would not want to spray them with a chemical and risk injury to the spruces. But life outside would be better without them!

My sister’s kids are even starting to use these spiders as a reason not to go out onto the deck. And these are not kids that generally run at the sight of any bugs. So, you know these are big, ugly, scary looking spiders.

As additional background information, next door, the neighbors had a creek that flowed through their property but they and some other neighbors talked the city into putting in gigantic plastic pipes underground and covering over the creek. In the process, they also cut down several very large maple trees, some of the biggest around. We all thought it was a shame and wonder if this is where the spiders came from. Perhaps the destruction of this last little bit of wilderness in the neighborhood forced them to find a new home, and that new home is in my sister’s yard?

So, I’ve gone on enough, by now you should be seeing the picture of one of the spiders that I posted below. Any idea what kind of spider it is? Is it a wolf spider? I have no desire to do all kinds of web searches to look at various spiders to try to figure out kind this one is. How would you get rid of them? Would you use a chemical? How about a strong spray of water to knock them of the tree? Would they just go back? Or would you leave them alone? Remember, I am showing you just one, keep in mind there are a whole bunch of them out there!

Oh, and the beautiful day was just too special to miss, so eventually most of us did end up outside on the gazebo, but I think all of us kept at least one eye on the spiders to make sure they stayed in the spruces and left us alone!


  1. Carol,
    I don't think the picture does them justice. I think there were at leat 3inches across, don't you? Maybe 4. I wouldn't try to knock them off. Then they might decide to head for the house. I think a professional should be brought in. Are they tarantulas? I'm glad they're not at my house.

  2. I would be spraying every one I see with whatever harsh spray it takes (the spruce will survive) because when the weather turns cool those spiders will find a way in to the house and that would not be good--nightmares for sure for me.

  3. But maybe it is the spiders that have insured the spruces have been so healthy.

    Remember, spiders eat pests in the garden. You sort of want them around.

    Now, granted, even I draw the line a black widows, but only if they are in a high-traffic part of the garden or garage.

    As scary as spiders might be, they do a lot of good in the garden. Heck, even tarantulas can be kept as pets. Not that I would go that far, though.

  4. As I read through the post I was thinking "What a lot of fuss for a few little spiders ... " Then I saw the photo. Yerk! If I were you, I'd try and find out what they are. For me, it would make a big difference to my decision aboout what to do about them if I knew if they were poisonous or not. Find a blog on spiders and ask the writer to look at your site and try and identify them.

  5. Those are way cool!!! I think that if it were me, I'd be out there trying to photograph them all the time. lol.

    I bet you're right with the wolf spider ID. Check out this page:
    Seriously, I probably wouldn't kill them... but I would caulk my windows and house so they didn't sneak inside in the fall. :)

    I don't suppose that you have a local entomologist or a good college nearby with a biology professor who might be interested in trying to ID them for you, do you?

  6. Try sending the picture to the Purdue extension agent.

  7. I know you warned us of the picture, but I had to look anyway. YIKES! I wouldn't go outside either.

    Maybe your sister can carefully remove them and drive them many miles away to release.

  8. I'm usually pretty cool with spiders, but these guys might keep me out of the gazebo, too!

    There's a likely one at this site called a Nursery Web spider.... however, in order to tell whether it IS a Nursery Web spider you'll have to get close enough to look at its EYES.

  9. All, Thanks all for the suggestions and websites. I told my sister to get online and follow up. Annie, I did look at the website you sent along. I ended up looking at WAY MORE spiders than I wanted to!

  10. After reviewing the site that Annie sent, (thanks Annie) I would have to say our spiders are either funnel weaver or fishing spiders. I actually think there may be both kinds on the tree. We do have a small pond in our back yard and have had, in the past few years, a "small" problem with HUGE spiders. The biggest was one we found who spanned the bottom of a dog food dish (a large one) that was out by our shed. My daughter did not notice the spider until she had carried it up to the house. At first we thought it was fake---until it moved! Yikes!!

    So far, none have been found inside. If one of the cats carries one inside though, it may be time for THE EXTERMINATOR!!!

  11. Oh, I don't think you'd have to worry about the cats carrying them inside... but they might harness the cats and ride one in! ;) (Spanning the bottom of a dog's dish is HUGE! lol.)

    Cool site, Annie. I'm having fun over there...

  12. I don't think that's a spider. It looks more like a crab. Toss a few in a pot of boiling water and if they turn bright red, fish them out and enjoy them with some drawn butter. :)

  13. Yuck! I was never much into "seafood". Pass!

  14. That really does look like a tarantula. I wonder are they native to your area? I would have thought spiders like that lived in hot climates. Hope it'll be ok for the winter. I like most spiders, and leave them be wherever they decide to live.