8 Common Brown House Spiders

By Amanda Lutz Updated February 6, 2024

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If seeing a spider sends chills down your spine, you’re not alone. Arachnophobia (an extreme fear of spiders) affects 2.7% to 6.1% of the population. However, many common spiders that can be found in your home are harmless to humans. Our guide to common brown house spiders will help you identify the species in your home and how to safely remove them as needed.

1. American House Spider

What they look like: House spiders range in size from 1/8 inch to nearly 1 inch in length. They’re colored in varied brown shades, from dirty white to yellowish, with dark stripes and markings. 

Where they’re found: The common house spider is found throughout the United States and worldwide.

Dangerous: No

The common American house spider (Parasteatoda Tepidariorum) is the spider most often found indoors. Although they’re generally harmless, they’re considered a pest because they weave (and abandon) many tangled webs. House spiders don’t usually bite humans but may if they’re being harmed. Their bites aren’t dangerous, but seek medical attention if you experience severe swelling, lesions, or headaches. 

House spiders often inhabit garages, basements, and crawl spaces. They may also be found in upper corners of your living area, under furniture, in closets, and in window frames. 

Adult house spiders live for about a year. During this time, the female spider may produce up to 17 egg sacs with 250 eggs each, which hatch in seven to 10 days. Use a vacuum to remove spiders and egg sacs, or contact a professional exterminator to avoid infestation.

2. American Grass Spider

What they look like: Grass spiders are yellowish-brown or tan with two dark brown bands running along their bodies. They have large spinnerets that resemble short tails, and their legs feature a banded pattern. The average body size is 1/2 to 3/4 inches long.

Where they’re found: Native to North America, they’re found throughout the country.

Dangerous: No

True to their name, grass spiders are commonly found in grassy areas in funnel-shaped webs similar to caves. They’re primarily nocturnal and use their impressive running speed to chase and attack prey. They have a life cycle of one year that ends after egg sacs are produced.

Grass spiders don’t typically seek to get indoors. However, they’re common in short grass (such as well-kept lawns). Shrubs can make your windows easily accessible.

Grass spiders may bite when they feel threatened, but their fangs often fail to break human skin. In rare cases, a grass spider bite can cause necrotic skin lesions and bacterial infections. Frequent mowing and shrub trimming help keep grass spiders in check around your home.

3. Barn Funnel Weaver

What they look like: Barn funnel weavers are small spiders with bodies up to a 1/4-inch long that range in color from dark to reddish brown with pale yellow markings. Their long legs feature a dark banded pattern.

Where they’re found: Barn funnel weavers are found throughout the United States.

Dangerous: No

Tegenaria domestica, also known as barn funnel weavers, reside in garden beds and log piles. They’re more likely to be found in basements and cellars than in other indoor areas. Barn funnel weavers have been known to live for as long as seven years. They produce more than nine egg sacs and can be located in structures at any time of the year.

Barn funnel weavers are shy spiders that hide in dark corners and retreat when sighted. The spiders, or their funnel-shaped webs, are most likely to be spotted in basements, sheds and barns and around door crevices.

There are no documented cases of bites from barn funnel weavers.

4. Brown Recluse

What they look like: Adult brown recluse spiders have a body around 3/8 inches long. They are uniform in color, but colors vary from light to dark brown. Dark violin-shaped markings can be found on the cephalothorax (the portion of the body to which the legs attach). The legs are uniformly colored with no stripes or bands and have fine hairs instead of spines. While most spiders have eight eyes in two rows of four, brown recluses have six eyes in pairs, with a space separating the pairs. 

Where they’re found: Brown recluses are most commonly found in the region from southeastern Nebraska to southwestern Ohio, south to northwestern Georgia, and Texas.

Dangerous: Yes

Brown recluses are one of the most feared brown house spiders. They are venomous to humans with a bite that ranges in severity from extremely mild to moderately dangerous. In rare instances, brown recluse bites induce fever, dizziness, chest pain, nausea, or vomiting almost immediately.

More often, bites appear as a red bump, similar to an insect bite, and may itch or burn. A bite will typically heal on its own but may become a necrotic sore. Death from a brown recluse bite is rare and has only been reported in children. Promptly seek medical attention If you know you’ve been bitten by a brown recluse.

Brown recluse spiders are reclusive instead of aggressive and often hide in dark corners or under objects. Outdoors, they are commonly found under rocks, logs, or woodpiles. Indoors, they’re more likely to hide near furnaces and water heaters or in cluttered storage areas where it’s dry and warm. They typically stay hidden and only bite when trapped against the skin.

Brown recluses have an average life span of two to four years. Remove brown recluse spiders that reside in your home to avoid an infestation. We recommend contacting a professional exterminator when dealing with venomous spiders.

5. Harvestmen

What they look like: Harvestmen have small, pebble-like bodies made up of one oval segment and eight spindly legs.

Where they’re found: There are thousands of species of harvestmen found around the world. 

Dangerous: No

Better known as “daddy longlegs,” harvestmen aren’t technically spiders. They have eight legs but only two eyes and lack silk glands and spinners. They require humid environments and are usually found outdoors but commonly venture inside when entry points are readily available.

Harvestmen spend much of their one-year life span in cool shady spaces where females lay hundreds of eggs each fall. They do not have any venom and are harmless to humans. When daddy longlegs are found indoors, they can be swept or vacuumed away easily.

6. Orb Weaver

What they look like: Featuring circular-shaped bodies, orb weavers are typically brightly colored or reddish brown or gray. Their bodies range from a 1/2-inch to just over 1-inch long and feature fat, triangular abdomens.

Where they’re found: Orb weavers are found throughout the United States and are part of the third-largest spider family.

Dangerous: No

Orb weavers can seem intimidating due to their size and large webs, but they aren’t a threat to humans. They generally avoid people but may bite if no escape route is available. Orb weaver bites cause mild pain and swelling, similar to a bee sting.

Orb weaver spiders are nocturnal, have a life span of about a year, and spend their time repairing their webs and waiting on prey. They can be found around nightlights, fences, tree branches, weeds, and tall grasses. Like grass spiders, you can keep the population of orb weavers to a minimum with regular outdoor maintenance and by removing spiders if you see them indoors.

7. Wolf Spider

What they look like: Wolf spiders are big hairy spiders that range between a 1/4 inch to 1 and 3/8 inches in length. They’re usually dark brown with paler or yellow stripes or markings. 

Where they’re found: More than 100 species of wolf spiders are found in the United States and Canada. 

Dangerous: No

Wolf spiders are not aggressive or dangerous. Named for the way they hunt, wolf spiders don’t build webs. They use their fast-running speed to chase and attack prey. Due to their large hairy bodies, they’re sometimes mistaken for tarantulas. They only bite if handled, and bites are usually similar to an insect bite, resulting in itching and minimal pain.

Male wolf spiders have a life span of under a year, and females live two to three years. They are mostly nocturnal and are common in open habitats such as grasslands. While they don’t usually seek ways to go indoors, they are sometimes found on floor levels, along walls, and under furniture.

Wolf spiders seen outdoors are best left alone because they provide efficient insect control. If you see one in your home, you can try to capture it with a vacuum cleaner extension or by placing glue traps where it travels.

8. Yellow Sac Spider

What they look like: Light brown or yellowish in color, yellow sac spiders range in size from less than a 1/4 inch to around 3/8 inches. Its legs are slightly longer than its body and it appears to have dark feet due to the dense hairs at the end of its legs. 

Where they’re found: Yellow sac spiders are found throughout the eastern United States, from New England through the Midwest.

Dangerous: Yes

While they’re not as toxic as the brown recluse, yellow sac spiders are known for their painful necrotic bite. When they come into contact with human skin, they can bite repeatedly if not removed. Bites can be painless or cause sharp pain at the site. 

Symptoms including nausea, fever, and stomach cramps may occur, but more frequently, burning, pain, and redness are the only symptoms of a bite. In the following weeks, the bite can become reddened and pus-filled. Avoid bacteria during this time to limit the risk of infection.

Yellow sac spiders frequent tree- and shrub-filled areas to hunt at night. During the day, they stay in small web “cocoons,” which may be found in room corners near the ceiling. Indoors, they’re likely to stay in small tight spaces. Although it takes yellow sac spiders more than 100 days to mature, females produce egg sacs as quickly as two weeks after mating, and overlapping generations are common.

How to Get Rid of Brown House Spiders

Most common house spiders are harmless. However, you likely don’t want to share your home with them. If you see spiders in your home or the cobwebs they leave behind, consider taking action to get rid of them. 

Professional pest control is the easiest way to get rid of spiders, especially if you suspect you have venomous spiders, such as brown recluse or black widow spiders. If you’re not facing a spider infestation or dangerous arachnids, follow these steps to rid your home of spiders. 

How to Identify and Treat Spider Bites

Many spider bites are harmless and require little attention or treatment. It’s common not to notice when a spider bites you. A spider bite typically looks like a regular insect bite. However, a bite from a venomous spider can cause other symptoms.

When you experience mild symptoms from a spider bite (such as minor inflammation and slight burning or pain), you can apply ice to the area for relief. You should seek medical attention if you experience these symptoms following a spider bite:

Our Recommendation

A variety of spider species can be found in and around your home, but most people aren’t interested in unwelcome house guests with several sets of eyes and legs. Even when spiders aren’t venomous, their bites can be painful and their cobwebs messy. Once you’ve identified the spiders in your home and determined whether they’re dangerous, you can take steps to make your home spider-free. The services of a professional exterminator make the job quick and easy, but there are steps you can take on your own to maintain a spider-free home.

FAQ About Brown House Spiders

Are brown house spiders harmful?

While some brown house spiders are harmful, many are not. Brown recluse spiders are venomous, and their bite can be dangerous. While not brown house spiders, black widow spiders are dangerous as well.

What is a common brown house spider?

American house spiders are a common brown house spider. They are found throughout the United States and are generally harmless.

What attracts brown house spiders?

Dark and warm environments attract brown house spiders. This is why they’re often found hidden in crevices, under clothing or other items, and in attics, basements, and garages.

What is the most harmless spider?

Harvestmen, often called daddy long legs, are likely the most harmless spider. They are technically not spiders and are non-venomous, thus posing no threat to humans.

What is the most aggressive house spider?

The most aggressive house spider is a yellow sac spider. Although spiders aren’t aggressive toward humans, they do respond to threats. Yellow sac spiders show more aggression than other spiders and may bite repeatedly if kept in contact with the skin.