Wolf spiders often seem to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Although frequently larger than a quarter, at times they seem to appear out of nowhere. If you have ever had a Wolf Spider infestation or seen a Wolf Spider in general, you know what I’m talking about and it can definitely leave you feeling like a guest in your own home.
The good news is I have a lot of experience with wolf spiders and I’m going to teach you everything you could want to know about these pests, including facts about wolf spiders, their bite, and how to get rid of wolf spiders for good! If you take action and follow the advice on this page you will be able to rest easy in a spider-free environment from now on.
After all, they are not the boss of you (even though it probably feels that way). There is no better way to begin ridding your home of Wolf Spiders than to learn what they are in the first place. You must know what you are dealing with and then, take the right actions to free your home of these potentially dangerous pests. The best way to start is to find out exactly what a Wolf Spider is and how it behaves. After that, we’ll discuss the best ways to get rid of it once and for all!
Wolf Spider Facts
Wolf spiders are very common with different types found on almost every continent. There are over 125 species of Wolf Spiders in the United States, with even more found worldwide. Most Wolf Spiders are concentrated in warmer climates, such as California or the Carolinas. In regions that experience colder winters, it’s not common to see a large amount of Wolf Spiders trying to make your home their home during these colder months. Wolf Spiders are intelligent and always move very quickly. They are pretty easy to spot once you know what to look for and that is the first step in determining what kind of spider infestation you have in your home.
Identification: What do Wolf Spiders Look Like?
Looks vary from species to species (there are over 100). That said, there are characteristics that make wolf spiders easy to identify. If after some research you find out you are dealing with another type of spider and not a wolf spider, check out our full guide on how to get rid of spiders here.
Wold Spider Eyes
Wolf spiders have a total of 8 eyes, allowing them excellent hunting capability in the outdoor fields or forests they usually roam in. They have two larger eyes in the front with 2 smaller ones on top of them and a row of 4 more eyes underneath the two large ones. Wolf Spiders have excellent eyesight. They have no trouble seeing in the dark easily. In fact, if you shine a light on them, their eyes glow in the dark a bit or reflect. Protip: They can be spotted due to this reflective quality in their eyes, in case you’re hunting them in your home.
Wolf Spider Body
They are usually brown, always furry, and typically have a lighter shade of brown or yellow stripes. This furry exterior is what earned them the name Wolf Spider. They do look quite hairy and move confidently. Their body type appears stout and strong. Their bodies are about an inch or so but in some regions, they can grow to be as big as your hand. Specifically, they can grow to be up to 4 inches long and maybe an inch in width.
Female Wolf Spiders can more easily be identified, as they are larger than the male and carry their spider-lings in a pouch under them, near the spinnerets. The pouch is carried very carefully so as not to disrupt their development. Once the babies hatch, they ride on their mother’s abdomen until they are able to hop off and fend for themselves. Female Wolf Spiders are unique in this as no other spider carries their young for this long.
Males tend to be a bit smaller than the females and are often mistaken for the Brown Recluse spider. However, there are a few characteristics with each that will help you determine whether or not they are the Brown Recluse or Wolf Spiders.
Here are the Best Ways to Get Rid of Wolf Spiders
1. Terro Spider Killer Spray
Terro Spider Killer is a popular spider spray and it works on wolf spiders. We already talked about why you shouldn’t squish a wolf spider above. Another reason sprays are great is because you can keep your distance when killing them, them simply dispose of the carcass once the wolf spider is dead.
2. Terro Spider Traps
Terro insect traps are a good way to catch and kill spiders. We love these traps because they are non-toxic, pesticide-free. Specifically, good for killing Black Widows, Brown Recluse, and Hobo Spiders (in the same family as Wolf Spiders). Safe for kids and pets.
3. Biocare Spider Trap
Biocare spider and silverfish traps are a sticky trap. These are also Non-Toxic and are very effective at catching spiders and silverfish. This trap catches spiders by appearing like a great hiding place!
Related Article: 10 Best Ways to Get Rid of Silverfish
4. Miss Muffet’s Revenge Spider Killer
You can find Miss Muffet’s Revenge Spider Killer helps to kill spiders and keep spiders away. Excellent for outdoor perimeter sprays but kills spiders and acts as a great wolf spider repellent inside as well. Long-lasting results, up to 12 full months of spider control! Many people who use this product rave about how this product worked when nothing else seemed to!
5. Wondercide Natural Wolf Spider Repellent and Killer
Wondercide Natural Spider Repellent and Killer is 100% Natural. Made with cedarwood oil and works by eliminating a chemical that insects and bugs need to survive from the areas in your home that you find them. It’s safe for kids, animals, furniture, and can be used in meal prep areas with no consequence. We find the peppermint scent to be the most effective!
Related Article: How to Get Rid of No-See-Ums
6. Starbrite Spider Away Natural Spider Repellent
This is a great eco-friendly, natural solution to getting rid of spiders. It’s best for use outdoors in garages, boathouses, and other enclosed areas. Starbrite effectively deters spiders from coming in an area due to the smell of its vinegar-peppermint oil mix. The first day, you may see some spiders still present on the surface but they will soon avoid it entirely. Very natural and safe to use on any surface. Non-toxic, if used in a home or area with kids and animals.
Natura Bona 100% Peppermint Oil Home Bug Repellent. BPA Free Bottle filled with 100% Pure Peppermint oil which naturally repels spiders and other bugs from any area. This peppermint oil spider and bug repellent is a powerful wolf spider repellent that utilizes the smell of pure peppermint oil.
7. Boric Acid Spider Killer
Boric Acid is a ‘go-to’ for both exterminators (in prevention) and do-it-yourselfers. It works well if placed in any area you want to block spiders from entering. Lining the basement door threshold, the sliding glass deck door, window sills, and any other area spiders may gain entry. It works by contact and will cause spiders to lose internal fluids on contact and ultimately kill them once they ingest it during self-grooming rituals. It is definitely a poison and will injure not only spiders but any insect it comes in contact with. Exercise caution if you have very small children or animals that regularly pass through these areas.
8. Cyper WSP Spider Duster
Cyper WSP is a powder that can be applied with water to the end of a cobweb duster and used indoors or outdoors to repel spiders.
9. Cyzmic CS Insect and Spider Spray
Perimeter Spray Treatment Insecticide can be used indoors and outdoors along surfaces to kill spiders. Great to use on the perimeter of your house and overall the cracks and crevices spiders may gain access with.
10. Stay Away Spider Repellent
Stay away spider packs are environmentally safe and easy to use. These use a non-toxic plant-based mixture with essential oils to attack a spider’s sophisticated sense of smell. Keeps them away for up to 60 days!
Related Article: 8 Best Ways to Get Rid of Spiders Fast
Are Wolf Spiders dangerous?
There is a great deal of debate on this question due to the impact of a Wolf Spiders bite. Though some time ago, by analyzing the venom, it was determined that a Wolf Spider’s bite is officially non-necrotic (does not kill cells). After this discovery, the anti-venom treatment used for necrotic bites was removed from the treatment recommendations.
However, Wolf Spiders, when threatened, will bite and the bite is not a small, eas bite to manage and heal. It’s true, their bites are not lethal, but they do have venom that can injure humans quite badly. In most cases, the bites are not deadly but can be very painful. If you have ever been bitten by a Wolf Spider you know, it does not feel good AT ALL. Usually, the bites are quick but the area will be painful for days. There is tremendous swelling and pain in the area and if you have an allergy, it could be much worse. Avoid a bite at all costs, even though it is not likely you will lose a limb or die from the bite.
After a bite, the infected area swells, itches, and can be quite painful for several days to a week. It can leave a pretty nasty scar too if you scratch it before it’s healed. The best natural remedy for a bite is aloe accompanied by an antihistamine, like Benedryl, depending on how the bite presents.
The very best thing to do is to avoid the bite entirely by getting the spiders out of your house as quickly as possible!
Brown Recluse vs Wolf Spider How to Tell the Difference
It’s very important to figure out which spider you have in your home. If it’s a Wolf Spider, it’s much better news than if it’s a Brown Recluse. A Wolf Spider may scare you to death just by the sight of them and probably eat a few of your bugs, but it will only bite you if it feels threatened. Actually, it’s more likely to rear back its fangs at you instead and scurry off out of sight.
However, the Brown Recluse will bite you and the venom from this tiny little spider is necrotic and will set into your skin and kill your skin cells very quickly. While there are many remedies to treat for a spider infestation, each likely to exterminate both of these pesky and terrifying critters, knowing what kind of infestation you have will help you determine the best treatment for your home or situation.
Ways to find out which spider you’re dealing with, a Brown Recluse or a Wolf Spider
- Brown Recluse bodies tend to be much smaller than a Wolf Spiders. They are a light color of brown and have much longer legs than their body. They usually have a violin-shaped marking on the top of the Brown Recluse body. The violin shape is a slightly darker brown shade, just a bit different color than the rest of the body. If you can spot this marking it will go a long way to be certain what level of danger you are dealing with.
- Brown Recluse spiders are commonly found in closets, attics, and basements. Almost always Brown Recluses prefer to be hidden away and out of sight. They don’t like to be found or disturbed. They are not aggressive but will bite once their “home” has been disturbed.
For example, that closet where you store all of the blankets for winter and never touch until it gets cold…they probably have made a home there. Or the attic, where you stored all the holiday items in cardboard boxes and shoved into the corner, that is a perfect place to find a Brown Recluse.
On the contrary, Wolf Spiders can be found scurrying across the floors in plain sight, hustling to not be seen and smooshed. If you see a spider running across the floor quickly, it is most likely NOT a Brown Recluse.
Number of Spider Eyes
- Lastly, the Brown Recluse also has only 6 eyes in total compared to 8 for the wolf spider. They are set in 3 pairs, horizontally. If you are close enough to see this or find it later to analyze, this is a great way to tell if it’s a Wolf Spider or not. Of course, definitely exercise caution in doing anything like this. A bite from a Brown Recluse is very dangerous and should not be risked in order to determine how many eyes it has.
Where and How to Hunt for Wolf Spiders
Most spiders have a home. They spin webs in gardens to catch their prey and stay there for some time while others may find a nice corner and park there for a little while. Wolf spiders are more nomadic. They tend to wander far and wide in fields, old barns, garages, basements, even in the walls of your house. However, they don’t stay anywhere for long…unless there is a great food source available to them.
Some spiders will make burrows inside walls, cracks or crevices, and in the ground to catch their prey. The burrows are a silken layer of web material spun around a center hole. The center hole allows the spider to crawl in and out of the hole, emerging only to eat or kill its meal once a bug or insect gets stuck in it. Wolf spiders do this every now and then but most are wanderers, hunting as they go.
One very important thing to consider while you are hunting Wolf Spiders is that it’s important to remember NOT to step on them when you find them.
Do not step on Wold Spider
The reason is that these beautifully terrifying little creatures, especially if they are female, are probably carrying their young with them. Stepping on one, squishing one, will result in a mass exodus of millions of little baby Wolf Spiders. Some will die but most will not, even if the mom is dead you could have dozens crawling up your foot in seconds. The baby Wolf Spiders can move much quicker than mama and will flail out in all directions. Likely, this is THE most terrifying event imaginable when it comes to dealing with spiders.
Something to keep in mind is that Wolf Spiders breed in the Fall. This is why we tend to see a surge in spider sightings inside our houses around September or October. As it starts to get cold outside, the female spiders are all headed into heated areas and most important areas with water. Spiders suffer outdoors when the weather turns cold because they lose their water sources which are also great feeding spots as other bugs need water too. Lucky for them, but not for us, our showers and kitchen sinks tend to produce the right kind of humid environment for them to hydrate and hunt properly. These areas are also excellent sources of food for them, as they are not alone in the insect kingdom in their search for water during the winter months.
Wold Spider Home Locations
Wolf spiders will not only be found in the bathroom and kitchen, but they also roam around in the walls, cracks, or crevices of your home. Sometimes, they gain access to your home from the outside where shrubbery or plants touch or come close to the house. They don’t like to climb so they will likely gain access in a lower elevation such as a basement door or cracks in the siding, etc. It’s very common to see them clinging along the walls and baseboards of your home.
They use their silk to weave burrows for themselves in any conspicuous areas they can find in the home. Often you can find them, with their legs outstretched just outside the burrow, hunting. Once their prey comes close enough to the silk extensions, they strike. In order to get rid of them for good, using pesticides in these burrows is a great idea because Wolf Spiders are extremely fast. If you try to catch them, especially late at night in the dark is a hassle, it’s almost always an unsuccessful task.
How to Kill a Wolf Spiders: Strategy
When it comes to preparing for a spider-free home, there are a few things to consider before getting started.
Top 3 Things:
- Will you use Chemical or Natural Products?
- Which Outdoor and Indoor Methods will you choose?
- Should you Do-It-Yourself or Hire an Exterminator?
There are two very different schools of thought on how to handle a spider problem. Both sides have excellent perspectives and are worth considering when treating for spiders and other pests. For instance, many people see spiders as beneficial pests that help to keep other bugs problems under control and out of the home. Other bugs problems include mosquitos, no-see-ums, ticks, fleas, roaches, and more. It’s a fact that spiders play an important role in the delicate insect ecosystem of our environments. Moderating the number of insects in one area naturally keeps everything in balance and maintains a necessary harmony in our environment.
Chemical or Natural Spider Treatments
If you have kids or animals, using harsher chemical treatments could create additional stressors in your household. There are many natural ways to get rid of Wolf Spiders. If you choose this method, it’s likely that killing the spider is not the main objective but rather, repelling them or diverting them from the area is the ideal. There are plenty of very effective treatments available for this effort, as well as, eradication. However, the benefits to using natural methods may not outweigh the benefits of using chemicals, if you have a serious infestation.
If there is a very serious infestation and you are not concerned with preserving the life of the spiders, choosing something stronger and more severe is likely the better option. If you do decide to use chemical treatments and are concerned with minimizing the chemical footprint or lessening the toxin exposure, there are still a few ways to minimize the effect to you, your family, and your environment.
Minimize Chemical Exposure
For example, to minimize the negative effects of using chemicals, like inhalation or ruining furniture or other surfaces from a spray or foggers, wear masks and cover surfaces before using the products. In addition, after use, wait the recommended number of hours before returning to the home. When you return, wear a mask and only go in to open the windows and doors to let the fumes vent for another few hours before entering to stay.
If your home has a Wolf Spider infestation, you likely have a bigger problem on your hands that needs immediate attention. Somewhere in your home is a food source, unbeknownst to you, which is attracting the Wolf Spiders to such a degree. If you choose to treat the house yourself over using an exterminator, your best bet is chemical in this case and using one of the recommended products above. Finding out whether you’ll use a chemical or natural treatment for your household is the place to start.
With either choice, natural or chemical, you’ll need to determine a line of attack for both indoors and outdoors if you want to be successful. It won’t help you to just treat the indoors if you haven’t sealed off and protected the outdoors. Taking this critical step will help ensure you don’t get any new infestations.
Preparing Your Strategy: Outdoor & Indoor
Wolf Spiders Outdoor:
- Take a walk around your home. Are there any places Wolf Spiders can access through cracks or crevices? While Wolf Spiders don’t usually like to climb, other spiders and pests have no trouble gaining access to the inside by climbing any branches or bushes that reach to the home. Take time to trim back any shrubbery or plants that are close to your siding or interior walls.
- Decide on your product of choice and apply it to all the cracks, crevices, and other points of entry surrounding the home. Make sure you seal the areas as much as possible when you treat them. This will keep wolf spiders and other pests from entering and if they do enter, the poison will likely kill them before they can get very far.
Wold Spiders Indoor:
- Check all your windows and doors. Make sure they are securely shut and any openings are sealed with weather stripping or otherwise. Be sure nothing inside can escape and nothing outside can get in while you’re doing the outdoor treatment.
- Cover your furniture and surfaces to prevent damage from foggers or sprays.
- Use a long, extended cobweb duster/broom, treated with your product of choice (see below) and run it along the ceiling and floors in areas where you’ve seen spiders webs and burrows previously. Then move to any sprays or foggers you’ve chosen and follow the directions carefully.
Preparing Your Strategy: Do It Yourself or Hire an Exterminator
Many spider problems are able to be handled by doing it yourself. There are many natural and chemical products, listed below, that people find effective for managing spider infestations. Sprays, fogs, powders, and ‘re-homing’ techniques are very functional and usually aid in prevention as well.
However, at a certain point, you may find your spider problem is much bigger and more persistent than you can handle. There may be a lot of reasons for this but primarily, if spiders persist, it’s due to a larger food supply situation (insect infestation) in your home. Likely, a primary food source for the spiders is present and to manage it effectively you’ll need the help of an exterminator. For this, it will be necessary to call an exterminator for a specific wolf spider or other pest infestation service. For both efforts their are Natural and Chemical Wolf Spider removal treatments available.
Related Article: 8 Best Ways to Get Rid of Spiders Fast
My name is Blane and I’m a life-long resident of Southeastern Louisiana. I’ve been working as Pest Control Technician and Inspector for about 1.5 years now.
I’ve worked in many other industries as well, including consulting, managing, as well as at the ground level in fields including Food Service, Corporate Automotive sales, and finance. Whether it be providing counsel, content, or hands-on support; my goal remains to add value to the lives of the people I serve.
If you have any questions regarding pest control, leave them below. I would be happy to help you out in any way I can.