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Pholcus phalangioides, is the most abundant spider species from the Pholcidae family in the United States, and they are one of the most commonly encountered spider species within homes. This spider species is more commonly known as the “long bodied cellar spider,” and they are frequently found on ceilings, in garages, in corners, and in basements, but they also congregate in dark and moist indoor areas where they may not be readily seen. These spiders are in the habit of continuously building cobwebs, and it is not uncommon for long bodied cellar spiders to invade homes in large numbers. These spiders are not aggressive and will not bite, but the excessive cobwebs they build make them a nuisance in homes, and some people find their appearance unsettling due to their unusually long legs.  According to a recent nationwide survey of pest control professionals, the long bodied cellar spider is the second most commonly managed spider pest within homes and buildings.

Long bodied cellar spiders are pale yellow to light brown and grey in color, and they are between ¼ and ⅜ of an inch in length. They have very long legs and a small body, and their sticky cobwebs are often found in corners, but they can be found anywhere within a home including bookshelves, doorways, under tables, and around TVs in entertainment centers. The Long bodied cellar spider’s habitat was once limited to warmer southern areas, but the advent of heated homes has made them common house spiders throughout the world. These spiders have evolved to thrive in human dwellings, and in regions with cold winters, long bodied cellar spiders can dwell solely within homes and buildings. Cellar spider infestations are relatively difficult to eliminate, as the spiders and their webs are located in dark and moist undisturbed areas. Insecticides are largely ineffective for cellar spider control because the spiders rarely leave their cobwebs, and therefore, they do not make contact with residual insecticide applications. Even if cellar spiders do crawl over insecticide treated surfaces, the chemical only makes contact with the tip of their long legs, which will not kill the pests.

Do you have cellar spiders in your home right now?