Spiders: Wyoming’s Most Annoying Pest Infestation
Pests. There's tons of different kinds, and they cover the gamut - from minor annoyance pests, all the way to life-threatening holy-bejeebus climb on a chair and scream at the top of your lungs, pests. Which ones are we most annoyed by in Wyoming?
The folks at Huffington Post recently queried Google to find out the most annoying, most-searched pests in all 50 states - and here in the Cowboy State, it appears spiders take the honors. Here's a quick rundown of the most common ones you'll find in Wyoming.
The thought of a hairy eight-eyed spider with Jackie Joyner-Kersee long jump skills is nightmare fuel for some, but jumping spiders are a reality in Wyoming. The good news: They don't get too big, don't have what's considered to be particularly dangerous venom, and tend to live outside in vegetation. The bad news, see: Hairy, jumping, eight-eyed.
These black, gray and brown creepy-crawlers are particularly plentiful in prairie areas, and often mistaken for everything from tarantulas to brown recluses. They move quickly, and usually start to seek some shelter in your house as the Wyoming weather chills in fall. Basements, windows, garages, houseplants, doors - you could find them anywhere. Like the freaks they are, they often come out at night - and the females often lay around 100 eggs at a time. Their venom isn't lethal (to us humans), and generally doesn't cause serious problems unless you're allergic.
Nursery Web Spiders
These guys are similar in appearance to wolf spiders, but come by the unique name due to the fact that the ladies carry their eggs around in their jaws - then build a little "nursery tent" to incubate and stand guard at until the spider stork hatches the little bundles of arachnid joy. They generally prefer to stay outside, but moisture can attract them into your home - bites aren't venomous, but can cause swelling. Fun fact: Mrs. Nursery Web Spider often tends to eat Mr. Nursery Web Spider after mating. Eventually becoming wise to her tricks, the male has learned that a peace offering of a fly will often serve as a spider Snickers to distract her hunger, and allow a morning-after escape of spider shame. And you thought your dating life was bad.
Daddy Long-Leg/Cellar Spiders
You'll typically find these Tina Turner-legged creatures in damp basements, crawl spaces, cellars - and they're often confused with harvestmen, which aren't actually spiders. They're fairly harmless, despite a myth that goes around claiming that their venom is among the most deadly - but their fangs are too short to penetrate humans. False. Mostly a nuisance, they can show up in several Wyoming homes and businesses.
Funnel Web/Grass Spiders
Despite also being commonly mistaken for wolf spiders, these guys are pretty low on the risk totem pole as far as spiders go. They often make their homes and webs in grass, hence the name - and also can be found doing their Spider Man impression around steps, window wells, low shrubs, and foundations. They prefer the outside, away from you, but occasionally wander in to get a little shelter and see if you're watching anything good on Netflix tonight. (Ok, not that last part.)
Other spiders are often confused for hobos, but if you've got the real deal, they are indeed dangerous. Like most spiders, they'd prefer to hide from you, but will bite - and it's generally all bad if they do. Headaches, nausea, weakness, temporary impairments of memory and vision, and a host of other symptoms can result, and that's no good. Seek medical attention if you become a spider snack for a wandering hobo. Basements are typical stomping grounds, but the good news is that they rarely climb vertical surfaces - so standing on that chair was a good call. Pro tip: When it comes to identifying them, the house spider that they're commonly mistaken for has faint bands around the legs - the hobo, not so much.
These spiders are kind of menacing-looking, and are generally found in their garden webs (outside, thank goodness). The good news, they are fond of mosquito snacks and help keep the population at bay. Orange-brown, brown and black, they come in a variety of colors, and even partially resemble a crab in some cases. If you walk into one of their webs, you could be at risk for cardiac arrest or find yourself in need of an underwear change after the inevitable freak-out that will occur - but overall, they're low risk and help keep other annoying bugs away.
The name strikes fear into many a spider-challenged individual, and for good reason - these dudes can be aggressive and pack a potentially dangerous bite, leading sometimes to necrosis and tissue damage. The good news: Despite all you hear about them, they're pretty rare in Wyoming due to our less-than-hospitable climate. Recommendation: Don't freak out too much about them, but if you see one, kill it. Kill it with fire. You know, unless it's in your house.
Often found on or near their web, these are also gnarly-looking creatures, generally identified by their globular-looking abdomen/posterior. (Think Nicki Minaj of the spider world.) Spiderman fans, you'll notice this was the body type that gave Peter Parker his claim to fame - but they're not toxic, and you're probably not going to get any bonus Spidey senses if you manage to get bit. They come in different colors, and usually build webs at night, in corners of buildings.
Usually found hanging around upside-down, these spiders own up to their name as a dangerous creature, and are prevalent in Wyoming. Highly toxic, particularly the females, who, like any good mom, can be aggressive when protecting their kids. Shiny black or dark brown, with large red abdomens, and females have hourglass markings that are typically reddish-orange, although it can vary. Bottom line: If you think you've been bitten by one, try to trap it safely for identification purposes and seek medical attention.
Pale green, tan, or yellow with a lighter-colored abdomen - these spiders are commonly found indoors, and also prefer hanging out around light fixtures and walls looking for some prey. They are venomous, but their bites are often mistaken for those of a brown recluse - but the good news, much less dangerous.
There's a ton of spiders lumped into this family, and you can commonly find them outside, under rocks, logs - and like many Wyoming sportsmen, they prefer not to leave their house unless they're going hunting. They can be red or gray-brown, or blackish with white markings. Venom's not an issue, and most people that get bit say it happened when they disturbed them by picking up something that they're currently inhabiting - usually outside. However, like most Wyomingites, they like to come in out of the cold, and can get in unsealed spaces to live with you - even seeking refuge in that pair of shoes in your closet. (Shudder.)
These come by their name due to the crab resemblance, even mimicking the sideways movement, and the ones found in Wyoming are often white, bright yellow, red, or can even modify their colors as they go, as a sneaky spider trick. Flowers are a popular hang-out spot, but they can hitch a ride inside on your clothing, which could cause unpleasant side effects of screaming and flailing. They're venomous, sure - but that's only a problem if you're a bug they want to eat. To humans, they don't pose a medical danger, unless you injure yourself during the aforementioned flailing.