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Cellar spider Crab spider Yellow garden spider Jumping spider
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What they look like
Two body parts and eight legs are the giveaway that you’ve got spiders, not insects. Then take a look at their webs. Some make stylish Charlotte’s Web-like creations; others make tunnel-like webs in the grass—pretty in the morning dew. Others make no webs at all. Some jump, some hang out, and some stay, hermit-like, in their trapdoor covered caverns. With so many kinds and no real threat, spiders make a wonderful subject for nature walks with kids. What’s cooler than watching a spider eat a fly?

Where they live
They’ll live where they’re likely to catch their food—usually insects. You’ll see them near windows, lights, and ceilings; they like basements, too.  Outside, they’re everywhere. Each kind has it’s own niche in nature, whether a yellow flower, mulch, or a tree.

What they do

In New York we don’t have spiders that pose much of a threat. Poisonous black widows, brown recluses, yellow sac spiders, and hobo spiders don’t like our cold climate. That said, you could still react to a spider bite with a welt. You’ll see two dots on the bite where the fangs went in. It’s not sucking your blood—probably you rolled on it in the night and it chomped in self-defense.

How to deal with spiders

If you don’t want them in your space, you’re not alone. Many opt out of the pest control service they provide. Vacuuming them up will do the trick. If the spider came in on a plant or a piece of wood, get it in a cup and return it to the wild.

Learn more

IPM for Homes

Contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office.

Spiders Factsheet, 144k pdf file, at Cornell's Insect Diagnostic Laboratory

... and search our database of online publications.