Wolf spiders come in many sizes with most having a body size ranging from 1/4-inch to more than 1 1/2 inches in length. The largest species may have a leg measuring up to 3 inches or more leading many homeowners to mistake them for tarantulas.
Most wolf spiders are brown although some may appear black.
Wolf spiders are active hunters which search for prey during the day or night, depending on the species. These common spiders may live in significant numbers around homes and other buildings, especially those structures which have lush landscaping. Wolf spiders enter underneath doors or through cracks in the exterior walls. Wolf spiders are unique in that they carry their egg sacs from the tip of their abdomens attached to the spinnerets. The young spiderlings also ride on the mother’s back for a few days after hatching. Bites involving wolf spiders are rare and are not dangerous.
Outdoors, wolf spiders occupy a wide variety of habitats, usually at ground level. They will be common in heavy ground covers, such as ivy or monkey grass, and can be found beneath stones and other items, as well as within cracks between landscape timbers. They do not breed in homes, and usually only one to a few will be seen inside.
The best approach for controlling wolf spiders is through placement of sticky traps to capture the few spiders that may have entered. Maintaining sticky traps behind furniture, to either side of exterior doors, and in the garage is an excellent way to intercept most spiders as they enter. Steps that should be taken to prevent new spiders from entering, include:
Removing or limiting heavy, ground-covering vegetation near the building.
Sealing cracks and holes in the building’s exterior.
Installing tight-fitting screens on all attic and foundation vents.
Sealing holes around pipes indoors to prevent spiders from entering the living spaces by following plumbing lines in basements and crawl spaces.
Where wolf spider invasions are persistent, a professional should be consulted to conduct a thorough inspection and recommend possible treatments.