Wolf Spider: Identification, Control, and Prevention

Mar 24, 2023 | Spiders

Wolf Spider: Identification, Control, and Prevention
Arachnophobia, or the fear of spiders, is one of the most common fears in the United States. When homeowners discover a wolf spider dashing across the floor, it is no surprise that this large spider can be a cause of fear and concern. While the wolf spider does look dangerous, the fact is this large spider poses no risk to humans, and their presence can often indicate you may have other pests infesting your home. Here we take a closer look at the wolf spider, how to identify them, why they might venture into your home, and what to do with a wolf spider infestation.

Key takeaways

  • Unlike other spider species, wolf spiders do not build nests but rather chase their prey, similar to the wolf they are named after.
  • Wolf spiders actively hunt insects and other smaller spiders both day and night. When you find an increased number of these spiders in or around your home, chances are you have other pest problems that are drawing them in.

What are wolf spiders?

Wolf spiders are members of the arachnid Lycosidae family and include different species of wolf spiders that are known for their large size, fast movements, and the fact that they do not spin webs like other spider species. In California, there are a number of different wolf spiders, including the Schizocosa mccooki, Koch’s wolf spider, Shoreline wolf spider, Hogna antelucana, and the Schizocosa maxima.

Identifying wolf spiders

Often confused with the brown recluse spider, wolf spiders vary slightly in their appearance and behavior based on the specific species. Here we will give a general overview of the wolf spider in general and how to identify them in your home.

Physical appearance

Wolf spiders are very large spiders, with some measuring up to 2 inches, and are often confused with baby tarantulas. They range in color from black to dark brown with cream, gray, or yellowish markings. These spiders have hairy bodies and eight long, spiny legs that allow them to move and chase prey quickly. They have eight eyes, with a unique placement within three rows. They have four small eyes on the bottom row, two large eyes in the center, and two medium-sized eyes on the top row. This unique arrangement helps them easily see potential prey, whether during the day or at night. The wolf spider’s eyes can also help you identify them at night. The UV in their eyes will reflect in the light from a flashlight from as far away as 10 or more feet.

Distribution and Habitat

Wolf spiders are naturally found throughout all of California. They are most commonly found in grassy areas and areas of leaf litter. When they come inside, they will look for dark, quiet areas, such as around doors and windows and inside basements, closets, and the garage.


Wolf spiders are solitary creatures that are mostly nocturnal, though it is not uncommon to see them out hunting prey during the day. They spend most of their time on the ground but will venture up if necessary. They do not spin webs to attract and capture prey, but rather chase and hunt down their meals.


The wolf spider is carnivorous and feeds on a wide selection of insects, insect eggs, and other spiders. When wolf spiders enter the home, they are often following a food source.

Wolf spider with egg sac

Life Cycle

Wolf spiders can generally live between 1-2 years. After mating, the female wolf spider oftentimes kills and eats the male before looking for an isolated area to lay her eggs. They lay around 100 eggs which the female will encase in a silk sac. She then carries this egg sac on her spinnerets until they hatch. The spiderlings will then swarm the female and remain with her for a few weeks.

Are wolf spiders poisonous?

Wolf spiders are not poisonous and are not considered a danger to humans. While they can bite, this is not common and typically only occurs when they are threatened. A wolf spider bite will appear red and swollen, like most bug bites, and can cause pain similar to a bee sting. Pain, discomfort, and itching can occur but typically resolves within a day or two. Symptoms can be managed by over-the-counter pain and/or allergy medications. If you experience swelling in the face or throat, you may be allergic to the spider’s venom and should seek immediate medical attention.

Is it good to have wolf spiders in your house?

While wolf spiders do not pose any threat to humans, their presence in the home can be frightening. In addition, when these spiders move indoors, they are likely following another pest infestation, meaning you may have another underlying pest problem you may not be aware of. Addressing that underlying pest problem will likely be enough for the spiders to move along their way.

What attracts wolf spiders in the house?

Wolf spiders look for areas where food is abundant, so if they move inside, chances are you may have an underlying pest problem that offers a regular supply of food. Common infestations that may draw in wolf spiders can include:

  • Ants
  • Cockroaches
  • Termites
  • Fleas
  • Crickets
  • Earwigs
  • Flies
  • Bed bugs

How to get rid of wolf spiders and keep them away

No homeowner wants a home full of spiders, and the wolf spider is no different. The best way to get rid of these spiders is to first address their food source, which is likely an underlying pest problem. Professional pest control can identify these pest infestations and help you eliminate them, making your home less appealing to wolf spiders. Other methods of wolf spider control can include:


    • Sealing off and caulking entry points to the home where spiders and other pests can get in.
    • Eliminate hiding spots, such as clutter, old boxes, piles of clothing, and piles of leaves outside.
    • Maintain your landscaping by clearing debris and mowing regularly.
    • Routinely sweep or vacuum your home.
    • Fix leaking pipes and consider using a dehumidifier in areas where moisture builds

One thing to keep in mind, however, when you see a wolf spider, NEVER squish it! As we mentioned above, a female wolf spider could be carrying 100 baby spiders on her back, and a simple squish could release all these babies, creating a scene that movies are made of.

When wolf spiders take over

While seeing a wolf spider may make your skin crawl or send you running out of the house, these spiders are not dangerous to humans. They are simply coming in for a meal. Unfortunately, when they come into your home for that meal, chances are they are letting you know that you have a pest infestation. When you see these spiders moving inside, it is time to call in professional pest control in order to address the other pests you may not see and send the spiders on to other feeding grounds.

Keeping your home wolf spider-free

At Arrest A Pest, we understand how frightening a wolf spider can be, but we also know what their presence in your home can mean. Our technicians will come in and conduct a thorough home inspection, identifying which pests you may have present and help create a treatment plan that will eliminate these pets, as well as the wolf spiders, leaving your home pest-free. To learn more, request an appointment today.

Adam Judnich

Adam Judnich

Owner @ Arrest A Pest

Serving the entire Coachella Valley

Arrest A Pest is your top-rated pest and bug control solution in the Coachella Valley! As a family-owned and operated business, our technicians grew up in the Coachella Valley and have a deep understanding of the pests in our area.

We understand that every pest infestation is an emergency, and we offer quick, safe, and thorough pest solutions and preventions for your home or business. No matter what pests are invading your space, our technicians are armed with state-of-the-art technology designed to rid your home or business of pests and help you stay pest-free long into the future.

Contact us today to schedule your FREE evaluation and let our team send the pests packing!

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