Cellar Spiders: How to Identify and Get Rid of Them

Cellar spiders are a harmless but creepy nuisance for many people. Long-bodied cellar spiders are also called carpenter spiders, daddy long-leg spiders, skull spiders, vibrating spiders, and gyrating spiders.

Cellar spiders are often found in corners, cellars, and basements with damp and dark conditions. They are members of the Pholcid family and are best known for their long, thin legs and long bodies.

Related: How to identify and avoid huntsman spiders.

Cellar spiders
 Daddy long legs spider
Pholcid spider, a spider with very long legs, Daddy long-legs. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Matauw.

Cellar spiders: Identification.

Cellar spiders range from less than a 1/10th of an inch to 2/5ths of an inch in length. They have peanut-shaped bodies and oversized leg lengths, with some cellar spiders having long spans of nearly two inches.

The length of their legs is one key identifier; most cellar spiders have legs four times as big as their bodies. The other identifier is the body width being three times as wide as long.

They have eight eyes (grouped as two laterals of three and two smaller eyes whose borders touch each other. Cellar spiders have bodies that are colored gray, pale yellow, brown, and sometimes even appear as clear —with chevron marking.

Cellar spiders are found in every country and continent except Antarctica. 

Related:How to identify the Brazilian wandering spider.

Cellar spider webs.

Cellar spiders make unsophisticated and unusual webs for a spider. 

Like black widow spiders, they wait for their prey while hanging upside down. When prey is detected, cellar spiders vibrate their webs with their bodies, and this helps further entangle any insects caught in it. 

When cellar spider bite, they inject a toxic venom (though it cannot harm a human) that is legendarily thought to be the most potent venom in the spider kingdom. This legend has yet to be scientifically proven.

Cellar spiders do not repair, clean, or remake their webs. Instead, they build additional layers on existing webs. This habit may save them time and energy, but in your home or barn, it quickly makes the web of a cellar spider conspicuous.

Related:How to identify huntsman spiders.

Cellar spider
Marble cellar Spider with younglings. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Raavanan.

Cellar spider reproduction.

A female cellar spider that is inseminated will produce an egg sac with between 12 and 60 eggs. She will then carry this sac in her mouth until the spiderlings emerge.

These young spiders will travel on their mother’s back and only be considered mature after their fifth molt—at approximately one year of age.

After reaching adulthood, cellar spiders have a life span of about two years.

Related: How long do ants live?

Related: What do ants eat?

How to get rid of Cellar Spiders.

As with most spider a few simple steps will keep most cellar spiders out of your home and off of you.

Indoors, use a broom or vacuum to remove webs, egg sacs, and spiders. Keep clothing off the floor. Store seasonal boots and clothing in sealed containers. And run dehumidifiers in your basement—remove the moisture, eliminate the spider.

Outdoors, keep firewood up off the ground and away from your house and foundation. Use yellow bulbs to keep from attracting other insects that spiders prey upon away from your doors and windows.

Seal up any cracks and crevices in your foundation, doors, and windows.

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Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for ThePredatorHunter.com.

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