Spiders in Minnesota: How to Identify and Handle

Spiders in Minnesota play an important role in the state’s ecosystem, helping to control pest populations and maintain a healthy balance of species. 

While some people may be afraid of these eight-legged creatures, it’s important to remember that they are generally harmless and can even be beneficial. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the types of spiders commonly found in Minnesota, their habits and behaviors, and how to coexist with them safely for both humans and spiders.

Spiders in Minnesota
Black widow spider. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Jay Ondreicka

Commonly found spiders in Minnesota.

Many different types of spiders can be found in Minnesota, each with its unique characteristics and behaviors. Some of the most common species include:

Black Widows are a breed of arachnids that can be easily detected thanks to their unique coloring: jet-black bodies and contrasting red hourglass marks on the abdomen. These venomous spiders prefer dark, concealed locations like basements, woodpiles, or sheds for shelter. Interestingly enough, they won’t attack unless provoked – so if you spot one in your vicinity, it’s best to leave them alone.

Wolf Spiders are a sight to behold – sleek, swift, and with fascinating wolf-like features. These spiders can mostly be found in grassy areas but don’t need to spin webs for their prey, as they’re capable of chasing them down instead! Such is the resourcefulness of these critters that humans have nothing much to fear from them; wolves’ spines being non-venomous means there’s no reason for us not to admire and appreciate this dazzling species.

Grass Spiders: As the name suggests, grass spiders are commonly found in grassy areas and gardens. They spin funnel-shaped webs and wait for insects to get caught in them. Grass spiders are not venomous and are not aggressive toward humans.

Fishing Spiders: These large, aquatic spiders are often found near bodies of water, where they hunt for insects and small fish. They are skilled swimmers and can even walk on water’s surface. Fishing spiders are not venomous and are not aggressive toward humans.

With their remarkable jumping capabilities, Jumping Spiders have earned a well-deserved reputation for being among the most dynamic members of the Arachnid family. They can be found on plants and use stalking tactics for hunting their prey instead of relying solely on webs. Additionally, these small spiders are neither venomous nor pose any danger to humans – so you don’t need to worry if one should cross your path!

A few more fascinating spiders in Minnesota.

cat-faced spiders in Minnesota
Hanging, Araneus Gemmoides spider. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Harsh Kapoor.

Cat-Faced Spiders in Minnesota: Identification.

As widely known, the cat-faced spider is an orb weaver species found throughout the Western United States. Its name derives from its distinct body shape – if viewed from the front, it appears “cat-faced,” while others find that its form resembles a diamond or precious jewel. This insect comes in many vibrant colors and hues ranging from white to bright orange and dark brown tones.

The Cat-faced spider in Minnesota is a small creature that typically reaches lengths between 0.2 and 1 inch. In addition, this spider species have much shorter legs than its large abdomen size.

The Cat-faced spider Minnesota is a unique species with two horn-shaped protrusions on its sizeable abdomen and coloration that adapts to the season. It can be found near light fixtures, in small spaces, or on the sides of buildings, hidden under wood piles, overhangs, and animal burrows. This arachnid’s presence offers nature enthusiasts an exciting opportunity for exploration.

Cat-faced spider in Minnesota: Behavior.

Female Cat-faced spiders have a short lifespan of only several days, during which they lay an egg sac with hundreds of eggs that can survive throughout the winter. The hatched spiderlings, who are often cannibalistic and eat their siblings, disperse by riding on strands of silk in warm air currents – sometimes even traveling miles away!

Females tend to be stockier, while males have longer bodies and smaller abdomens; both hunt for prey such as fish flies, houseflies, mosquitoes, and occasionally other tiny spiders.

giant lichen orb weaver in Minnesota
Giant Lichen Orb Weaver. Large orb weaver spider, on spider web in tree. Isolated closeup. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Cathleen Wake Gorbatenko

Giant lichen orb weaver spiders in Minnesota: Identification.

The Giant Lichen Orb weaver (Araneus bicentenarius) is a species of orb weaver in the family Araneidae. Its bite is not medically significant. The giant lichen orb weaver occurs in the Eastern part of the United States and Southeastern Canada.

Giant lichen orb weaver spiders in Minnesota are gray, black, orange, or white with legs. All femora have uniquely marked dark and light-colored bands with an orange base. The alternating black and white stripes on each leg make the insect’s body visually striking.

Adult female Giant lichen orb weavers can be up to 1 inch long.

banded garden spiders in Minnesota
On a man’s hand is a banded garden spider or banded orb-weaving spider, Argiope trifasciata, female. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Protasov AN

Banded garden spiders in Minnesota: Identification.

The banded garden spider (Agriope trifasciata) female may reach up to 1.0 inches in length, making them slightly smaller than the yellow garden spider. Its carapace is adorned with silvery hair. Its elongated oval abdomen tapers off at the posterior into a point without humps or notches like the yellow garden spider.

The background color on its abdomen is usually pale yellow/silver, along with multiple black lateral stripes for contrast. At the same time, their legs are also marked by lighter spots or bands among a paler hue of yellow.

Males of this species in Minnesota rarely exceed .2 inches in length, their abdomens a striking white. Immature banded garden spiders boast an almost entirely white dorsal surface to the abdomen. Furthermore, these arachnids’ egg sacs possess a similar texture and color as that of the yellow garden spider.

barn funnel weavers in Minnesota
A macro shot of a barn funnel weaver on its cobweb. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/ Wirestock Creators

Barn funnel weaver spiders in Minnesota: Identification.

Barn Funnel Weaver spiders (Tegenaria domestica) are a species that is widespread across the United States, from outbuildings and barns to crevices in door frames and cracks of rock faces. It can often be found hidden beneath boards or even underneath rocks!

Female Barn funnel weavers in Minnesota average a meager half an inch in length, and male counterparts merely one-third of an inch. As a result, their cephalothorax is colored with red-brown hues, adorned by light yellow hairs and two subtle gray streaks running along its length.

Meanwhile, the abdomen varies from pink to pale flesh tints featuring grey to black blotches. On top of that, their legs are spiny appendages topped off with faint grey stripes at the end of each femur.

Much like the webs of grass spiders, these webs are usually smaller in size, and the retreats for these spinners lie within the web sheet instead of being found to one side.

triangulate cobweb spiders in Minnesota
Triangulate Cobweb Spider (Steatoda triangulosa) overwhelmed and paralyzed by solitary wasp species Trypoxylon figulus as prey for the larva. Shutterstock.com/Timelynx

The Triangulate cobweb spider in Minnesota: Identification.

At first glance, this tiny Triangulate cobweb spider might be easily overlooked since it tends to build its cobwebs in dark corners of households and basements. Measuring only 1/8 – ¼ inch long, the cephalothorax is brownish-orange, while each of its yellow legs contains darker sections at their tips.

The abdomen has a finely pubescent texture with shades of brown and white, triangular spots along the mid-dorsal part, and irregular markings adorn the lateral area.

Triangulate cobweb spider: Habitat.

The Triangulate cobweb spider is found in abundance locally around houses in North America, spreading rapidly since its introduction. Although rare in South America, evidence of sightings has also been recorded there.

You’ll often find these brush-footed spiders (Theridiidae family) in urban environments, near human constructions, tucked away on walls’ dark corners, around windowsills, and beneath eaves. They weave irregular webs that they hang from as a trap for their victims, using the sharp bristles of their hind legs to ensnare them with sticky silk before finally biting down when the prey is stilled.

The Triangulate cobweb spider in Minnesota is a predator to be wary of, as it can often be found close to the brown recluse and common house spiders. Hiding out inside closets, crevices, and other nooks, this arachnid has been known to feast on ants, ticks, and pillbugs – not to mention its kind!

northern cupboard spiders in Minnesota
Northern Cupboard Spider. Photo credit: Paul Harrison. License.

Northern Cupboard spider in Mionnesota: Description.

The Northern Cupboard spider (Steatoda borealis) is typically a dark-hued spider with an expansive, oval abdomen. It generally appears in shades of black to brown or reddish-brown. The northern cupboard spider is about 1/3 of a inch in body length.

Additionally, its front and back appendages are lengthier than the middle ones. Due to similar appearances among spiders from the family Steatoda, it can be tough to accurately identify them on a species level.

Northern Cupboard spiders in Minnesota can be identified by a distinct “T” shaped mark on their front end, along with an underside of the abdomen that is notably lighter than the top. It’s worth noting, however, that this particular marking could fade in aged specimens and also appears on Steatoda bipunctada, which inhabit similar environments.

Northern cupboard spider: Webs.

Like other families of the Theridiidae, these spiders craft a cobweb with irregularly woven silken fibers that are sticky in texture. Furthermore, their eyesight is very poor, and they rely on vibrations detected from within their webbing for navigation and prey capture.

Webs are rebuilt or repaired every evening.

Habits and behaviors of spiders in Minnesota.

Spiders are essential to our environment, providing a natural pest control method. They create webs that catch their unsuspecting prey or actively hunt them down in the dark of night. Most spiders prefer nocturnal living and spend the light hours hiding away from prying eyes. Without these eight-legged predators, we could be facing severe insect infestations!

When it comes to mating and propagation, the practices of Minnesota spiders differ depending on their species. While some spiders, such as black widows, are loners that only get together for mating purposes, others, like wolf spiders, carry eggs in a sac attached to them and protect them with zeal until they hatch.

How to Coexist with Minnesota Spiders.

While it’s natural to feel a little uneasy around spiders, it’s important to remember that they are generally harmless and can even be beneficial to have around. Here are a few tips for coexisting with Minnesota spiders in a way that’s safe for both humans and spiders:

  • Keep spiders out of your home: To keep spiders out of your home, seal any cracks or openings in your foundation, windows, and doors. Keep your windows and doors closed as much as possible, and use weatherstripping to create a tight seal. Keep your home clean and clutter-free, as spiders are attracted to dark, cluttered areas where they can hide.
  • What to do if you encounter a venomous spider: If you encounter a venomous spider, such as a black widow or a brown recluse, it’s essential to remain calm and avoid disturbing the spider.
  • Since venomous spiders are not typically aggressive and will only bite if they feel threatened, it is wise to leave them alone and let them perform their natural activity. If you need to remove one of these arachnids from your house, use a broom or other long object to carefully guide the creature out instead of attempting direct contact.
  • If a venomous spider bites you, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms of a venomous spider bite may include severe pain, swelling, redness, and difficulty breathing.

Spiders in Minnesota: Conclusion.

Suppose you are concerned about venomous spiders in your area. In that case, it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with the types of venomous spiders found in Minnesota and how to identify them. This can help you avoid them and take appropriate precautions if you encounter one. Keeping a first aid kit in case of accidental bites or stings is also a good idea.

Overall, it’s essential to respect and understand these crucial members of Minnesota’s ecosystem and take steps to coexist with them in a safe way for both humans and spiders.

Suggested further reading.

Spider pages: Learn how to identify and avoid these spiders.

Striped spider in the U.S.

How long do spiders live?

Spider anatomy 101.

The most venomous spiders in the world.

Zebra spiders.

Furrow orb weaver spider.

Marbled orb weaver spiders.

Red house spider identification.

Purse web spider.

Crab spider: How to identify.

Orb weaver Spiders: How to identify and get rid of them.

Common house spiders: How to Identify and get rid of them.

Dark fishing spiders.

Six-Eyed Sand Spider: Is the White Sand Spider Dangerous?

10 biggest spiders in the world.

The Red widow spider

Giant Huntsman Spider: How to Identify the Largest Spider

Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantula

Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantula

Colombian Giant Redleg Tarantula

Cerbalus Aravaensis: Middle East’s Largest Spider

Camel spiders: Myths and Facts.

Net-casting spiders: How to identify these spiders.

White-tailed spider: How to identify and manage.

Katipo Spider: How to identify New Zealand’s venomous spider

Brown widow spider: How to identify and avoid the false widow.

Redback spiders how to identify them and prevent bites

Funnel weaver spiders vs funnel-web

Cellar spiders how to identify and get rid of them

How to identify the wolf spider

How to identify the hobo spider

Brazilian wandering spider how to identify and avoid

Huntsman spider how to identify the eight legged freak

Jumping spiders how to identify these harmless hunters

Black widow spiders how to identify and avoid

Tarantulas appearance diet and mating

Do tarantulas bite?

Brown recluse spiders how to identify and avoid

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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