How to Deal with Wolf Spiders

Take action now to keep these big, fast, hairy arachnids out of your home.

There's a reason a wolf spider can scare even the bravest homeowner: It's a big, hairy spider that can sprint incredibly fast and looks a bit like a tarantula. To kill wolf spiders and prevent them from finding their way into your house, here's what you should know.

Are Wolf Spiders Poisonous?

The wolf spider is one of the most well-known types of spiders. They're found all across the United States, from California to Montana to Ohio to South Carolina. While wolf spiders are poisonous, they typically only bite if they've been disturbed. If that happens, some people may experience mild stinging and redness that can be treated with an ice pack and topical ointment.

What Do Wolf Spiders Look Like?

Wolf spiders can get pretty big—up to 2 inches in length—though the males can be as small as ¼ inch. They are usually hairy and dark brown with paler stripes and markings, plus long legs. These legs help them run fast, which works in their favor since they ambush or hunt their prey rather than trap it in a web.

Like all spiders, wolf spiders have eight eyes, but theirs are positioned in a distinctive pattern: a row with two forward-directing eyes, a second row with two side-directing eyes, and a third row with four smaller eyes. This results in keen eyesight that helps the wolf spider detect its prey.

Female wolf spiders have a very protective nature when it comes to parenting. They carry an egg sac that can contain more than 100 eggs. Once those eggs hatch, females carry their young on their backs for about a week.

How to Deal with Wolf Spiders

Outdoors, wolf spiders prefer tall shrubs, dense grasses, rocks, boards, and stones. It's not uncommon, however, to also find them underneath leaves and mulch or among brush and woodpiles. To help control wolf spiders outdoors, clean up debris, mow tall grasses, and treat your lawn and landscape with an effective insect killer like Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape Ready-To-Spray. When applied as directed, it creates a bug barrier that kills spiders (and other listed bugs) and provides up to 3 months of protection.

If a wolf spider should find its way into your house, it will probably be in the usual way: through cracks, crevices, or small openings around doors and windows. Once inside, wolf spiders prefer to hide out around doors and windows, among houseplants, and in closets, basements, cellars, and garages. Unlike some other kinds of spiders, they prefer to stay near ground level. Here's how to stop wolf spiders from coming indoors in the first place:

1. Discourage them.

Wolf spiders love quiet, undisturbed places, so get a broom or vacuum and make a clean sweep of their favorite hiding places. Do this regularly, about once a month.

2. Block entry points.

Using caulk, screening, and weather stripping, close off and seal up places they can get in. Check for rips, tears and openings, and replace or repair them as soon as you notice them.

3. Take away their hiding places.

Tape or seal storage boxes, patch wall cracks and holes, and get rid of clutter.

4. Create a barrier.

Use odor-free, stain-free Ortho® Home Defense Insect Killer for Indoor and Perimeter2 with Comfort Wand® to create a long-lasting barrier. When applied according to directions in a 4-inch band around your home's indoor perimeter, and in a 12-inch band around the outdoor perimeter, this product helps kill and prevent both wolf spiders and many of the insects that serve as their prey.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to get rid of creepy crawlers—especially the big, fast-moving, hairy kind. With these tips, you can consider your wolf spider problem solved.

Want to know more about spiders? Check out our article about common house spiders to learn how to identify and get rid of them.