We have a variety of spider species in our San Diego County service area. Most of them are beneficial. Spiders help with pest control. While they certainly don't replace the need for a human pest control technician, they can be a big help when left to do their job in areas that are away from the exterior walls of your home. We call this biological remediation. It's an eco-friendly way to address pest pressures. But there is no reason to ever have spiders inside your home. There are far better ways to manage pests.

The good news is that, when you find a spider in your home, it is likely to be one of these beneficial spiders. Apart from scaring you half to death and totally creeping you out, they're not a threat. Many spiders can't break your skin even if they try to bite you, and the ones that can are likely to only cause a small raised bump that itches a little bit. But it is possible to encounter a dangerous spider in your home. San Diego County has three spiders that can present a medical threat. Here's what you need to know about them.

Which Spiders Are Dangerous?

San Diego County is home to black widow spiders, brown widow spiders, and recluse spiders. You may notice that we didn't say brown recluse spiders. The recluse spiders we see in our area are actually not brown recluse spiders. They're desert recluse spiders. But, there isn't really all that much of a difference between them when it comes to the threat they can represent.


When you see a dangerous spider in your home, you may not realize it because spiderlings can look nothing like their adult counterparts. It is difficult to go through all of the visual characteristics. The best way to properly distinguish them is to do a search for the term "spiderling" when you look for black widow, brown widow, and recluse spiders.

Once these spiders become adults, things become a little easier—but not much. These spiders vary by species and also by whether or not they are male or female.

Black and brown widows have a marking on their bulbous abdomens that help with identification. This marking may be in the shape of an hourglass or it might look like a line or a dot. If you see bright red, orange, or yellow on a spider's abdomen, it is best to steer clear of it. Another characteristic to look for is the shiny black coloration of a black widow. This is somewhat distinct among spiders. But keep in mind that you could be tricked by a false black widow which has some similar characteristics. Sorry. It isn't nearly as straightforward as we'd like it to be.

Recluse spiders have a pill-shaped abdomen, not a bulbous abdomen, like a black or brown widow. On its back, you'll find a fiddle (violin) marking, just below the head. This marking is a dark brown color and somewhat distinct. A recluse spider is the only bald-looking, brown spider you'll see in your home. Spiderlings look similar to adults. At full size, an adult recluse spider will be about the size of a quarter.

Dangerous Spiders Are Rarely Dangerous

What you should know most about dangerous spiders is that they rarely are. The reputation of these spiders far exceeds the threat they present. Our technicians deal closely with these spiders all the time and do not get bitten. They are not aggressive. Bites usually occur when a spider is trapped or threatened. If you see a dangerous spider in your home, the greatest threat is that one might get into your bed while you're away.

The best recommendation we can make is to turn your covers down before getting into bed at night. You may also consider removing skirts from your beds and moving beds out from your walls if you've seen one of these spiders in your home. This will reduce the risk as you wait on a technician to perform a treatment—and you should definitely have a technician perform a treatment. While these spiders don't prefer to bite you, accidents happen.

The Best Way To Deal With Dangerous Spiders

Black widows and brown widows don't prefer to live in your home, and they can be easily deterred with routine pest control around the outside of your home. This is one great reason to invest in a residential pest control program. Recluse spiders can be a little more troublesome as they are able to live in your home and grow a large population. But recluse spiders can also be kept out with routine spider control treatments.

If you live in San Diego County and you'd like to keep dangerous spiders - and other far more dangerous pests - out of your home, we can help. Reach out to HomeShield Pest Control today to request a pest control evaluation to get started. We also provide commercial pest control services.