Hundreds of spider species can be found in Maine, and a few species are surprisingly large in size and hairy in texture. Unfortunately, some of the largest spiders in Maine are frequently found within homes, especially during the fall season when spiders seek refuge from the progressively colder temperatures. According to Jim Dill, a pest management specialist for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spiders in Maine are generally harmless, but a few species inflict venomous bites that can lead to allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.
Dill also states that the two spider groups known for inflicting medically hazardous bites, black widows and recluse spiders, occasionally wind up in Maine within shipments of produce and construction materials. For example, three years ago, an Old Orchard Beach woman found a black widow within her store bought grapes. Another incident in 2012 saw 24 black widow spiders arrive in Bath from a shipment of electrical equipment that originated from California. A pest control professional was hired to exterminate the black widows with fumigants. Luckily, the relatively cold climate in Maine prevents these spider groups from establishing a permanent habitat in the state.
Maine’s largest spider species, Dolomedes tenebrosus, is between one to three inches in length, and this does not include their significant leg span. This species is more commonly known as the dark fishing spider, and they are abundant in wooded habitats. This spider is a common invader of households that are located near wooded areas, especially during the fall. According to an online survey, dark fishing spiders are one of the most commonly encountered spider species within homes. This spider has been documented within homes more than 134 times, and 137 times around homes within lawn grass, foliage and garden beds. While the dark fishing spider is large and hairy, they are generally shy around humans. That being said, they can inflict painful bites that have been known to trigger serious allergic reactions.
Have you ever found a large hairy spider within your home?