Most of the spider species commonly found within Maine households can be found throughout the United States. The spiders that are found in Maine households most frequently include Parson spiders, Fisher spiders, American house spiders, cellar spiders, jumping spiders and wolf spiders. Although some of these spiders are relatively large, hairy and frightening to look at, none are considered dangerous. However, it is not impossible to sustain a medically significant spider bite in Maine, as one potentially dangerous species, the yellow sac spider, has expanded its habitat range into Maine.
The yellow sac spider is one of the most frequently spotted species within homes, and they are unusually aggressive, as they are well known for biting humans without provocation. Not only are yellow sac spider bites tremendously painful, but they can also cause tissue necrosis around the bite wound. Several case studies have documented incidents of tissue necrosis that resulted from yellow sac spider bites, but luckily, most bites inflicted by this spider do not require professional medical intervention, and they remain relatively rare in Maine.
According to entomologists at the University of Maine, black widow and brown recluse spiders are not native to Maine, and therefore, do not pose a medical threat to residents. While it is true that recluse spiders are not native to Maine, one widow spider species, the northern black widow, is native to most of the northeastern states including Maine’s neighbor, New Hampshire. Northern black widows can also be found in eastern Canada, and according to a recent study, northern black widows have likely expanded their habitat into Maine since the last black widow distribution survey was conducted. Since black widow and brown recluse spiders are synanthropic, meaning that they live in close association with humans, they are often transported to non-native habitats in moving boxes and plant material. For example, in 1986 a western black widow infestation was found in a Bangor woman’s home. The woman had just moved to Bangor from Phoenix, and apparently, some widow specimens went with her.
Have spiders ever infested your home?