The term "house spider" means different things depending on where you live. That is because different species of spiders are native to different places. For example, while it may be fairly common for someone in Arizona to see a black widow spider, the same would not be true for a person living in Alaska. House spiders are common in certain regions, but they are actually members of varying species. To figure out how long most "house spiders" live, you have to examine a few of the spiders most commonly found in human homes.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
The term "house spider" can refer to many different species. How long a spider will live also depends on its species. For example, a barn funnel weaver spider may live for up to 7 years, while a southern black widow will only live between 1 and 3 years. Wolf spiders live for even less time, usually a year or less.
Barn Funnel Weaver
Also known as the "domestic house spider," the barn funnel weaver is one of the most common spiders in the world. This species is native to Europe but came to North America and parts of Asia through merchants and other voyagers hundreds of years ago. Because of their small size, adults are usually less than an inch long, these spiders are able to live with humans largely unnoticed. Barn funnel weavers get their name from the funnel-shaped webs they build to trap prey. Usually, these webs show up in corners, especially in windowsills. The spider lies in wait, until prey stumbles across the outside of the funnel. Then, it drags the prey into the narrow part of the funnel and eats it. Barn funnel weavers are able to survive for around 5 to 7 years if undisturbed.
Southern Black Widow
Native to the southeastern U.S., the southern black widow spider is a fairly common sight in states such as Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. These spiders famously possess venom, which can be deadly to humans. But the vast majority of black widow bites are not fatal. Southern black widows are common in homes, but they still rarely come into direct contact with humans. This is because black widows prefer to build their webs in dark, undisturbed places, such as attics or basements. It is possible for people to share their homes with these spiders and never know. Southern black widow females are much larger than males, but both genders grow to less than an inch in length. Females are black, with a characteristic red hourglass marking on their abdomens, while males can range in color from gray to dark purple. Southern black widows usually live between 1 and 3 years, if left alone.
Wolf spiders are one of the most common spiders in the world and live on every continent and even some islands. This is because there are many different kinds of wolf spiders, though they all share similar traits. Some types of wolf spiders are so similar, in fact, that biologists have trouble distinguishing them and may need to use the spider's location as a clue.
All wolf spiders come in varying shades of brown, usually with prominent hair showing on their abdomens. These spiders do not build webs but instead hunt by running after prey. When living inside human homes, wolf spiders will usually only become active at night. They spend most of the day hiding in hard-to-reach places, such as under counters or large appliances. Unlike most spider species, whose babies disperse as soon as they hatch, mother wolf spiders carry their newly-hatched babies on their backs, until they are ready to hunt for themselves. These spiders can range from a few centimeters to over an inch long, depending on which region they live in. Male wolf spiders usually live for less than a year, while females can live a little longer.
About the Author
Maria Cook is a freelance and fiction writer from Indianapolis, Indiana. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Butler University in Indianapolis. She has written about science as it relates to eco-friendly practices, conservation and the environment for Green Matters.