Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Spider

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Question
Spider
Spider  
Poulsbo, Washington, 10 September 2013, 11:41am

We have around six of these spiders now living on the outside of our house. Today the neighbors had an exterminator around spraying the exterior of their house.  Is this a spider I should worry about?  We have kids and a dog.  Will this spider, or its offspring, become a problem?  Are they poisonous?  Will they multiply?  

We just recently moved to this area and are not familiar with this particular spider.  Any information you can pass along is greatly appreciated.

Answer
Tom:

Wow, wanted to keep a safe distance, eh?

The only thing I can tell from the image is that the spider is an orb weaver, family Araneidae.  They build the wheel-shaped webs outdoors.

There is NO orb weaver of any kind that is dangerously venomous to people or pets.  In fact, they are far better at pest control than any exterminator.  It is a pity that your neighbors are so ill-informed.

I lived in Oregon the first half of my life and there was virtually nothing dangerous there.  Yes, there is the Western Black Widow, but that is it.

The "hobo spider" has not been proven to be dangerously venomous, either.  In fact, it is considered totally harmless in its native Europe.  There may be some kind of necrotic bacterium associated with populations of this spider in the Pacific Northwest, accounting for alleged bites that produce slow-to-heal, gaping wounds.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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