Do House Spiders Molt? How Often Do They Shed Their Skin?

While not typically considered dangerous to humans, House spiders can still be quite creepy. Do house spiders molt? Molting is the process that involves shedding the skin and growing a new one.

House spiders molt anywhere from once a year to several times throughout their lifespan. The process of molting can take anywhere from minutes to days, depending on the size of the spider.

While molting, spiders are vulnerable to predators as they cannot move very well and their new skin is not yet hardened. For this reason, many spiders will hide during this time

spider during molting process

Molting Means the Spider Is Growing

The process of molting a spider is called ecdysis. Like any other spider, House spiders typically shed their skin once a year. Molting can happen because the spider is growing – as they mature, they’ll need to get rid of their old skin in order to accommodate their new size. In some cases, a spider may molt more than once a year, and it’s also common for baby spiders to molt more frequently than adults.

Molting is essential for a spider’s survival as it allows them to grow and replace any body parts that may have been lost or damaged. The process takes anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the size of the spider and how much damage needs to be repaired.

Spiders generally molt during the day and are most active at night, so you may not notice when your spider is molting.

What Happens During the Molting Process?

Spiders have two layers of skin, the inner one is called the endocuticle, and the outer one is called the exocuticle. The molting process involves the spider first breaking down the inner layer of skin before shedding the outer layer. This can be a lengthy process, depending on the type of spider.

A few days before molting, the spider will stop eating, and its body will begin to produce a new exoskeleton beneath the old one. Once the new exoskeleton is ready, the spider will molt by literally climbing out of its old skin. The process can be quite gruesome to witness as the spider’s legs, and abdomen seem to detach from its body.

After molting, the spider will be extremely vulnerable as its new exoskeleton is soft and needs time to harden. The spider must not be disturbed until it has fully recovered. The whole process can be stressful for the spider, so it is vital to give it the time and space it needs to harden its new and bigger exoskeleton. Once the new exoskeleton has been set, the spider will be back to its usual self and will start looking for food.

At What Age Do Spiders Molt?

Spiders will molt several times during their lifetime, with the first molt occurring when they are just babies. After that, they will typically molt once a year. The molting process can be triggered by a change in the spider’s environment, such as a change in temperature or humidity. It can also be because the spider is growing larger.

spider shedding skin

How to Spot a Molting Spider

If you see a spider that looks like it’s missing legs or its abdomen seems to be detached, don’t worry, it’s probably just molting! Here are some more helpful tips on how to spot a molting spider:

Hiding in an Unusual Spot

A molting spider will usually hide in a safe place during the molting process. They intend to hide from predators and humans, so their molting process won’t be disturbed.

Changes in Appearance

There will be slight changes before the main molting process, such as lighter coloring in the exoskeleton and a softer appearance. The spider’s body will also look bloated or chunkier than usual.

Shedding Hair

You might notice some bald spots or missing hair on the spider’s body. This is because the molting process has already begun. This is perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about!

There May Be Shedding Skin around the Molting Spider

Shedding of old skin doesn’t always happen as most molted skin can be absorbed and use its nutrients to create the new exoskeleton. If there is shedding skin, it will be in the form of a thin film and not big chunks.

The Legs and Abdomen May Seem to Be Detached from the Body

This usually happens during the final stage of the molting process! The spider will soon climb out of its old skin and be on its way. This might be difficult to watch, especially if you’re squeamish, so it’s best to leave the spider until it’s finished.

The Potential Risks of Molting on Spiders

spider on rod, with web weave and skin shed

Even though molting is a natural process, it can be quite dangerous for spiders. If a spider molts while it is inside its web, the web will become tangled, and the spider will be unable to escape. This can lead to the spider being eaten by predators or starving to death. In the wild, spiders will often leave their webs before molting to avoid this fate. However, house spiders don’t have this option and are often found dead in their webs after molting.

Are Molting Spiders Dangerous to Humans?

If you will leave them alone in the process, then no, molting spiders should not be dangerous to humans. However, it is essential to be careful around molting spiders as they can bite if they feel threatened. If you get bitten by a molting spider, it is crucial to seek medical attention as there is a small risk of infection.

If you find a molting spider in your home, it is best to leave it alone and give it time to finish the process. If you cannot stand the sight and must move it, make sure to do it gently and with caution. Avoid touching the spider directly as much as possible, or better leave it to a professional.

House spiders are an important part of the ecosystem and can help control pest populations. Still, it is understandable if you don’t want anything to do with them, especially during this molting time when they look even scarier. Don’t hesitate to seek help from your trusted pest control company.

Final Thoughts

All in all, molting is a necessary process for spiders and nothing to be alarmed about! If you see a spider that appears to be molting, just give it some time and space to finish the process. Molting spiders will cause you no harm unless you threaten them, so there’s no need to be afraid. Just be cautious and observe from a distance if you can, or better leave them alone as no one wants to be seen upsizing their clothes!