Hibernating is a common survival phenomenon most animals and insects do during wintertime. When it comes to spiders, they come in various species, and each one behaves differently.
Some spiders hibernate in the winter, while others stay active all year long. Most insects are hiding from the cold, thus, the search for food is a bit difficult for house spiders this time.
This means that common house spiders who are built for indoor environments instinctively hunt for prey during this time of the year.
Types of House Spiders
There are two main types of spiders: those that build webs and those that don’t. The majority of house spiders fall into the latter category. These spiders are known as “hunting spiders” because they actively hunt their prey.
Hunting spiders generally don’t hibernate in the winter, as they do not have a web. They can only rely on their hunting skills for them to have a meal. But some may minimize their activity level to preserve their energy and slow down their metabolism, as it is typically harder to hunt during the winter season.
The other type of spider is the web-building spider. These spiders build webs to catch their prey. Web-building spiders are more likely to hibernate in the winter because they don’t want to use up their energy on building a new web every day. If you see a spiderweb in your home in the winter, the spider is likely hibernating.
It is safe to say that it will boil down to what type of spider you see in your house. It’s also important to know that not all spiders you see in your home are house spiders.
Primarily during the winter season, some outdoor spider seeks warmth or hunt somewhere else, and that could be in your basement, attic, or in between the walls.
They could also end up hibernating there. The best way to know is to classify what type of spider you are dealing with correctly and learn about their nature.
How House Spiders Hibernate
Now that we know that not all spiders hibernate and that some may stay active in your home during winter, the next question is: how do those who hibernate do it? Just like any other animal or insect, spiders go into a deep sleep during winter.
They first find a warm, dark, and humid place to settle. This can be anywhere as long as they see it safe. Web-building spiders may settle into their old spot, but some don’t.
It is also pretty common to spot thick layers of webs that serve as their blanket that protects them from the harsh cold weather and other predators during their hibernating season.
Then they fall into a deep sleep. This state is called “diapause,” being in diapause helps the spider conserve energy and survive the cold winter months. When a spider enters diapause, the spider will also stop eating and drinking. Its body will produce a particular type of glycerol that acts as an antifreeze.
This glycerol prevents the spider’s body from freezing, even in subzero temperatures!
This keeps spiders warm and alive most of the time, but this doesn’t secure one hundred percent survival as there are still other factors that might disturb the hibernating process and harm or kill the spider in a weak state.
Once the weather starts warming up, the spider’s body will slowly stop producing this antifreeze glycerol, and the spider will begin to eat its way out of its web and return to its normal activity level.
Usually, after summer, the spiderlings will also hatch and start a new life cycle.
Common Species of Hibernating House Spider
There are a few common species of house spiders that hibernate during the winter. These spiders build webs, so they are more likely to enter into a state of hibernation. Here’s to name a few:
The wolf spider is one of the most common species of spiders in North America. They are brown or gray in color and can grow to be about an inch long.
Wolf spiders typically build their webs in wooded areas, but they will also make them in gardens, fields, and even inside homes. During the winter season, wolf spiders will find a place to hibernate inside homes as they have a better chance of survival indoors.
The jumping spider is another common spider you might find in your household. These spiders are small, black, or brown, and have long legs.
They got their name from their ability to jump long distances. Jumping spiders can be found both indoors and outdoors in the warm season but typically stays to hibernate indoors during the winter.
Brown Recluse Spider
The brown recluse spider is another homebound common species of spider that hibernates in the winter.
These spiders are brown or tan and can grow up to about half an inch long. These species also usually lay eggs after the hibernation period.
Read More: Do Spiders Survive in the Fridge or Freezer?
What to Do If You See a Spider in Your Home During Winter
There are various ways to deal with these eight-legged creatures that desire to be your housemate, but it really depends on how you would react to it. You can ignore it and pretend you never saw it as long as it doesn’t bother you.
Most house spiders are harmless and actually helpful in regulating the number of pests in your home, such as flies, mosquitoes, fleas, mites, and more.
They might take a rest from this duty during winter, but they will surely be up and about hunting again after the season.
On the other hand, you can also gently capture them and release them outside. However, there is a big chance that they will freeze to death and won’t survive a night.
If you are one of those people who are petrified of spiders, it is best to call for professional help.
Do not try to kill it yourself, especially if you are not sure what kind of spider you are dealing with. Pest control companies have the proper tools and skills to eliminate these creatures in your home without harming you or your family in the process.
We usually see house spiders as harmless creatures casually camping somewhere in our homes. However, when it’s winter and the hibernation period, it can be confusing to differentiate which spiders we should welcome or not.
Yes, most house spiders hibernate but so do not-so-friendly and not-so-safe visiting spiders, too! It’s always better to be safe than sorry and know that we have an option to leave it to the professionals to protect our families and these creatures too.