Nursery Web Spider: What Is It?

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The Nursery web spider is a fascinating member of the vast spider family. Did you know that this species gets its name from the female’s ability to spin a silken nursery web for her offspring? Isn’t that an interesting fact?

Well, read this article and discover some more intriguing and informative facts about this amazing arthropod, the Nursery Web Spider!

What is a Nursery Web Spider? 

The Nursery web spider is a much prevalent member of the araneomorph spider family.

Nursery Web Spider

Nursery web shares the same order Araneae with the famous wolf spider.

This family of spiders is found all over the world and contains around 600 different species. They are often confused with wolf spiders but can be easily identified by their characteristic nursery web.

When it comes to the name of these critters, nursery web spiders get it from the protective actions of a female nursery web.

She carries her egg sac around in her jaws until the eggs are near hatching and then hides it and spins a silken enclosure around it, roping in some vegetation such as shrubs.

What Do Nursery Web Spiders Look Like?

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Nursery web spiders vary in size and color.

They range in color from black, light brown or tan, yellow, to white. These spiders typically have a light to dark brown band down the middle of their back and a narrow white border around their abdomen.

The nursery web is identified by their combined head and thorax region, called the cephalothorax, and their unsegmented abdomen region.

The cephalothorax is the front part of the body and has a hard covering called the carapace. This provides protection for the spider’s organs. The abdomen is soft and flexible, and it houses all of the spider’s organs.

Like most spider species, these critters have eight legs, eyes (ranging between six to eight pairs), two pedipalps (the male’s palps bearing a copulatory organ), and a pair of jaws (chelicerae).

Nursery web spiders also undergo the process of molt; that is spiders shed their tough exoskeleton (outer skin) as they grow.

Spinnerets (a spider’s silk-producing organ) are quite prominent in female members of the spices, particularly because they use this organ to spin a webbed veil around their offspring, in order to protect them.

The male and female members of the species look very similar, though females are usually a bit larger.

Nursery Web Spider Basics

For an insightful reflection, browse through some fundamental facts about the Nursery Web Spider.


Nursery Web Spiders are found in various habitats, including wildlife locations, forests, meadows, grassland, and wetlands. They construct their webs near the ground in sheltered areas where they wait for prey to wander by.

Some Nursery Web Spiders have adapted to living in close proximity to humans, as they are commonly found in residential areas (often found in gardens). They spin their cocoon webs near porch lights and in bushes, waiting to catch their prey such as flies, frogs, etc.

Can nursery web spiders jump?

Although nursery web spiders can jump up to 6 inches (150 mm), they find it difficult to climb extremely flat surfaces like glass.

What’s more, you would be astonished to know that many members of the nursery web family possess amazing abilities such as walking on top of still bodies of water and diving under the surface to avoid enemies!

How big is a Nursery Web Spider?

Male nursery web spiders are typically 9–15 mm long, while their female counterparts are normally 12–15 mm tall.

Both sexes are yellowish-brown in hue, with a medium-to-dark brown stripe running down the middle of the back on both the males and females.

As I mentioned, these large spiders are frequently mistaken for wolf spiders because of their striking resemblance.

When it comes to their weight interestingly, male Nursery Web Spiders weigh significantly less than female spiders, averaging only 54 mg. Conversely, female spiders weigh an average of 68 mg.

Food Habits

The nursery web spider is a small arachnid with a keen interest in insects. They are not considered dangerous to humans, and their venom is not very strong. However, their digestive juices liquefy their prey’s internal organs, allowing them to consume them whole.

Nursery web spiders generally feed on insects and other small animals, which makes them very helpful in controlling the population of harmful pests.

Interestingly, Nursery Web Spiders make a soup from their prey before they ingest the nutrients. This allows them to get the most benefit from their food and helps them survive in difficult times.

Is nursery web spider Dangerous?

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The simple answer to this question is NO.

Interestingly, nursery web spiders are not considered dangerous to humans even though they have large fangs. With reference to higher toxicity, their venom is classified as being relatively mild.

So while you might feel the bite if one were to happen to land on you, it’s not anything that would cause serious harm.

Do nursery web spiders Bite?

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Nursery web spiders are poisonous spiders found in North America. These typically small spiders possess potent venom and can kill small animals.

If we talk about their threat to humans, well, they are generally non-aggressive (and considered harmless to humans) but will bite if threatened.

Nursery web spiders do not attack without provocation, and only the female spider, which is fiercely protective of her eggs and may attack if she feels threatened, resulting in a huge and painful bump.

Why does a nursery web spider invade your home?

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Nursery web spiders invade homes for a variety of reasons, including

  • Extreme weather: spiders infiltrate homes since it is their basic instinct to feel safe in surroundings with lots of hiding places. Basically, in a certain season, that is, if it becomes too hot, cold, or wet outside, nursery web spiders will seek safety in your home.
  • Mating seasons: Nursery web spiders invade homes when they are looking for a place to mate. During the mating season, these spiders search for living accommodation and choose the cozy sanctuary of a home. They build their nursery web spider’s webs in dark and secluded places, such as in corners or near ceilings.
  • Food: If you have various insect pests lurking on your property, you have another strong reason to eliminate the pesky critters; as looking for potential food is a major motivation for the nursery web spiders to infiltrate your home.
  • Easy access: A slight fissure in the wall or an open window is an invitation to the nursery web. Their capability to quickly squeeze between locked doors, cervices and windows enhance their infiltration of your home’s refuge.

Effective ways to keep Nursery web spiders out

It is not difficult to keep nursery web spiders away from your residential area. There are numerous DIY methods that are also cost-effective and can work wonders.

Here are a few viable options:

Essential oils

Spiders despise the fragrance of various essential oils, and nursery web spiders are no exception.

Essential oils are a natural way of repelling spiders (the most common of which is peppermint).

It can be used in a variety of ways, including diffusing them in the air or spraying them on surfaces such as room corners, ducts, cracks in the walls and floors, cabinets, and so on. This eliminates the possibility of a nursery web spider moving in.

DIY spider repellent spray

There are many different types of spider repellents that can be made with household ingredients.

One popular and easy-to-make recipe is a spray made with vinegar and black pepper. This mixture is effective in repelling nursery web spiders, as well as other pests.

Another easy and effective DIY spider repellent that I would suggest includes mixing one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent with one cup of water and spraying it where spiders tend to congregate.

If desired, you can also add peppermint oil or tea tree oil to the mixture for an added boost.

Sticky traps

Though Nursery web spiders are not particularly harmful, they can still be an utter nuisance. One way to get rid of them is by using sticky traps. These traps will catch the spiders and eventually kill them.

Although these traps are non-toxic, they can be very effective in controlling pests.

In addition, sticky traps are very cheap and can be found in any hardware store. They are made of a sticky adhesive material that will trap spiders, bugs, and other pests.

Professional Help

Finally, you can always employ professional exterminator services. This is the most efficient method of combating these creatures. The professional will meticulously investigate every corner and use the required methods to have a long-lasting effect.


In conclusion, nursery web spiders are fascinating creatures that deserve further study. They are excellent predators and play an important role in the ecosystem. They are also relatively harmless to humans and make great pets. If you are interested in learning more about these spiders, please visit your local library or online resource center.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.