New Zealand is home to hundreds of species of spiders, of which only about twelve or so are regarded as urban pests.

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Spiders are very beneficial for our ecosystem. There are a wide variety of spider species, with only a select few considered urban pests.

They grow exponentially. Spiders create a silken sac into which they lay their eggs. Each sac contains about a hundred eggs (this varies with the species). The sac may be attached to something, concealed in the web or carried on the body of the female. If you spot a sac fixed somewhere in your home, that’s a sign that there will soon be more spiders.

There’s a great number of spider species in New Zealand, but the spiders most often encountered include:

Common Pest Spiders:

Dangerous and/or poisonous spiders:


Mouse spider

These spiders live in burrows near water bodies like rivers and creeks. The females are big and their bodies brown or dark brown, which often causes people to mistake them for the funnel-web spider. At night, you will find male mouse spiders searching for a female mouse spider, while the female mouse spiders are busy building nesting burrows, which have a 'lid' or 'door'. They're a very strong spider who aren't very aggressive, but when provoked will bite. Bites from this species are poisonous and hurt, so put on a pressure bandage and see a doctor immediately if you are bitten.

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Funnel-web spider

There are approximately 40 species of funnel-web spider spread out over Australia. The funnel web spider is large when fully grown, black in colour, and can be quite aggressive. Its painful bite is also toxic, and the males have been crowned the most dangerous spider in Australia (and in the world). They thrive in cool and moist environments and usually reside in burrows marked by web lines, which extend from the entry. These burrows are often situated beneath plants, which grow close to the ground, logs, rock gardens and fallen leaves, as well as in areas with plenty of moisture like swimming pools, laundries and taps located outdoors. The male spider exits the burrow to look for a mate in autumn, especially after rain, which is also when most people are bitten. The spider’s bite is very painful and the affected area must be subjected to a pressure immobilisation bandage. A doctor should be sought immediately. Nobody has died since anti-venom was developed in 1981.

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Redback spiderFound in all parts of Australia, the female of this species is highly dangerous. The male, which is smaller, does not bite people. Female redbacks are medium sized, black in colour and quite often have a distinctive red stripe atop the abdomen. These spiders spin webs in sheltered, dry areas like sheds, piles of trash, logs and toilets. Bites are painful, but since the development of anti-venom, nobody has died from the poison of redbacks. The victim of a bite should immediately apply ice packs on the affected area and seek medical assistance. Redback spiders usually do not venture far from their webs, so steering clear of these webs is the best way to stay safe.

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White-tail spider

This species lives mostly on the ground and usually feasts on other spiders. It is reddish grey in colour and is found mostly in Southeast Australia, inhabiting homes and hiding in cupboards, bathrooms, cracks and crevices. When outdoors, it is often spotted hiding in leaf litter and beneath logs and bark. Beware as these spiders sometimes hide in clothes, shoes, and bedding. The white-tailed spider bite has been recorded causing tissue necrosis and ulcers in a few very sensitive specific people. To be safe, if you are bitten, see a doctor immediately.

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Black House spider

Otherwise called the window spider, the black house spider is a dark brown or black spider with body markings. It spins webs and is often concealed in wall crevices and in undisturbed corners. Outdoors, it often hides on tree trucks and beneath logs and bark. Although this is not an aggressive species, bites, when they do occur, are painful.

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Northern tree spiderThe Northern Tree spider is only found in Queensland and New South Wales. The venom of this spider is potentially fatal to humans, with speculation that the poison almost as deadly as the venom used by the Sydney Funnel Web. The male of species is the most lethal to humans.

They are often found burrowed in decaying tree trunks or in fence posts, in rainforest areas. When disturbed, it can become aggressive and changes to a reared up position similar to the defensive stance of the funnel-web species. The female lifespan is 5 to 10 years and will grow to 45mm, unlike the male which will only grow to 23mm.

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Common spiders:

Garden wolf spider

A common, low-risk spider, the Garden Wolf is a ground-dwelling spider but also enjoys wandering in search of prey. It is one of the most widespread species of wolf spider in Australian and is most commonly encountered in the southern and eastern mainland. They enjoy making holes in the garden, covering the entrance with litter. They are not aggressive but can bite in events where they’re provoked.

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Garden orb spider

Garden orbs are also found throughout Australia but are found only in the eastern and southern regions of Australia. They are neither poisonous nor aggressive and rarely bite. It is most active at night when they are spinning their webs, and hide during the day under foliage. The female outgrows the male, 20-25mm to 5-10mm.

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Daddy long legs

Found in a majority of Australian homes, it is commonly found throughout Australia. When outdoors, they enjoy constructing their webs in dark and damp recesses, but when indoors, they prefer warm and dry places like household windows, attics, corners etc. They are actually very handy to keep in the house as they feed on small insects and other spiders. They will only grow between 2 to 10mm, but their legs can grow up to 50mm. The daddy long leg actually possesses venom in their fangs and although extremely rare, they can bite but their fangs are too small to inject venom.

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Huntsman spider

The huntsman spider is found in most parts of Australia, mainly indoors or under bark and in cars during the daytime. This spider rarely bites, but if it does, the bite can be quite painful, so treat the bite site with a cold pack. Despite its large appearance (can grow to 40mm), the Huntsman is low risk and is considered shy and timid. It will only emerge at night and can move at lightning speeds when disturbed. These spiders have a frightening appearance. They are characterised by large, flat bodies, long, hairy legs and vary in colour depending upon the species. They devour insects, cockroaches, and white-tailed spiders, which are actually much more dangerous.

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Trap-door spider

The trap-door spider is found all over Australia and can be found dwelling in the ground and in burrows. It favours dry areas and making burrows in open situations. The spider will cover their hole with leaves or litter. The spider itself is not aggressive but may bite if provoked. No fatalities have occurred as consequence of a trap-door bite. Due to its hairy body, people often mistake the trap-door spider for the funnel web spider. They will live for a maximum of 3 years.

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If you are not sure which type of spider has taken up residence in your home, our pest control experts can identify the offending species and put effective spider control treatments in place.

Where do spiders live?

Some species opt to stay closer to the outside world and spin webs in the yard or close to outdoor lighting. Spider webs are one of the biggest annoyances with spiders.

When are spiders most active?

Spiders are usually nocturnal creatures and come out at night when they hunt for food and feed on insects and other spiders. Spiders can tend to become livelier when the weather becomes colder, as they emerge from their hiding places in search of a mate. Some die as autumn ends, but others go into hibernation till spring.

What are the signs of a spider infestation?

Spiders usually reside in the darker, more deserted areas of both the house and the yard. Here’s how to tell if you’ve got a spider problem.

  • Check for spider webs – The shape and size of a spider web can be indicative of the species responsible for making it. Observe whether the web is shaped like a funnel wheel or messy, tangled looking web.
  • Not all species live in webs. Some live in burrows, while others run around all over the place and then retreat into crevices.
  • Some spiders prefer moisture, so check for signs of dampness in walls, basements, sheds and elsewhere.
  • Some types of spiders are commonly found in attics, wardrobes, on cornices and boxes used for storage.
  • Spiders eat insects like flies, ants, and moths, as well as other spiders. So a home where there is a rich supply of other creatures to devour is more likely to be also inhabited by spiders.

Do I need professional spider control?

Controlling spiders must be done regularly in order to stop minor spikes in the spider population from escalating into full-blown invasions. Spiders can be tricky to keep at bay, and certain species prefer hiding places that are difficult to locate. When spiders go into hiding they can be very difficult to find, so it is important to have regular treatments done in order to keep the population under control.

If you would like to know more about our spider control services, give us a ring on 0800 710 010 or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you.