The cellar spider is often found in damp locations like basements, crawl spaces and cellars, which is how it got its common name. Cellar spiders have small bodies with long, thin legs and are often confused with harvestmen, the true daddy long legs that are not actually spiders. There are two groups of cellar spiders, the long-bodied cellar spiders that have legs up to two inches long and the short-bodied cellar spiders whose legs are about ½ inch long. Cellar spiders are tan or gray in color. Like all spiders, they have eight legs. Because of their long legs, cellar spiders are often mistaken for the “daddy long legs.”
Cellar spiders hatch from eggs, and when hatched, look like small adults who shed their skin as they grow. The female spiders encase their eggs in silk webs where they are protected against spider predators. Cellar spiders frequently infest homes and warehouses and make their webs in protective corners of basements, closets, attics, outbuildings and rock piles. They prefer to eat small moths, flies, mosquitoes and other insects or spiders that are found near their webs. Male and female cellar spiders may be found in climate-controlled structures year round. The spider reaches maturity in about a year. Once mature, the spider can live another two-year.
Not a medically important spider, cellar spiders aren’t known to bite people. However, this has not detoured the existence of an urban myth indicating that cellar spider venom is among the most deadly in the world, but the length of the spider’s fangs are too short to deliver the venom during a bite. There is no scientific based information to support the deadliness of their venom, so there is no reason to assume this is true. But, are the fangs too short to penetrate human skin? Cellar spiders do have short fangs, termed uncate by spider experts. But, so do brown recluse spiders that undeniably bite humans. Cellar spiders can be a nuisance around homes and businesses, despite their harmless nature.