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Wolf spiders are popping up in neighborhoods around the Denver metro area

Posted at 4:48 PM, Oct 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-04 19:46:41-04

LITTLETON-- As fall settles in on Colorado and temperatures start to drop, more people around the Denver metro area are reporting seeing spiders in their homes.

On Facebook community pages around Littleton, Highlands Ranch and Douglas County, people have started to post pictures of their close encounters with these spiders.

Kate Gallier is one of them. Her husband found a big wolf spider in the family’s home recently and sent her a picture of it while she was at work.

“I thought it was a Halloween joke, but when I got home I realized it was actually happening,” Gallier said. “It was the biggest spider I’ve ever seen I thought it was a Halloween decoration.”

At first, the family trapped the spider in a Tupperware container while they tried to figure out how to move it outside. Gallier’s husband even put a bag of kitty litter on top of it because the spider was big enough to move the plastic container.

“Even the cat wouldn’t go near he looked at it and just like ran the other way and said nope,” Gallier said.

It took Gallier and her husband hours to build up the courage to move the spider outside.

“A lot of people said why didn’t you kill it and we just thought I mean it was so big it was almost like killing an animal because it was like a hamster. It was actually like quite impressive of nature to see something like that,” Gallier said.

On Facebook, Gallier jokingly posted about starting a support group for people who encounter wolf spiders. Her post garnered nearly 90 responses of people either saying they’ve been through a similar experience or posting pictures of their own.

“A whole bunch of people commented because I guess this has been happening a lot,” she said.

It’s not uncommon for numerous people to have these spider sightings during this time of the year, according to Shannon Murphy, an associate professor of biology at the University of Denver.

“There are so many different types of spiders and they’re fabulous to have in your basement because they get rid of all of your pests. I always say I’d much rather see a spider in my basement and whatever the heck it’s eating,” Murphy said.

There are really only two types of spiders that you need to worry about in Colorado, the black widow and the brown recluse.

“There are some reports of brown recluse spiders, but those are really minimal, they’re not confirmed very often,” Murphy said.

Murphy says the wolf spiders a lot of people have been seeing in their homes lately can actually be beneficial.

“Wolf spiders which are fabulous hunters they will eat all of the pests that you have in your basement,” Murphy said. “They eat small flies, mosquitoes, larvae and things that are eating your carpet or the dead skin that falls off of you.”

Murphy didn’t grow up loving bugs. Like most of us, she was scared of them at first but then learned about their benefits to the environment and now studies them. She’s teaching her daughter to appreciate them as well.

“I’m raising my daughter differently. She is an amazing spider catcher, and she will move all the spiders out of the way so that she and my dog don’t kill them by accident. We actually have a spider in our basement right now named Bob. He’s a wolf spider,” Murphy said.

If you don’t want to leave the spiders to roam in your home, Murphy says that’s okay, just move them outside and send them on their way.

“Spiders don’t go out of their way to try to bite us they actually externally digest their own prey,” she said.

But she said people will likely see more of them as the temperatures drop.

“It’s getting cool, fall has arrived and are looking for places to spend their winter. They get cold too, so they want to move inside where it’s nice and warm,” Murphy said.