British Columbia is home to over 700 different species of spiders! These creepy crawlies make many of us squirm just thinking about them however, they can be beneficial to us as well by keeping the populations of other insects in check. Did you know that spiders eat between 400 to 800 million tons of insects and other pests every year? For comparison, humans collectively only eat 400 million tons of fish and meat a year. 

However, spiders themselves also act as pests when they invade your space and stop you from relaxing. In this article, we cover the most common spiders found in and around homes in Victoria, Nanaimo and across Vancouver Island and the unique problems they pose. 

Cellar Spider:

The Cellar spider is a common pest often found in homes in Victoria, Nanaimo and all across Vancouver Island. Recognizable by their long, delicate legs and tendency to hang upside down in tangled webs, these spiders are skilled predators that feed on smaller insects. When disturbed these spiders will shake their webs aggressively to scare off predators.  

While their presence might startle some, Cellar spiders are harmless to humans and contribute to keeping indoor pest populations in check. They especially enjoy eating other spiders, small insects and even centipedes. However, if their presence makes you uneasy professional pest control can take care of a Cellar spider infestation swiftly and effectively.

Cellar Spider

Giant House Spider: 

The Giant House Spider is a sizable arachnid (close in size to the Wolf spider) frequently encountered in homes across Vancouver Island. With a leg span that can reach several inches, it startles many homeowners that happen across it. Despite its imposing appearance, the Giant House Spider is harmless to humans and prefers to feast on insects that might otherwise become household pests. This Vancouver Island spider constructs messy funnel-shaped cobwebs in corners and crevices that aren’t often disturbed. They often lay motionless in their web waiting for an unlucky insect to get trapped. 

Black Widow Spider: 

The Western Black Widow spider is an infamous arachnid found across Vancouver Island including Victoria and Nanaimo. Recognizable by its glossy black body and distinctive red hourglass-shaped marking on the abdomen, this spider is known for its venomous bite. While bites are rare and fatalities even rarer, they can cause localized pain and discomfort. If you are experiencing symptoms from a spider bite seek immediate medical attention. 

They feed on other insects and spiders using their venom to immobilize their prey. Though rare, they sometimes make their way into homes preferring basements and storage areas. It is highly risky to deal with a Black Widow infestation on your own, it is always advisable to call on professional pest control to take care of the issue safely. 

Learn more about the Western Black Widow spider.

Black Widow Spider

Wolf Spider:

Wolf spiders are known for their impressive hunting skills and keen eyesight. Unlike many other spiders, they don’t build elaborate webs to catch their prey. Instead, they stalk and pounce on their victims. These robust spiders are often found on the ground or in leaf litter but sometimes find their way inside homes. They can be quite large, with some individuals having a leg span of several inches. 

Despite their intimidating appearance, Wolf spiders are not dangerous to the average person. However, some people have Wolf spider allergies and can experience symptoms from their bite. 

Wolf Spider

Orb-Weaver Spider: 

One of the most recognizable spider families on Vancouver Island is the Orb-weaver spider. These skilled weavers create intricate webs where an organised grid spirals from the inside out. Think about the quintessential Halloween spider that’s what an Orb-weaver web looks like – most other spider webs are a lot more unorganized. Orb-weaver spiders are commonly found in gardens, forests, and around outdoor patios. 

These spiders are harmless to humans and primarily feed on insects that get trapped in their webs such as moths and beetles. However, they can be a nuisance in large numbers or if they move inside your home. 

Orb Weaver Spider


What are the largest spiders on Vancouver Island?

The largest spiders on Vancouver Island, and in much of North America, are Wolf spiders. These spiders are known for their large size and robust appearance. Despite their size, Wolf spiders are not considered dangerous to humans, though some people are allergic to their bite. 

Are there Brown Recluse spiders on Vancouver Island?

No, Brown Recluse spiders are not found on Vancouver Island. Brown Recluse spiders are primarily found in parts of the United States, particularly in the central and southern states. They are known for their venomous bites, which can cause tissue necrosis and other serious health issues in some cases. If you think you see a Brown Recluse spider on Vancouver Island it is likely a Cellar spider or Wolf spider, which are often mistaken for the Brown Recluse. 

What is the most poisonous spider on Vancouver Island?

The most poisonous spider on Vancouver Island is the Western Black Widow spider, although “venomous” is a more accurate descriptor. The terms “poisonous” and “venomous” are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings. “Venomous” refers to living things that inject venom into their prey or predators. “Poisonous,” on the other hand, refers to living things that are toxic if ingested or touched. 

The Western Black Widow spider is indeed venomous and its bite can be painful and cause localized symptoms, it’s important to note that severe reactions are rare, and fatalities are extremely uncommon. The venom of the Western Black Widow spider is primarily used to immobilize its prey, which consists mainly of insects. However, if you are concerned about a spider bite please seek medical attention. 

How common are black widows on Vancouver Island?

While Western Black Widow spiders are present on Vancouver Island, their populations tend to be limited and their distribution is not as widespread as in some other parts of North America. These spiders prefer warm and dry environments and their presence is more noticeable in areas with those conditions.


Old Island Pest Control offers pest management and exterminator services for both residential and commercial properties. We have local pest control experts at locations across Vancouver Island, including Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville & Qualicum, Courtenay, Victoria and Campbell River. Call us today to learn how we can help.