Many people have been commonly encountering large spiders in and around their homes lately. In nearly all cases they have turned out to be fishing spiders. Fishing spiders have a body length up to one inch and a legspan of several inches long. They are brownish with banded legs and have eight eyes like most spiders. They are the biggest spider in Minnesota.
Although they are an imposing-look spider, they are essentially harmless to people. They are not aggressive to people and will only bite under duress or if they feel threatened. Even then, a bite is no more painful than a mild bee sting. As the name suggests, they are associated with water but they can range away from this environment. When they enter homes, it is by accident - they would much rather be outside. The only necessary control is to capture a fishing spider (put a jar or similar container over it and slide a piece of paper underneath of it, trapping the spider inside) and release it outdoors.
Published in Yard and Garden News, July 15, 2008