Welcome to The Roberts Lab

Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology

The Ohio State University


The Ohio State University at Newark

OHIO only




13 thoughts on “Home

  1. I have what I believe to be a black and silver Argiope spider living in a crook in my house. It is a beautiful spider, very large (2″ or so) black and silver. I have never seen this type of spider in Ohio. It has very long front legs and semi long back legs- giving the appearance of only having 4 legs. The legs have some stripes on them as well.
    I am in Westerville, and if you would like to come -collect the spider, I am all for it!! Or please let me know an alternative person to contact.
    Although the spider is beautiful- it must go- soon. Thanks – Bev Swihart

    • Hi Bev! Thanks for contacting the Roberts Lab – that spider sounds like a beauty! Can you send us a picture? We don’t typically collect unless we need the spiders for a particular project, but thanks for the offer. She’ll most likely move along on her own within a few days to weeks even without our intervention. If you’re lucky, she’ll stick around long enough to be a living part of your Halloween decorations!

  2. I’ve got what I believe is a black wolf spider living in my wall/maybe under my carpet and it’s so fast that I can’t catch it but nothing I do is making it go away. I’ve tried to catch it. I’ve tried using natural deterrents like essential oils. A frequency thing that my mom got me, but I’m skeptical on the efficacy of it. I’ve tried using chemicals/raid to at least deter it from being here. I’d rather not kill it It’s been 3 months. Any tips?

    • Hi Anne! Thanks for reaching out. I’d need to see a fairly high resolution photo to tell you whether or not it’s a wolf spider, but if it is, honestly, it’s harmless. Unless you’ve got some kind of insects coming inside regularly, he/she will eventually run out of food and will move out on his/her own and I would advocate just waiting a while longer. Essential oils are “essentially” useless for deterring spiders, so I wouldn’t bother with those despite any claims you might find on the internet. Raid products might work, but there are exposure hazards using that stuff inside your house so be careful there. Hope that helps – if you need more detail, feel free to use the email address on this page to contact me directly.

      • This is going to sound far fetched and to some almost impossible. I’ve been biten 11 times this year on different occasions by Brown Recluse Spider’s. Went on vacation to Swansboro, North Carolina in August and was doing an Irish dance trying to squash the brown recluse Spider’s running at my feet. Is there a scent/ pheromone I am giving off for these eight legged monster’s to keep biting me. I’ve literally spent the summer taking Doxycycline because of all the bites. Is it me or am I just having a bad summer/ autumn?

        • Hi Brock! Sorry for the delayed response. There’s a lot to unpack here. First, sorry to hear you’re struggling with bites – I can assure you, though, that there is no evidence these spiders are in any way attracted to humans, so probably just bad luck… Admittedly, they do like our homes to live in from time to time, and maybe they just like your house??? Second, you don’t say where you’re located, but if you’re in Ohio where I am, it is HIGHLY unlikely that you have recluse in your residence. They have been found here in a few isolated locations, but we’re actually well north of their typical range. Thirdly, I am not an MD, but I question any doctor that has you on strong antibiotics for a spider bite, especially if they suspect it was caused by a recluse. The short two part answer is: 1) antibiotics are useless against venom; 2) spiders rarely transfer dangerous bacteria (that could be treated with antibiotics) when they bite. I am happy to explain further by email, feel free to contact me any time!

  3. Hi there, Dr J Andrew Roberts! I hope this message finds you and your insect friends well. I have a situation that you may or may not be able to help with.

    I live in a suburb outside of Cleveland, so I’m in northeast Ohio. I come across a fair amount of insects and spiders, and consider myself an amateur entomologist of sorts. A few days ago, I spotted a unique-looking spider on my bedroom wall and caught it. I’m not exactly certain what species this fella is, but the closest I can come to a match is a brown recluse. The body build is nearly textbook, the size is exactly right (about the size of a quarter with legs extended), the movements are accurate, and he has a fiddle sort of mark on his cephalothorax, as well as his legs appearing to lack any spines. However, he has a rather strange coloration — these kinds of spots, almost, on the abdomen, which doesn’t seem to be common at all with recluses. I also cannot tell how many eyes he has, as I do not have a good enough camera. When I look very closely with just my eyes and a light though, I’d say it looks much more like 3 pairs of 2 than any configuration of 8 peepers. I do have some pictures of him in general though, if you’d like for me to email them to you.

    The reason I’m contacting you is to see if you could help with IDing my friend, and to also ask if you or any colleagues/anyone you know would be interested in coming by to pick him up, in the case that he is a brown recluse or something else that’s pretty rare for this area of Ohio. I’m also reaching out to folks at Cleveland State University, but they don’t have a department specific to entomology or arachnology so I’m not sure they will have any input.

    Also, he’s in an old pill bottle right now, and I’m concerned because he hasn’t had anything to eat or drink since I caught him days ago. How can I help keep him alive and healthy in the meanwhile, with very limited supplies? I obviously take the lid off the bottle frequently, to give him air.

    I’d greatly appreciate any help you could offer me. Thank you so much and I hope you have a wonderful evening!

    • Hi Jackie! Thanks for reaching out, I’m happy to help if I can. I’ll need to see a good photo of the spider to tell you what it likely is, do you mind sending one to my university email? (roberts.762@osu.edu) I can’t rule it out, but it would be very unlikely to be a recluse since Cleveland is well north of their usual distribution. You didn’t happen to travel south to Missouri or Arkansas recently, did you? They do sometimes hide in luggage and take trips to other states.

  4. Hi Dr Roberts,
    I found a beautiful lemon yellow spider on my orange daisy outside & was wondering what it might be. He’s so beautiful he fascinates me….just wondering. I have a great pic of him & he’s been hanging here for several days. Can I send you a pic for identification? Pat

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