8 Legs and Lots of Fear: Spider 101

web on wild meadow, closeup view

Spiders have a bad reputation. So many people are afraid of them, that fear of spiders has its own name; Arachnophobia. 

Here at Environmental Pest Management, we want to show you why spiders are essential. While they might be a little scary, spiders play an indispensable role in their environments and, beyond that, they are simply fascinating.

If you have any bug questions or concerns, contact us for a free quote. Bugs belong outside your home, and we will make sure they stay away. 

Now, let’s dive into some fun spider facts!

Wasp spider in the center of its web in a spring garden in a close up view of nature with blades of green grass in the background

What are they?

Spiders are arachnids. They are a class of arthropods. Other arthropods include scorpions, mites, and ticks. 

There are about 45,000 species of spiders around the world. You can find spiders on every continent except Antarctica. Interestingly enough, scientists believe that we have discovered and classified less than half of the spider species in existence.   

Spiders can range in size from a few millimeters to almost a foot long. There are so many varied types of spiders that it is hard to believe that they are all in the same family!

Where do they live?

Because there are so many different types of spiders, it is hard to pinpoint only one kind of habitat. Spiders live in almost every climate on earth. 

There are a few types of spiders that live almost exclusively indoors. These common house spiders like to make their homes in the forgotten corners of your home. You will find them tucked away behind boxes, stowed away on shelves, or hiding in the dark spaces of your basement or attic.

Most of these house spiders are harmless and actually do you a favor by eating other bugs that may be harmful to you and your family.

What do they eat?

Spiders are carnivorous. A spider’s primary diet is composed of the insects we consider pests. Some of these include roaches, flies, mosquitoes, moths, and earwigs, to name a few. Because of this, spiders are very effective at pest control.

Not only are spiders good at keeping pest populations at bay, but they can also help reduce the spread of diseases. Many common pests can transmit harmful bacteria and viruses to humans; spiders are nature’s disease prevention. 

Spiders also eat other spiders. When two spiders meet, they usually engage in a battle royale of sorts. The victor eats the loser. Interestingly, long-legged cellar spiders, commonly known as daddy long legs, have been known to kill and eat black widow spiders.   

Black Widow Spider

Are they dangerous?

All spiders do contain some degree of venom. Most spiders though are not dangerous to humans. In fact, there are only three poisonous spiders in the US.

Black Widow 

There are three separate species of the black widow spider; the Southern black widow, the Western black widow, and the Northern black widow. 

Black widows are aggressive, and you should avoid them at all costs. If a black widow bites you, seek medical attention immediately. 

Brown Recluse

The brown recluse spider can also be known as the fiddleback or violin spider because of its distinctive markings. They like to hide in cool, dark places, like your attic, basement, or even piles of wood.

The bite from a brown recluse is very toxic. Its venom is destructive to human flesh and can cause extensive damage to the tissue which can lead to infection. If a brown recluse bites you, seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

Hobo

The hobo spider is a funnel-web spider that is found exclusively in the Pacific Northwest. It waits at the bottom of its web for its prey. 

Although the hobo spider is aggressive, it avoids humans and rarely bites. Like the brown recluse, the bite from a hobo can cause tissue damage at the site. If bitten, seek medical attention.

Close up of a spider in a web

How long do spiders live?

This question is difficult to answer as there are so many different species of spiders. Suffice it to say; most spiders can live about one to two years. Some species live longer, and the oldest known spider lived to the ripe old age of 43!

All About Webs!

All spiders are capable of making silk. Not all spiders spin webs though. Some use their silk as a means of travel. No spider can fly, but with these nifty parachutes, they are able to traverse great distances. 

When spiders spin webs, they do so for many different purposes. Spiders live on their nest, and they use them to attract and trap prey. 

Once the prey is trapped, the spider will inject the insect with a liquefying toxin, essentially allowing the spider to drink its prey from the inside out. Gruesome, yes, but utterly fascinating and essential for the ecosystem. Spiders are necessary because they kill and eat bothersome pests that destroy crops.

How do I keep them out?

  • Prevent spiders and other insects from entering your home by sealing up their entrances. Use caulk or silicone to block any place a pest may infiltrate your home; such as doorways, windows, or vents. 
  • Clear away debris from the outside of your home. Trash,  dead leaves, mulch, and plant debris can be a good place for spiders to congregate. Keep these places of refuge away from your home.
  • Store your clothing and other items in plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. Cardboard boxes attract insects, which in turn attracts spiders.
  • Store your firewood far away from your house to avoid transporting spiders and other insects indoors. Shake off and bang your wood on the ground or a tree to dislodge hidden pests. 
  • Use a pesticide around your home, especially in the typical places spiders live. We recommend an environmentally friendly option like vinegar or chili powder. Check out this great list of all-natural spider removal techniques.
  • Contact Environmental Pest Management, and we will apply an outdoor pest treatment around the foundation of your home. 

Poisonous spider indoors, dangerous venomous animal. Aracanophobia concept, care to avoid spiders

Hopefully, with some of this new information, you have a more favorable opinion of spiders. They are an essential component of their environment. Without them, the world would literally be crawling with bugs.

If you are experiencing pest problems, contact Environmental Pest Management for your free quote.

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