FUN FACT#1: ARE THEY INSECTS?
Unlike our most popular belief, spiders are not insects, but they belong to a class of invertebrates known as “Arachnids”. They differ from insects in many ways such as having two parts in their bodies, having eight legs, unlike insects who have six, having six to eight eyes, unlike insects which have two, and having spinnerets on their bodies that are responsible for producing silk and thus helping them build their intricate yet strong webs. Picture gallery.
FUN FACT#2: HOW MANY OF THESE LITTLE CREATURES ARE THERE AND NEVER SEEN?
According to a study carried out in Sussex, there are over 5.5 million spider species per hectare living in the grass fields and we do not even know they exist! These spiders remain in their shelter and rarely leave their boundaries.
FUN FACT#3: SPIDERS IN YOUR HOMES? HOW MANY?
You will be thrilled to know that there are plenty of these little creatures living somewhere in your house comfortably without you even knowing. The most common types found in our homes are “daddy-long-legs spider” who loves your cupboards and rooms. A typical home or apartment have many unseen.
FUN FACT#4: HOW MANY EYES DO THEY HAVE?
It is not always true that spiders have eight eyes. Most of them have but there are also some species of spiders who have six eyes and even some with fewer than six. However, it is interesting to know that their eyes always come in even numbers. You will never find an odd one!
FUN FACT#5: ARE CAPABLE OF MAKING SILK?
Oh yes, they do! Spiders are known as one of the most hardworking creatures on earth as they are always working on something. You will never find them idle like some human beings. Making silk is one of their favorite past time hobbies.
You will learn more about how they make silk later in this article.
FUN FACT#6: DO ALL OF THEM LIVE IN WEBS?
Not at all! Only 17 out of 38 families of spiders invest their energies into building webs to capture their prey easily. Others use different tactics to hunt, as mentioned later in the article.
Keep on reading as it gets more interesting with each section.
FUN FACT#7: DO THEY EAT THEIR WEB? WHY?
Yes! You will find some strange species of these creatures involved in eating their webs. But you will be amazed to know why they do it!
Spiders are very clever beings. They do not like abandoning their webs by eating them and then invest their time and energies into building a new one. That would be quite wasteful, isn’t it?
That is why they make use of the phenomenon “Recycling”. They ingest the silk by eating their web. As silk is an amino acid so they dismantle their old webs by using these amino acids and repairing the damaged webs. That is very clever and wise of them! There is also an American species of spiders that used the old silk to wrap its egg sac and protect it from danger.
However, some species simply discard their old webs, but no worries, there are always some lazy beings in every species living on earth, even humans!
Tarantula Spiders are the largest known species of spiders in the world. They are woolly and hairy and can grow as big as a human hand. They can live up to 30 years.
Many people love to keep them as pets. The safest species of these spiders which you can keep as pets is known as Mexican Red Knee. It has red bands on its body.
Why this spider can be kept as a pet is because of its shy, friendly and quiet nature. It is not aggressive at all, does not like attacking even if you touch it, and hardly ever bites the owner.
Here come the most popular species of spider you must have heard a lot about! The Black Widow can be identified by its jet-black body and the presence of a red hourglass pattern under its abdomen. Black widow is known as the most dangerous and dreadful species of spider that even kills her male counterpart. The venom of this species is 15 times stronger than that of a venomous rattlesnake. Elderly people and children can die from the bite of a Black Widow. It also causes paralysis and difficulty in breathing.
The most favorite feed of a Black Widow is:
- Cockroaches and any other bugs that get trapped in its web
ARE THEY IMPORTANT?
The question is not about if they are important but about WHY are they important and in what ways are they serving us?
You can ask the importance of spiders even from a farmer working in the fields or the gardener working in your backyard. They will tell how helpful these little things are in preventing pests from destroying the plants and precious crops.
You can also ask the importance of spiders from a doctor or scientist or even from an engineer. They will tell you all the amazing ways spiders are working towards humanity.
However, if you ask an average homeowner about the importance of spiders, you will probably return disappointed as they will only argue on the fact that spiders do not belong anywhere inside their houses because they are creepy, gross, and scary!
Well! That is the mindset we all need to change about spiders!
Being scared of spiders is indeed normal. In some cases, it also makes sense because we hear about dangerous spiders and their attacks as well but that is exactly the perception we need to change.
Why do they attack? This is the question that can lead us to develop better views about spiders. You will find the answers inside this article but for now, know that just because you do not like them inside your homes does not mean that spiders are harmful or do not serve any important purpose on this earth.
WHY DO THEY ATTACK?
Spiders do not attack humans. What we perceive as an “attack” is their way of “defending” themselves. But you still still want them out of your tent.
Spiders have the nature of avoiding contact with people. If they ever, by chance perceive a contact as a danger to their lives, then they either run away or try to defend themselves as a reflexive response. We, human beings, consider it as attack and kill them. That is why it is important to understand that spiders do not have the nature of attacking or harming humans.
Even in instances where humans are bitten by spiders, they usually survived. There are no serious consequences. However, the best way is to not interact with them, play with them or touch them. Keeping them outside is perhaps the only way to keep both spiders and human beings happy and healthy.
WHAT DO THEY FEED ON AND DO THEY HAVE A PREDATORY NATURE?
Spider diet consists of up to 880 million tons of bugs, pests, and insects each year. Some species of spiders feed on small animals as well. You will be astonished to know that some spiders even prey on other spiders. Categorically, there are two types of spiders:
The general population of spiders is carnivorous, and they have a predatory nature like any other animal that hunts and preys on its victim. They are fond of eating meat and the flesh of other fellow animals and insects. Very few of them like Baheera kiplingi belong to the vegetarian class and mostly feed on plants and their products such as leaves plant sap and nectar.
COCKROACHES AS SPIDER FOOD:
Spiders are lovers of this food and thus, helps us get rid of this disgusting pest. However, there are only a few larger species such as the Huntsman spider and Giant crab spider who prey on cockroaches and other large insects like:
These spiders do not use their web to capture the prey. Rather, they hunt them and uses their fangs to inject venom into their bodies. After the prey is immobilized, the spider takes its prey to a safe place such as underneath rocks and then consumes it.
ANTS AS SPIDER FOOD:
Some of the spider types such as Zodarium rubidium or ant spider feed on ants. This class of spiders is known as “specialists”. Other species of spiders that prey on all insects and bugs are known as “generalist” spiders. However, “specialists” only prey on all kinds of ants.
Ants are known as difficult prey as they mostly live and move in colonies and bunches and have an aggressive nature. They have quite a defensive nature and they even have an army of ants to defend their colonies. That is why ants give a pretty hard time to spiders.
The specialist spiders have a unique ability by nature that they look like ants. The Myrmarachne Bakeri is one of those species that look like an ant.
WASPS AS SPIDER FOOD:
Spiders also feed on wasps and bees. Among them are the Yellow Garden Spider and Black and Yellow Garden Spider that preys on wasps. These are the most common spider types you will find in your garden. These spiders are big having a yellow and black pattern on their back.
Wasp-eating spiders stay on their webs for a long time waiting for their prey. You can identify these spiders by the zig-zag pattern of their webs.
SMALL SPIDERS AS SPIDER FOOD:
Portia does is a spider species that are considered the most intelligent hunter as it hunts other spiders. This species can adapt to the surrounding situations and modify its mode of ambush.
You can identify this spider by the presence of little plant debris on its body.
FLEAS/MOSQUITOES AND FLIES AS SPIDER FOOD:
The common web prey a spider feeds on are:
Fleas are one of the easiest as they can easily be trapped in the webs. They are the staple diet for spiders. The same goes for houseflies and mosquitoes.
SLUGS AS SPIDER FOOD:
The Black Tunnel Web Spider preys on slugs and snails. It has a habit of attacking its prey from a web-hole and then dragging it inside the hole to immobilize and consume it.
WOODLICE AS SPIDER FOOD:
Woodlice is not so favorite or frequent food for spiders, but some species do prey on it. Maybe because they taste awful, but who knows!
The Dysdera crocata or woodhouse is the species that love to feed on woodlice.
BEES AS SPIDER FOOD:
There are many bee-eating spider species but the most known is Crab spiders. These spiders do not spin webs and do not catch their prey through webs. It stays hidden for days inside the plants and flowers. It also can camouflage itself and then waiting for its prey to arrive. As soon as a bee approaches a flower, this spider grabs it and injects the poison into its body.
These spiders are also known as ambush predators.
MOTHS AS SPIDER FOOD:
Spiders can prey on even bigger moths. These species of spiders are known as jumping spiders. The most common species is known as Phidippus and they are fond of eating moths.
These spiders do not trap their prey through webs. They are clever hunters who can jump from a great distance to catch moths. Moreover, they also have amazing eyesight which helps them in their hunt.
HOW DO THEY EAT?
People often remain confused about the fact that whether spiders have a mouth or not? Well, they do not have a mouth as humans or other insects and animals. However, they do have something that resembles a straw. This straw helps them suck food. Spiders do not have any well-defined set of teeth, but they have fangs. These fangs do the same thing as teeth and help them to chew on their food and crush it. So, again, how do they eat the solids?
A spider will do one of the following things after catching its prey:
- It will chop down the food into small bits using the fangs. The process takes only a few seconds.
- It will inject digestive juices into the food and then consume it.
Some of the spiders do both things to consume their food as they come in variety of size and weights.
SPIDERS AS PETS:
Tarantula species is the best one when it comes to keeping spiders as pets. Given below are the spiders from this species you can keep:
- Mexican Red-Knee
- Chilean Rose
- Costa Rican Zebra
- Mexican Redleg
- Honduran Curly Hair
- Pink Zebra Beauty
- Pink Tea
- Brazilian Black
- Mexican Red Rump
- Desert Blonde
These spiders are not aggressive and their venom is also very mild and harmless unless someone is allergic to it.
SPIDERS AS THE PRODUCERS OF SILK:
Spiders are excellent producers of silk. As mentioned before, making silk is one of the most favorite hobbies of these creatures. Spiders are gifted by nature as they have silk glands in their abdomens that contain watery gel known as protein chains. The production of silk begins from these silk glands. This silk is funneled in a tapering tube slowly and gradually but constantly as these glands work. This tube keeps on narrowing down and coating are released on this mixture. These coatings are responsible for creating water resistance and stickiness to this mixture that is one of the properties of silk. After the coatings are applied to the mixture, it further moves down and then emerges through little spots known as spigots that are present on the spider’s spinnerets. You can think of these spigots as control devices that regulate the flow of liquid/mixture.
This flowy liquid, with sticky property, now in the true form of gel is solidified when it is stretched. That is why, rather than squeezing out, it is being pulled out by small motor-like valves that are present in each spigot.
Thus, the silk glands produce a huge range of fibers, each having different properties and are used for various tasks such as web support, egg case, and dragline.
It would not be wrong to say that spiders are little factories of silk production, working in a well-defined way without failure and in a perfect manner. Seems like we need to learn some tricks from these little beings!
REASONS WHY SPIDERS ARE USEFUL FOR HUMANITY:
The poor creatures who are doing a lot for humanity are often misunderstood by the same humans. They have a bad reputation and many of us consider them terrifying and creepy.
Even if you hate spiders or are phobic, we still want you to grant them the respect they deserve. Unless we attack them first, spiders do not mean us any harm.
Given below are some reasons to change your mind and let you know how spiders are useful for humanity:
- Spider venom might be giving you the strength to plan for your future generation. Venom from a specific species of spiders is used to treat erectile dysfunction as well as in contraceptive pills.
- Parachutes are being designed from their silk. Moreover, bulletproof vests are also stronger because they contain spider silk.
- They are good for our environment in many ways. It is even claimed by Norman Platnick from the American Museum of National History that without a spider, we are at risk of famine.
- Spiders are traditional symbols of luck in Chinese culture.
- They help you keep your house free of roaches, fleas, flies, moths, bed bugs, and mosquitoes. They also help in controlling the diseases spread by various pests.
WHY ARE SPIDERS OFTEN ASSOCIATED WITH CREEPY THINGS LIKE HALLOWEEN?
WHAT IS ARACHNOPHOBIA AND HOW TO GET RID OF IT?
You will be astonished to know that in dramatic efforts to kill or get rid of a little spider, many people have even ended up crashing their cards and even setting their houses on fire. These are real-life events and, in some scenarios, even the police had to show up! Strange isn’t it? What has happened to us as human beings?! We need more awareness and learn to be welcoming towards other creatures as well, that are sharing this earth with us.
This is where the term “Arachnophobia” comes from! It is exactly for those people who are trapped in this legitimate condition of getting scared from spiders and crashing their cars. This pathological fear of spiders is present in many of us and that is why we need to learn more about our eight-legged friends to get rid of this unnecessary condition.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS AND Facts TO HELP ANYONE GET RID OF ARACHNOPHOBIA:
Let’s get started!
TRUST IT WHEN WE SAY THAT SPIDERS DOESN’T KILL ANYONE, HOWEVER, ACCIDENTS MAY HAPPEN, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, EVEN WITH AN INNOCENT FISH
There are only a few species of spiders that contain venom, poisonous enough to take the life of a human being. These species are rarely found near human residences.
Even in Australia, which is known for the scariest spider species, the last fatal spider bite occurred was back in 1979, that is 40 years ago. Among those species, “Mouse spiders” and “Sydney Funnel-web spiders” are included.
However, the spiders generally living in your houses are nothing to be afraid of and are as harmless as you pet fish, minding their own business.
SPIDERS ARE SAVING US SINCE DECADES FROM THE DEADLIEST ANIMALS
By now, you already know what spiders feed on. They like eating insects that harmful to us such as mosquitoes and flies. They are playing a major role in controlling the populations of these insects which would otherwise invade the earth by eating out crops, spreading diseases everywhere, and exposing us to life-threatening viruses. Mosquito-borne diseases and viruses are much lethal than any other animal worldwide and kill thousands of humans every year. Dengue virus also comes from mosquitoes and is responsible for taking too many lives every year.
Spider webs are also a blessing to us as they keep on trapping these little but harmful insects all day long.
Thanks to spiders for keeping these dangers at bay for us and yet we are so afraid of them. There is no reason why we should not love them.
THEY ARE PROVIDING AMAZING SILK
Spider silk is known as the strongest as well as the most resistant and flexible natural biomaterial. If we go back to the early time, the spider’s web had been seen to be extensively used in the production of bandages. Their silk is so strong that it is even used to catch birds and bats.
YES, THEY DO THEY VENOM BUT IT CAN SAVE OUR LIFE
If you are afraid of venomous spiders that know that their venom is involved in saving our lives. The venom is used in developing non-addictive painkillers. Their venom is effective in that it immobilizes the prey rapidly by numbing its nervous system. This property of spider venom acts as a painkiller in human beings.
One of the venomous species of spiders is found at Fraser Island. The venom of this spider contains molecules that work by slowing down the effects of stroke on the human brain. It is even used by paramedics to protect the patient of brain stroke on their way to the hospital.
The venom of the Funnel-web spider is also used in the production of pesticides. The unique aspect is that this pesticide does not have any adverse effect on mammals and birds but only on harmful insects and mosquitoes. So, it can be used in homes safely.
THEY WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE
Spiders are extremely antisocial. If you think you do not like them, then you must also know that they do not like you either. They like to stay away from humans and need to be left alone. So, if you complain that they happen across you too often in your home or they tried to harm you, then you must have done something to provoke them or made them defend themselves. They do not like to be in touch otherwise and always like to run away.
Spiders also have this nature of non-aggressiveness and that is why they always prefer to hide away and camouflage themselves. It seems like they do not even want you to see them.
There is a species of spiders known as “Dolophones” that can flatten themselves on the surfaces of around the branches of trees so that they can remain hidden all day long. They only come out at night when they need to prey, feed or build their webs.
Other species hide by camouflaging themselves to look like bird-droppings. That is why they are also called “Bird-dropping spiders”.
Many other species, including “Trapdoor spiders” also have the habit of hiding themselves in the burrows and like to cover themselves in dirt and litter to stay away from any outside interactions, including humans.
WE SIMPLY NEED THEM TO SURVIVE
Yes, we, human beings do need these little creatures to survive. Are these little animals without spines capable of helping us? They do! They are vital to the normal functioning of our mother nature and ecosystems and without them, we could not survive.
STILL DON’T WANT THEM AROUND? HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO MAKE YOUR HOME SPIDER-FREE WITHOUT HARMING ANYONE (WE MEAN, THE SPIDERS)
“We want them out of our house”, “Our kids fear them”, “I want to get rid of spiders in my bathroom” are perhaps the most common requests by the homeowners who see them as threats. However, “killing” them is not the right way and should not be allowed as well. There should be some well-adopted and safe ways to lure them out of the house. Finding an effective as well as safe method is crucial for keeping the spiders safe.
If you are thinking about using pest control, then that is also not the safe option to remove them. It is not only lethal for spiders but also harmful for kids and pets or elderly people living in the house.
So, given here are a few steps that you can take to get rid of spiders by keeping them unharmed and making your homes comfortable for you naturally:
- First things first, you need to keep your house clean and fresh if you want to keep spiders or any other insects at bay. You need to be remained free of debris and clutter as they can become a comfortable habitat for many invertebrates and insects.
- Spiders love to hide in dark and dusky places such as basements, undisturbed areas like bookshelves, inside or behind closed and rarely used cupboards, and other areas that usually remain shut. Thus, it is important to keep your house airy and always keep the ventilation on. It will not only keep spiders away but will also save your house from fungus and termites.
- A pest-free home means a spider-free home as well. You have learned before that spiders feed on insects and pests are their favorite food to prey on. When there are pests in your home, they will automatically attract spiders. Therefore, it is important to keep your homes pest-free by either using pesticides or through regular cleaning. Spiders do not have long-lasting energy reserves and they constantly need to feed themselves. They will never live anywhere where there is a lack of food supply.
- Do not forget to leave any window screens unrepaired. The same goes for your doors and any other places having small gaps or openings. These gaps can be used by spiders and any other creatures to crawl inside in search of food or warmth.
- A spider repellent might also help you but make sure it does not kill the creature.
- Learning about the habitat of spiders will also help you in a better understanding of what they like and how do they get inside your home as well as better ways to keep them at bay.
HOW AND WHY DO SPIDERS MANAGE TO ENTER YOUR HOMES AND WHAT TYPE OF HABITAT DO THEY PREFER?
There are many ways spiders can enter your homes. Common spiders, also known as house spiders, love to spend their lives indoors. They like dark and hidden places that remain undisturbed throughout the day. You might find them underneath your basement stairs or inside that old toolbox, you have not used for ages. Some may also sweep into your house if a window is left open.
They can also make way through dryer vents and plumbing lines. That is why you often find them on your walls.
Another way they may enter your house is by “ballooning”. Ballooning is a process of spinning one or more pieces of silk without attaching them to any surface. These pieces of silk are taken by the wind like a balloon which takes the spider away. Remember! Spiders cannot fly, they do not have wings. However, through ballooning, they can travel large distances through the wind.
Often, spiders may also be moved into your house along with a shipment of fruit. Although the chances are rare, it is important to inspect and wash the fruits carefully before you consume them.
Let’s talk about their habitat and what are their most beloved places to live? Learning about their ideal habitat can help you in managing their entry inside your homes.
As there are thousands of species of spiders on planet earth, so habitat of each of these species prefers different habitats and living conditions. Some spiders love to stay outside while others are indoor spiders. However, regardless of their types, species, and where they live, their basic needs of life remain the same as any other creature: food, shelter, and water.
The most common types, House spiders love undisturbed and quiet places with food, water, or moisture always available. For spiders, food means insects, pests, or bugs. Although they do not require water much for existence, moisture plays an important role in their lives as it attracts other insects and bugs. House spiders also love cluttered areas as they act like hiding spots. That is why, they prefer wooded areas, garages, and storage spaces.
A house spider can usually live up to 2-3 years if it isn’t found by the residents of the house.
HOW TO IDENTIFY COMMON HOUSE SPIDERS?
The common types of house spiders you will encounter in your house include Black House Spider, Yellow Sac Spider, Hobo Spider, American House Spider, Barn Weaver, Brown House Spider, and Yellow Sac Spider.
It is beneficial to learn about common house spiders to be aware of the harmful and harmless species.
HERE ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF HOUSE SPIDERS:
- Common Cellar Spider, also known as Daddy Long Legs
- Hobo Spider, known as Aggressive House Spider
- Brown House Spider, also called Cupboard Spider.
- Black House Spider, also known as Grey House Spider
- Yellow Sac Spider
- Domestic House Spider is also known as Barn Weaver.
- Common House Spider, also known as American House Spider
There are many other types of spiders as well, living in the households. In the United States, every three out of five households have infestations. However, for most instances, these house spiders are completely harmless unless provoked. Even if someone is bitten by one of these household species, the venom is not dangerous enough to cause any serious or permanent harm.
Let us go through these household spider types one by one so you can identify them easily based on their unique qualities.
BROWN HOUSE SPIDER
Brown House Spider is also known as cupboard spider and it is quite common worldwide. A bite from one of these spiders can be quite painful as it can cause blistering, muscle pain, and fever that can last up to several days depending upon the age and immunity of the person. However, it is not life-threatening and does not require any professional treatment.
These spiders rely on vibrations as their eyesight is not that strong and they defend themselves based on those vibrations. That is why, it is always better to leave them alone and even if encountered, it is better to stay away from them. It is also recommended not to panic if stepped on one of these spiders to keep any sort of vibrations at a minimum.
The appearance of Brown House Spiders varies from male to female. A male spider is quite different in appearance from its female counterpart. A female spider of this species has a round body, and it is dark in color. That is why it is often mistaken for Black Window Spider. The length of an average female brown house spider is up to 10 mm and it is quite thinner than the male spider.
Due to a similar appearance, Hobo Spider is often mistaken for Brown Recluse Spiders which can very aggressive and dangerous. Hobo spiders are not venomous at all and they mostly enter the households only when they want to save themselves from other spiders preying on them. Thus, it is only a defensive action and you should not be worried about them.
Hobo spiders are light brown and their size ranges anywhere from 11-14 mm in length.
COMMON HOUSE SPIDER
Common House Spider or American Spider is also widely present all over the world. It is the most common type of spiders you will find in your homes. These spiders are the most innocent of all and there is no potential threat to humans from them. Even if your hand approaches them, these spiders will still be fine and will not try to attack you or defend themselves.
You can find these spiders under the windowsills and along with the corners of walls. These spiders have a dull brown color, and they range up to 6-7 mm in length. They can be also kept as pet spiders.
COMMON CELLAR SPIDER
Known as Daddy Long Legs, a Common Cellar Spider is another widely present species of spiders in the world. These spiders are always looking for hot places to hide as they cannot survive in cold climates. Even in the winters, if your house is colder, they might even decide to leave your house.
There is a myth about the venom of these spiders that it is the most dangerous venom in the world and can kill a human being in seconds. However, this myth is false and has not been proved by any evidence. The bite of this spider can cause mild to moderate burning, but its venom is harmless to animals and humans.
You can identify these spiders by their oval-shaped and small bodies with their legs ranging up to 4 inches in length.
DO YOU CARE ABOUT SPIDERS? HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD DO THEN!
So, if you think that you care about spiders and have changed your mind after going through this little piece of information we just provided, then go on and spread the word to your family and friends, and especially to those who have a fear of spiders. Let everyone know that spiders are innocent and should be cared for. They want to mind their own business and we should respect their decision. They want to remain hidden in our cupboards for a reason and we should let them.
It is also our responsibility to teach our next generation that although certain species of spiders require caution and we should be at a safe distance from them, but we are not allowed to kill them at any cost. We need to expose our children to friendly books and movies that encourage a positive interest in their minds about these and other invertebrates. Even if your kid has an irrational fear of spiders, exposing them to positivity can help them overcome their fears.