Why You Should Want Spiders in Your House


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Most people agree that spiders are scary. According to statistics, almost 75% of Westerners report at least a mild fear of spiders, and films such as Arachnophobia and The Lord of the Rings have done anything but help the creatures' reputation. Something about the eight legs, multiple eyes, and fast movements just freaks people out, prompting them to come after spiders with everything from sprays to shoes to vacuum cleaners. Despite all primal human instincts, however, the reality is that spiders are deeply misunderstood and underappreciated, and that they're far more friend than foe. Study of spiders and their habits shows that they're actually a beneficial thing to have in the house as well as the yard, and that you almost never have to be afraid of them. At all. Really.

For anyone focusing on the big fat 'almost' in that sentence, some clarification: of the over 43,000 species of spiders in the world, only a few of them (around 7-12) can be seriously harmful to the average human adult. Black widows and brown recluses are the only dangerous spiders in North America. People are rarely bitten by them, however, since both of these species tend to avoid human dwellings, only inhabit certain regions, and don't really want to bite humans in the first place.

The other spider species--i.e. the ones that would live in your house--are quite harmless. They are non-toxic to humans and are highly unlikely to bite them to begin with. As outlined in this (very reassuring) article on spider bite misidentification, research shows that most spider bites are not spider bites at all, but rather bites from bedbugs, fleas, mosquitoes, and other bugs; allergic reactions; or other types of infections. According to experts, spiders infrequently bite or otherwise attack humans. For one thing, most of them are physically incapable of piercing human skin, and moreover, they simply don't like to bite humans and would much prefer to avoid them. Spiders have poor eyesight, so one may occasionally blunder into you, but it's more afraid of you than you are of it.

Science demonstrates that spiders in the house are shy and inoffensive, but what about being actively beneficial? Not everyone agrees with me that spiders are cute or shares my "every day is Halloween" philosophy that they make great decorations, so what else do spiders have to offer? One advantage is pest control--every individual spider in the house translates to an average of 2,000 fewer other bugs in the house per year. In addition, spiders can prevent the spread of disease by eliminating the bugs that may be carrying it, such as mosquitoes, fleas, and cockroaches. The overall result of tolerating spiders is that you're much less likely to end up with bites, infestations, and awful illnesses.

The next time you see a spider running across your floor, try to keep an open mind and welcome it, even if you do so from the comfort of the countertop. Spiders have no interest in sucking your blood, only in killing the bugs that do. Granted, not all spiders are as cute, doe-eyed, and fuzzy-looking as the one in the photo...but odds are, they're just as innocuous.

cutespider.png

3 Comments

I found this article to be interesting. I knew that they killed other insects running around in the house, but I still do not want any spiders living with me. They are creepy crawly creatures in my opinion. The thing that most freaks me out about spiders is there legs. I hate feeling a tickle on my leg and looking down to find a spider crawling on me. It grosses me out. Especially if I am sleeping at night the last thing I want is a spider crawling on me. Not to mention, even if it is unlikely, the chance that a spider could crawl down my throat while asleep.

This was well-written and interesting. Honestly, whenever I see a spider I get creeped out, but I never want to kill it. I usually just try to capture it and put it outside. Although this information is new and useful to me, I don't think I could let a stray spider crawl through my house. I'd always wonder where it was.

However, it's interesting how spiders actually help humans more than hurt them. Here is an article from Penn State on specific types of spiders to look out for in Pennsylvania:

http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/commonly-encountered-pennsylvania-spiders

I'm happy the brown recluse can't survive here!!

Good topic to write about. I think spiders are pretty creepy, but you make a good point. Without spiders there would be so many more other gross insects like mosquitos, which I definitely hate more than spiders. So thanks to alll you spider bros out there keeping the flies away.

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