Should I Kill Spiders?
Seeing a spider can send some people into a frenzy.
Though most of the spiders you see on a daily basis in the United States are not very dangerous to humans, the idea of all spiders being dangerous persists.
But spiders, both inside and out are extremely beneficial to the environment.
They provide natural pest control and can help insure nature stays in balance.
Learn about these amazing creatures and why you should be their advocate and not their enemy.
Should I Kill Spiders I See Outside?
The short answer is no.
Spiders belong outside and are an important part of the delicate balance of nature both as a predator and prey.
Once, my sister had a pest control company ring her doorbell and explain that they were offering exterminating services in the neighborhood because of spider problems.
My sister indicated that she had not seen any spiders in her house and was not experiencing any issues.
The pest control technician indicated that he had seen spiders on her property. When she asked "where" he pointed out into the yard and under the porch.
"But isn't that where they belong?" she asked.
The technician didn't have an answer and walked away.
Spiders in Nature
Spiders are a part of a natural food chain.
According to the University of Florida, they are essential for natural pest population control and eat numerous insects that cause harm to humans, including mosquitoes, which carry diseases.
Spiders are also important as food sources for birds and other small mammals.
Unless the spider is in the way of a natural path for humans, all attempts should be made to leave a found spider web alone and allow the spider to do its part for the environment.
Interestingly, there are some species of spiders that have become so well-adapted to living peacefully with humans that they can no longer survive well outside.
According to the University of Florida, many of these spend most of their lives living indoors and people are unaware.
You know those spider webs that seem to appear with no trace of the spider? It is evidence that some form of house spider has made a home in your house.
But are spiders really a danger when they are in the house?
Most Spiders in the United States Not Dangerous To Humans
Research shows that most spiders can't even pierce human skin, let alone inflict any kind of major damage.
You are unlikely to see or even interact with a spider either in or out of your house.
The two most dangerous spiders are the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse.
However, both spiders are shy, do not actively seek to engage with human targets (remember how much bigger you are than them) and can be avoided if you are careful.
Avoiding Black Widows and Brown Recluse Spiders
- Black Widows
Black Widow spiders are most likely found outdoors in an area that offers some protection-- under discarded materials, sandbox lids, benches or even rock formations.
They build very strong webs and wait, out of sight, for their prey.
(According to the University of Florida, Black Widows' webs are so strong they were used to form the crosshairs on gunsights during World War II.)
Not putting your hand into this area and wearing thick work gloves if you need to move old wood or building materials will keep you safe from bites.
- Brown Recluse
The Brown Recluse most likely will hide in the same places a Black Widow hides.
However, the Recluse can also hide in shoes, clothing or bedding.
The best bet is to examine these items, especially if they have been sitting around for awhile, before attempting to put them on.
Interestingly, the Brown Recluse has only three pairs of eyes instead of the usual four.
The Recluse is recognizable because of a violin shape on its head.
If the spider is in the house, it does need to be removed because of the risk to humans.
There are glue traps you can use or you can kill the spider directly if it is found.
If you are bitten by a brown recluse or black widow, kill the spider and bring it with you to the emergency room for identification and treatment.
Fun With Spiders
You may have seen some very large spiders around the outside of your home or in your garden.
These spiders are usually some variation of yellow and black.
They make large, neat webs and can be quite startling because of their size.
Most likely this spider is a Golden Silk Orb-Weaver (pictured below).
Their webs are very strong and have even been used to make clothing.
They are also very fun to feed and watch.
Feeding a Golden Silk-Orb Weaver
These large spiders are harmless to humans but because of their large size they provide great pest control for your home and garden.
The larger spiders can even eat roaches and grasshoppers.
To encourage the spider, you can also catch and feed her bugs yourself.
- Simply find and catch a nuisance bug such as a Japanese Beetle.
- Get directly in front of the web.
- Gently toss the bug into the web (on the lower part, where the spider is facing is best if the web is clean with no tears).
- Watch as the spider comes down, attacks the bug and then neatly wraps it up into a pouch made of its silky web.
- If the spider is hungry, she will likely eat the bug right then by poking into it with her fangs and sucking the insides out.
- If not she has a fresh wrapped bug saved for later.
- The spider will sometimes dislodge the bug and take it with her to the center of the web or she may leave it wrapped in the spot.
- Later you can find the hollowed out and discarded carcass below the web.
- This a great way part of nature for kids to watch and learn about empathy and respect for all living creatures.
Golden Orb Spider Wrapping Up A Wasp
The next time you see a spider or a spider web, your first reaction shouldn't be to kill the spider and remove the web.
Consider whether the spider can do some good in its location.
Spiders are signs of a healthy and balanced environment.
They deserve our protection for the work they do.
Humans and spiders can coexist peacefully.