SPIDERS IN THE HOUSE: WHO ARE YOUR FRIENDS AND WHO ARE YOUR ENEMIES?
I admit I am afraid of spiders. That is why talking about it already gives me the creeps. It is not that they have done anything wrong to me, they are actually quite peaceful. When I see them, they rarely move unless I scare them away. What I can actually say to people like me who fear spiders is that these creepy looking creatures are actually more afraid of us than we are afraid of them. Well, maybe they are just as afraid.
Spider-Man is not real. So is his tagline “friendly neighbourhood”, because spiders are not friendly, well that is in terms of socializing, of course. They are isolated. They do not go out of their way to greet us, even if they are squatters in our homes. At best, they are indifferent, minding their own business and never wanting attention. That works just as fine for yours truly.
No matter how clean your house is, there will always be spiders in there. They have this way of getting in, for some reason. It has been said that we are all within three feet of a spider. They are just so good at hiding that we do not even know about it.; they are so unlike other pests like cockroaches, mosquitoes or flies, where they basically tell us “Hey, look at me!”
Now let us find out which ones are in your house, and are they all friendly?
Types of house spiders
Daddy long-legs – They are arachnids, but they are not venomous. But there has always been a myth that they are. They have short fangs. They are very thin and look fragile. The size of their bodies ranges from 2 mm to 10 mm. It also looks like a peanut, for lack of a better comparison. Their legs may be up to 50 mm long, hence their name. This family of arachnids may have a set of 6 or 8 eyes. They have cylindrical abdomens. Their diet consists of other spiders.
Cobweb spiders – The common house spider is also known as the American house spider. They build their webs, often described as “tangled”, near or inside human dwellings, greenhouses, and other similar areas that are secluded. They usually set up shop behind open doors, loose walls, and attic windows. They are the most common of all spiders that humans encounter in North America. These spiders are so used to humans that they are least likely to adopt a defensive behavior. Their size is 6 mm long, dull brown in color, with patterns of different shades. They feed on household pests like mosquitoes, flies, ants, and wasps. If they are big enough, they can even hunt down cockroaches, grasshoppers, and butterflies. They have poor vision, and can only see as far as three to four inches away. They feign death when attacked as a last resort. They are peaceful and will keep to themselves.
Jumping spider – Among all the anthropods, the jumping spider has the greatest vision. They use this ability for hunting, courtship, and for moving around. They are very good at jumping, usually when hunting or when under great threat. This type of spider has 4 pairs of eyes. The length of their bodies range from 1 mm to 25 mm. They have rectangular faces. They are carnivorous, but some species also eat nectar.
Wolf spider – A wolf spider’s size range from 10 mm to 35 mm. They have 8 eyes arranged in 3 rows. They have excellent vision, unlike most arachnids. They also have sensory hairs on their legs and on their bodies, which gives them an acute sense of touch. Female wolf spiders carry her eggs on her abdomen. Once these eggs hatch, she continues to carry her young for several more weeks until her offspring are large enough to be on their own.
Crab spider – They are called as such because of their physical resemblance to crabs. They do not build webs, but rather they hunt for prey; some lay in ambush. Some stay near flowers, where they attack visiting insects. Some position themselves near leaves or bark of trees. They have venoms but are harmless to humans. Their size is about 4 mm to 10 mm, with flattened bodies, flatter than other spiders at least. They walk sideways like a crab. They feed on flies, mosquitoes, moths, and other insects. If you find them inside your house, it is probably a mistake on the part of these crab spiders. They have no business being inside the house and would prefer to be outdoors.
These spiders are harmless, even if they have venoms themselves. Their venoms cannot harm to humans and we can simply brush off their bites if ever they do bite us.
However, some species of spiders can be dangerous to humans. They have poisons that can be quite painful and would need medical attention.
Spiders you will have to watch out for
This is not to cause panic. There are spiders that are poisonous to humans, but remember that these spiders are generally peaceful and do not attack us. They bite only when they are threatened. When they find their way inside the house, they always look for places where they can remain undisturbed.
There are only 2 known poisonous spiders in the United States: the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider.
The black widow spider – This is the most common venomous spider in the United States and the most venomous of all the spiders in North America. It is well known that the venom of the black widow spider is 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake’s. A female black widow has a shiny black body with a red hourglass marking on their abdomen. This marking serves as a warning to other predators that they are toxic and should not be eaten. They are about 1.5 inches long. The male black widow is about half the size of the females, lighter in color, and have either red or pink spots on their backs. Only the females bite. Even though their venom is powerful, their bite is not fatal to adult humans. For children and the elderly though, it can be fatal. The female black widows can live up to three years, while the males can live up to a year.
The diet of the black widow consists of other insects and even spiders. They use their webs to capture their prey. We can consider them as beneficial insects because they feed on mosquitoes, flies, ants, termites, and roaches. Black widows only eat liquefied food. They do not chew. They trap insects in the web, then the black widow approaches it and covers it in silk. It then bites into it to release an enzyme that would liquefy their prey.
Seek immediate medical attention if you are bitten by a black widow. Bring with you the same spider that bit you, whether dead or alive and present it to your healthcare provider. This will give the healthcare provider to make info ran idea on the type of care and treatment that you need. Wash the bite with soap and water, then apply a cold compress before you anything else.
Brown recluse spider – Aside from the black widow, the brown recluse spider is the only other venomous spider in North America and the most common of the brown spiders. The brown recluse got its name from its shy nature, and they like to hide in dark places. It is brown in color typically, but can also come in whitish to dark brown to brownish-gray in color. It is has a violin-shaped marking on its body. It has 6 eyes, instead of the usual 8 for spiders, and arranged in three pairs. The brown recluse spider and the black widow spiders have almost the same behaviors and habits. They are nocturnal or forage for food only at night. The brown recluse spiders also need to mate only once in a year to be able to produce 150 eggs in a year.
If a brown recluse bites you, seek immediate medical care. People who are bitten by the brown recluse often have small red marks on the skin, but heals immediately.
As mentioned above, these venomous spiders are generally peaceful. Still, no one wants a poisonous creature inside their home for obvious reasons. Try to handle them carefully by trapping them inside a box if you can, or some other material that can hold them, then let them loose outside your house. You do not have to kill them. If you need help, then you may call the well-reviewed exterminator in my local area of North Carolina, the Go-Forth Pest Control.
Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and businesses in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.