Why We Shouldn't Kill Spiders In Our Houses, According To Entomology


Why We Shouldn't Kill Spiders In Our Houses, According To Entomology

He comes in peace. Matt Bertone, CC BY-ND

I know it might be hard to convince some people, but let me try: Do not kill the spiders you see in your home.

That's because spiders are an essential part of nature and our indoor ecosystem.

People tend to think of their dwellings as perfectly insulated from the outside world, but several types of spiders can be found inside houses. Some are accidentally trapped, whilst others are short-term visitors. Several species even enjoy the great indoors, because there they happily live out their lives and give birth to more spiders. These arachnids are often secretive, and almost all the ones you meet are neither aggressive nor dangerous. They might be providing services such as eating pests – some even eat other spiders.

A visual survey of 50 North Carolina houses demonstrated which arthropods live under our roofs. Each house researchers visited was home to spiders. Cobweb spiders and cellar spiders were the most common species they encountered.

Though they are generalist predators and eat anything, they can catch, spiders normally capture nuisance pests or even disease-carrying insects – for instance, mosquitoes. There’s also a species of jumping spider which prefers to eat blood-filled mosquitoes in African houses. Therefore, killing a spider doesn’t merely cost the arachnid its life, but it might take a significant predator out of your house. Both build webs where spiders lie in wait for prey to get caught. Sometimes, cellar spiders leave their webs to hunt other arachnoids on their turf, mimicking prey in order to catch their cousins for dinner.

Why We Shouldn't Kill Spiders In Our Houses, According To Entomology

A cobweb spider dispatches some prey which got snagged in its web. Matt Bertone, CC BY-ND

It is natural to fear spiders. They've got lots of legs, and most of them are venomous – although the majority of species have venom that is too weak to cause issues in humans in case their fangs can pierce our skin at all. Entomologists themselves can even fall prey to arachnophobia.

Spiders aren't out to get you and prefer to avoid humans; we're much more dangerous to them than vice versa. Bites from spiders are also extremely rare. Though there are several medically essential species such as widow spiders and recluses, their bites are also uncommon and rarely cause any serious issues.

If you really can’t stand that spider in your house, rather than smashing it, try to capture it instead and release it outside. The arachnoid will find somewhere else to go, and then both parties will be happier with the outcome.

However, if you can stomach it, it’s OK to have spiders in your home. It is normal. And frankly, even if you can't spot them, they’ll still be there. Therefore, consider a live-and-let-live approach when you encounter the next spider.

An arachnologist’s story of growing up horrified of spiders but finally becoming fascinated by them.

Matt Bertone, Extension Associate in Entomology, North Carolina State University

References: The Conversation, Truth Theory



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Thinking Humanity: Why We Shouldn't Kill Spiders In Our Houses, According To Entomology
Why We Shouldn't Kill Spiders In Our Houses, According To Entomology
I know it might be hard to convince some people, but let me try: Do not kill the spiders you see in your home.
Thinking Humanity
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