10 Fascinating Facts About House Spiders

With October 31 coming right up, you’ve probably already seen bats, black cats, and spiders decorating stores and houses. But what is it about spiders that makes people fear them? There’s really a lot to love about these arachnids. Remember how Charlotte saves Wilbur the pig in “Charlotte’s Web”? Check out this list of myths and truths about house spiders.

1.  First things first. Spiders are not insects. Spiders have eight legs, while insects have six. Spiders are found in the class Arachnida while insects belong to the class Insecta. Spiders also don’t have antenna like insects and, unlike some insects, they never have wings. Spiders have eight simple eyes, unlike insects, which have only two more complex eyes. 

2. House spiders are your friends. Not only do they not have six legs, like those roaches and ants, they also don’t want to snack on your food like those insects do. In fact, they actually want to kill and eat the insects that are attracted to our food, making life more pleasant for us. They are on our side!

3. Here’s how they trap those insects: the American House Spider has long, skinny legs and comb-like hairs on the back tarsi (kind of the equivalent of ankles). Born to spin, this spider creates a web made from strands of sticky silk; when small insects fly or crawl into the web, the spider throws more silk over its prey to wrap it, before injecting it with venom. But that venom is just for the insects.

Giant-House-Spider

Photo Credit: “Hausspinne Tegenaria atrica” by Darkone – Fotograf: Darkone, 7. September 2004. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons

4. The Giant House Spider is a different species, originally a native of Europe, but brought to southern British Columbia in the early 1900s. Since then, it has spread to other Canadian provinces and to the U.S. states of Washington and Oregon. Adult males can have up to a 4-inch leg span, with female leg spans up to 2 inches. And yes, they do bite, with the pain something akin to a bee sting.

5. The “spider bite” you got while sleeping probably wasn’t an actual spider bite. Rod Crawford is curator of arachnids at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, and runs a Spider Myth website. He explains on his website that one of the strangest spider misconceptions is that people tend to attribute unknown bites to spiders. ”Skin bumps and sores noticed in the morning are generally caused by non-bite disease conditions,” he says.

6. Spiders found in bathtubs have not come up through the drains. House spiders live in houses all the time, and wouldn’t be able to come through drains, which nowadays have a sediment trap filled with liquid that spiders are unable to get through. The spider you find in your sink is thirsty for a few drops of water, but then finds it hard to get out again.

7. You might kill a spider by putting it outside, however carefully you get it into a container, then gently put it in your backyard. “You can’t put something ‘back’ outside that was never outside in the first place,” writes Crawford. “Although some house spider species can survive outdoors, most don’t do well there, and some (which are native to other climates) will perish rather quickly when removed from the protective indoor habitat. You’re not doing them a favor.”

barn-funnel-weaver

Photo Credit: “Spider-2007-10-09″ by Sanchom – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spider-2007-10-09.png#/media/File:Spider-2007-10-09.png

8.  Other spider species belong outdoors, but may wander into your home by mistake. These spiders typically live in yards and gardens around residences, but accidentally enter buildings while searching for something to eat, a mate, or maybe a place to lay their eggs. One of these is the European House Spider, with relatives known as the Hobo Spider, and the Barn Funnel Weaver (seen above). All of these spiders build funnel webs in dark, moist areas like woodpiles, or under rocks.

9. House Spiders do not pose a danger for kids and pets. As noted above, these spiders do have venom, but they use it to prey on insects. The extremely rare instances of people sustaining bites from American House Spiders have happened when humans grabbed and squeezed those arachnids. In fact, in the U.S. there are very few species of spiders that have enough venom to cause harm to people, dogs or cats.

10. House Spiders do not chase humans. We are just simply too big for them to view as prey, and most spider’s eyes do not perceive fine details. Their eyes, some of which are on the back of the head, mostly just see large movements or light changes. There are a few exceptions, but most spiders cannot see beyond a distance of several inches. 

Happy Halloween!

 

68 comments

Kelly S
Past Member 4 months ago

i'm scared of them

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Kelly S
Past Member 4 months ago

I have tons in my place and it's freaking me out!

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Melania Padilla
Melania P2 years ago

They help you keep your house clean, don't kill them! I love them

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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.2 years ago

The writer understand better the mind of people what they want to learn through their writing therefore this article is outstanding. Thanks!!!
bed bug bites

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Angela K.
Angela K2 years ago

Thank you

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

As long as they are up in the corners, they are fine. But if they come down where I live, they die. I know they catch and eat other bugs.

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Dianne D.
Dianne D2 years ago

not a fan of spiders, but found a huge one in my house and caught it in a container and put it outside. I don't think it was suppose to be an indoor spider.

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Julia Cabrera-Woscek

I like spiders... from afar.

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luna starr
luna s2 years ago

if they do not bother me,i do not bother them

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