4 Reasons Spiders Make Good Housemates

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 16, 2015. Enjoy!

When you say the word “spider,” people often conjure images from their nightmares. Hairy, long-legged monsters crawling and creeping across our unsuspecting flesh. In fact, spiders top our list of fears, ranking higher than losing our jobs.

But let’s be realistic: Spiders want nothing to do with you. And aside from a small percentage, most are completely harmless. They want to hunt, eat and mind their own business.

So let’s look at the reasons you need to leave that poor arachnid alone.

1. Spiders make your home a healthier place

spider and web

Barn spider  |   Photo Credit: michael podger/Unsplash

You know what’s a lot more dangerous than most spiders? Cockroaches, mosquitoes, flies and fleas. And what do spiders eat? Cockroaches, mosquitoes, flies and fleas.

According to the WHO, cockroaches can spread everything from diarrhea to typhoid fever. Mosquitoes, depending on where you live, can spread all sorts of disease, including malaria, West Nile Virus, chikungunya and dengue fever.

A spider in the corner of your home is less of a threat than any of the aforementioned diseases. So the next time you see a creepy crawler making its way across your wall or sitting on a web, just let it be. Spiders are doing you a huge favor, and it wouldn’t kill you to show a little gratitude.

2. They control the spread of more dangerous spiders

cellar spider

Longbodied cellar spider  |  Photo Credit: Magnus Hagdorn/Flickr

“But there are dangerous spiders! What about the black widows and brown recluses?” the populace shouts.

Yes, of course there are dangerous spiders out there, but the risk depends on your location. It’s important that you become acquainted with your local spider habitat and learn to tell the difference between the dangerous and the benign.

Certain harmless-to-human spiders, such as the longbodied cellar spider, can help control these more dangerous species. Longbodied cellar spiders tend to form large, intricate webs and live in close-knit groups which can appear quite frightening to an arachnophobe. However, they can actually help control both brown recluses and black widows, killing these more dangerous spiders when they stray into their territory.

That means your home and garden is just a little bit safer from having some spiders around.

3. They help organic farms and crops flourish

golden garden spider

Golden garden spider  |   Photo Credit: Aaron Vowels/Flickr

Most of us prefer our food stay free of harmful pesticides. Well, the upswing to that means that spiders are going to have to crawl all over your food. I know, perhaps not pleasant to consider, but let’s give credit where credit is due.

Spiders keep pests away and allow everything from cotton to zucchini to be grown without these dangerous chemicals. See the good they do? You’re welcome, ungrateful humans.

In fact, spiders have been used for centuries to produce healthy crops in China and now with the organic industry boom, they are coming back into fashion.

Dr. Zhao Jingzhao who heads Hubei University explains the method: “In Hubei Province, cotton is planted after the wheat harvest. During the harvest, and in the winter, we dig shallow holes and fill them with grass, and we also put grass among the branches of plants. The spiders stay in these grassy areas. This is a simple way to secure a healthy supply of spiders. Then, when the cotton blooms, they come out and eat the pests.”

4. We are but visitors in their world

spider

Orb-Weaver spider  |   Photo Credit: Joel/Flickr

Spiders have been on earth for 300 million years and counting. This means they were around before the Ice Age, before the last great extinction — oh — and before the dinosaurs. Spiders were roaming the Earth millions of years before humans were a twinkle in evolution’s eye. It might do us well to remember that they will likely be around long after we are gone.

A spider’s ability to adapt and survive through conditions that killed off the vast majority of life on Earth is not just admirable, but also incredibly important for us to study.

And sure, you may never like spiders in your home, but your home was built on their land — land that they go out of their way to clean and disinfect. So next time you see an eight-legged creature sitting on their web or scurrying across the floor, show some respect. These creepy-crawlies truly have your back.

Photo Credit: Alex Keda/Unsplash

408 comments

Peggy P
Peggy Peters2 months ago

It is rather difficult to maintain peace in a spider filled home when some, not all, of the human residents have shoes and are always willing to use them!

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Leanne K
Leanne K2 months ago

I’ve gone to sleep knowing a huntsman ( like a tarantula) is directly above my head. Spidey found his way in, he knows the way out. I hate the thought of fly spray, it must be a hideous death.

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Leanne K
Leanne K2 months ago

Now that Care2 has been floated, there’s the sudden massive increase in ads. Isn’t it kinda anti Care2 core values? And if things are tough, how about taking your own advice as per innumerable articles about better communication. You could have explained, you could have warned us but no. Disappointing and annoying

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Judy t
Judy t2 months ago

Opened the front door and walked right into a huge spider web that stuck all over my face and hair, yikes! After frantically removing the web off of me in the remaining partial web was this huge corn spider right next to me, double yikes! Got the broom and gently got it onto it and relocated it further out into the yard. Last year there was a corn spider in the back yard on the air conditioner I would catch live water bugs and throw them into the web and the corn spider would race from the top of her web down to the bug and would quickly spin the bug several times into the web where it couldn't move then quickly run back up to the top of her web. I did this so many times just to watch her in action that after awhile she didn't bother to wrap it. Guess she got full. I like those little black jumping spiders they kinda rotate their head around like an owl and stay up on the ceiling. Right now I have a big jumping spider. I've never seen a big one before I didn't know they got big. The last time I seen him he was on the wall over my headboard. He better get back up on the ceiling!

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Colin C
Colin C2 months ago

I love my spiders and just leave them alone mostly but I have had visitors who freak out when they see one.

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Olga Nycz-Shirley
Olga Nycz-Shirely2 months ago

I leave the webs alone in my home.

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Janis K
Janis K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Kathy G
Kathy G2 months ago

Thank you

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Kathy G
Kathy G2 months ago

Thank you

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Leo C
Leo Custer2 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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