When we see spiders or insects of any kind run across a wall, we often have a rather negative reaction. We usually want to run away screaming or to stomp on it, and very few will be thinking that we should welcome the spiders in and live side by side with them. But the question is, should we kill them? Or are there any benefits to having spiders in your home?
Looking at it logically, spiders have existed longer than humans. They evolved about 300 million years ago, making them older than dinosaurs, let alone humans. But just because they are older does not mean that they have more right to live in your house than you do. Getting rid of them completely is next to impossible, however, so you do need to accept to some extent that there are going to be some spiders in your home somewhere. Actually, most spiders spend their entire lives indoors, protected from the elements so you can expect them to prefer being warm instead of cold.
The Catch and Release
There has been a theory going around that says that instead of killing a spider, you can capture it humanely and release it outside. The truth of the matter is that there is a good chance that moving an indoor spider to the outdoors will actually be what kills it. The thought is noble in and of itself, but the truth is that an indoor spider most likely cannot live in a “natural” outdoor environment.
Another thing to take into consideration is that not all spiders found in your house are house spiders. Sometimes an outdoor spider will make its way inside while other times, the spiders breed inside. If you are concerned about the type of spider before you decide what to do about it, you can always look up what different spiders live in your area and see if you can identify them.
Also remember that there are a lot of different types of spider out there so you may not need to worry about the spiders you find at all. Spiders can be a variety of sizes and colors. American house spiders are usually not any bigger than 8 millimeters across and usually will not bite you unless provoked to do so. They are not going to randomly attack people and their venom is minute enough that it won’t cause much of a reaction. For that reason, they really are not a danger to begin with.
Types of House Spiders
There are a large variety of spiders that could be in your home, most of them harmless.
- Daddy Long-Legs: This cellar spider is easy to identify given its long legs. Their pincers cannot pierce human skin though, so don’t fear spider bites from this arachnid.
- Cobweb Spider: Generally speaking cobweb spiders are not harmful and are considered beneficial. A black widow does fall under the cobweb umbrella, but otherwise, this family of spiders are harmless.
- Black Widow: Now these little guys are actually poisonous. The black widow is considered the most poisonous spider in North America with their venom being 15 times more potent than a rattlesnake’s. That said, they will not bite you unless they have been aggravated.
- Brown recluse: They are also known as jumping spiders. They are also poisonous, though their bites are small enough that you won’t be able to tell right away that you have been bitten. The bites are known to cause cell destruction, so you do need to get a suspicious bite checked out by a doctor.
- Yellow sac spiders: Also venomous, but not to the extent of the other spiders. If you do happen to be bitten by one, the bite will be mostly superficial and of no concern.
Are Spiders Helpful?
You may wonder whether they have any positive purpose at all. Well, for starters, spiders actually keep down other pests in your house. They are a defense against other little pests like aphids, moths, and beetles as well as the more annoying mosquito, flies, and even cockroaches. With their webs, they catch other bugs and feast on them, keeping your home free from other creepy crawlies. If you resist the urge to squash a spider and let it do its thing, spiders can easily keep your home clear of these other annoying little critters.
If you are curious about what your spiders have been eating, you can check out their webs. Underneath the webs, spiders usually drop their meals on the floor, in a gross kind of littering. While cleaning that up is not always the most fun job out there, you can look at the remnants and see what bugs they have caught. It could give you an idea on how useful the spiders are as well as what other little creatures have been living under your roof.
Keeping them down
If the idea of having spiders under your roof gives you the creeps, no matter how good they are at keeping your pest situation under control, there are other solutions for you. Instead of killing them with pesticides, squishing, or fatally relocating the spiders outside, you can still keep the spider population somewhat under control in your house.
To begin with, look at where the cobwebs are. Keeping your windows and eaves clear from spider webs will force the spiders to relocate to other places in your house, like the attic or basement, or even the garage. They can hang out in less populated areas and still benefit your house.
Trying to thwart spiders by sealing their entry into your house is completely futile. The spiders are not coming in from the outside and setting up camp. They are already established inside your home. Outside spiders stay outside while inside spiders stay inside. They do not come in along drains or through cracks. Don’t waste the effort trying to close off any space spiders could get into; they are already there.