Picture of the Week

October 26, 2020

Spooked by spiders? - You shouldn't be.


Tim Gibb, Extension Entomologist, Purdue University

During late summer and fall, spiders often appear in and around homes and other buildings. In the vast majority of cases, spiders should be welcome in our environments because they feed on insect and other small invertebrates that could become pests. There is an old saying by authors unknown that illustrates our long-held appreciation of spiders:


"Kill a spider,

Bad luck yours will be,

Until of flies

You've swatted fifty-three."

Hundreds of different species of spiders may occur in urban areas. Some are large, colorful and are relatively sluggish. Others are small, drab in color and can run very quickly.  Some are considered 'hunters' and actively move about in search of prey.  Other spiders spin simple or ornate webs in landscape plantings or under the eaves of homes.

Orb-weaver spider

Orb-weaver spider


Regardless of what a spider looks like or how a spider finds its food, constructs its web, or gets into homes or yards, their presence should be considered good luck.  

Only a very few spiders can deliver venomous bites to people but it is wise to treat all spiders with respect. Catching and removing the odd spider that enters the home is prudent. Sticky traps are available over-the-counter, that are very effective in controlling larger numbers of 'hunting' spiders that wander into the home.

Spiders that build webs outside of buildings are of little concern as they will be gone after the first hard freeze.  Removing their webbing is a small price to pay for the benefit that they provide in natural pest control.  


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