Spiders in the House - Friend or Foe?
Start writing... Spiders are among the most prevalent household pests, crawling their way into two out of three American homes. At the same time, the most common creature-based phobia in the world is arachnophobia, the fear of Spiders. So, when most homeowners spot one, they tend to employ the nearest form of DIY pest control –a vacuum or shoe.But a few fearless folks adopt a live-and-let-live motto, hoping to enjoy some of the good that Spiders do. If seeing one dangling in a web or scurrying across the floor doesn't make you shudder, you might want to share your home with a few.One word of caution: It's always best to avoid touching a Spider. While they never actively seek human contact, they will bite if they feel threatened or endangered. Their venom causes reactions that differ from species to species and person to person. Symptoms of a bite may include a stinging sensation, red mark, localized swelling or an injury requiring hospitalization. Consult your doctor if you have a concern.Before you squish the next Spider you see, consider how this eight-legged wonder might improve your life.They eat pests.Spiders feed on common indoor pests, such as Roaches, Earwigs, Mosquitoes, Flies and Clothes Moths. If left alone, they will consume most of the insects in your home, providing effective home pest control.They kill their own kind.When Spiders come into contact with one another, a gladiator-like competition frequently unfolds –and the winner eats the loser. If your basement hosts common Long-Legged Cellar Spiders, this is why the population occasionally shifts from numerous smaller individuals to fewer, larger ones. That Long-Legged Cellar Spider, by the way, is known to kill Black Widows, making it a powerful ally.They help curtail disease spread.Spiders feast on many household pests that can transmit disease to humans –Mosquitoes, Fleas, Flies, Cockroaches and a host of other disease-carrying critters.Seasonal Appearances.General Features.Spiders range in body length from 0.5 to about 90 mm (0.02–3.5 inches). The largest spiders are the hairy mygalomorphs, commonly referred to as tarantulas, which are found in warm climates and are most abundant in the Americas. Some of the largest mygalomorphs include the goliath bird-eating spider (Theraphosa leblondi or T. blondi), found in parts of the Amazon, and the pinkfoot goliath (T. apophysis), limited to southern Venezuela. The smallest spiders belong to several families found in the tropics, and information about them first became known in the 1980s.Female spiders generally are much larger than males, a phenomenon known in animals as sexual size dimorphism. Many female orb weavers, such as those in the families Tetragnathidae and Araneidae, show extreme size dimorphism, being at least twice the size of males of the same species. The extreme difference in body size appears to have arisen through selection processes favouring fecundity in females and “bridging” locomotion in males. Bridging is a technique used by spiders for orb web construction; the spider produces a silk thread that is carried by the wind and becomes attached to an object, forming a bridge. Small, light males can build and traverse silk bridges more rapidly than larger, heavier males can. Scientists suspect that this gives small males more mating opportunities, thereby favouring selection for their small size.Distribution..Spiders are found on all continents (except Antarctica, although spider fragments have been reported there) and at elevations as high as 5,000 metres (16,400 feet) in the Himalayas. Many more species occur in the tropics than in temperate regions. Though most spiders are terrestrial, one Eurasian species is aquatic and lives in slow-moving fresh water. There are a few species that live along shores or on the surface of fresh or salt water.Small spiders and the young of many larger species secrete long silk strands that catch the wind and can carry the spiders great distances. This behaviour, called ballooning, occurs in many families and expedites distribution. Some species are distributed in this way around the globe within the bounds of the northern jet stream. Ballooning spiders drift through the air at heights that range from 3 metres (10 feet) or less to more than 800 metres (2,600 feet).Importance.