Do We Have To Fear Spiders?

December 6, 2019

Spiders have always had a special place in human lore. It does not matter that they are really boring creatures in real life, spiders have always induced fear in many people.  In fact, there is a name to that fear of spiders, and it is called arachnophobia.

The way spiders feed does not help ease the tension for humans regarding their spider neighbors. Spiders, after all, have two fangs that inject venom to liquefy their prey while being trapped in a silky web that they built.  

Fortunately, many of the fears people have are unfounded.  Statistically, the number of deaths attributed to spiders is minuscule, at about 100 per year.  Now compare that to deaths related to mosquitoes, which amount to millions every year.  

It is said that we are all living within 3 feet of a spider at home. Wherever you position yourself, a spider is always just within reach.

A surprising fact, is it not?  

Spiders are so peaceful that you will not really know they are there. Spiders keep to themselves and never attack humans. They only sit still in their nests, waiting patiently for their prey. 

But, are spiders really harmless?

Yet there are indeed some spiders that we will have to watch out for. These are spiders that have venom that is so powerful, that they can even be deadly to humans. In the United States, there are two types of poisonous spiders: the black widow, the hobo, and the brown recluse spiders.


Spiders are part of the Arachnid family, and they are closely related to ticks and scorpions. Fear of spiders is called arachnophobia. They are capable of spinning silk coming from the back ends of their bodies. Not all of them, though, can build their own nests.

These spiders have 8 legs and they range in size, depending on the species. Of course, there are more than 40,000 identified species of spiders. The smallest type is just .011 inches, which is the Samoan spider.  The bone of the largest is the Goliath bird eater, which is a kind of tarantula whose leg span can be up to afoot. Their bodies have 2 segments: the abdomen and the cephalothorax. The front part is the cephalothorax, where the head meets the thorax. It contains the mouth, eyes, and legs. Most spiders have 8 eyes, but there are some species of spiders that only have 6. These eyes can only see light and shadow.   

The mouth has several features. The jaws have fangs and are used to hold their prey while they inject venom. Behind the jaws are the labium and the labrum. Both of these parts help in directing the food towards the spider’s mouth so they can feed.  

Inside the abdomen are the spider's most important internal organs. In it are the reproductive organs, lungs, and digestive tract, and the spinneret - the organ that they use to make silk. All spiders can produce silk, but not all can spin webs. They use silk in a variety of ways: to climb, to break a fall, to build their nests, to catch prey, and to build egg sacs.

Most spiders are carnivores. They eat insects, and for this reason, they are able to help control common household pests.  

The Spiders You Have To Stay Away From

Hobo Spider

One of the most venomous spiders in the United States, hobo spiders are aggressive predators. But when it comes to humans, they are rather shy and they try to avoid human contact as much as possible. 

They do bite humans but only when disturbed. When they do bite it can be very painful and can cause tissue death on the site of the bite. The hobo spider's size is about 10 to 14 mm in length. They are brown in color. Its abdomen has V-shaped patterns that are pointing towards the head. They are also known as funnel web spiders because the webs they construct look like funnels, and they capture their prey at the bottom of the funnel. They are native to Europe and were accidentally introduced to the United States in the 19th century.

Hobo spiders can live in any areas that have cracks, crevices, and holes. They prefer damp and dark places and are usually hiding in basements and attics. Outdoors, they can be found under rocks and under clutter.

Black Widow Spider

The black widow spider is considered the most venomous spider in the United States. The black widow spider is so-called because of the fact that the adult female spider kills her male counterpart after mating. The female would then preserve the dead male until such time that her offspring would emerge and feed on its dead body. The female black widows can live up to three years, while the males can live up to a year.

It is said that they are 15 times more poisonous than rattlesnakes. In the case of black widow spiders, only the females bite. The poison is very potent and can be very painful, but adult humans will survive it after a few treatments from a healthcare provider. For children and the elderly, however, it may cause death.

To identify, the female black widow has a shiny black body with a red hourglass marking on its abdomen. This red hourglass repels possible predators, telling them that she is poisonous, and thus cannot be eaten. Her size is about 1.5 inches long. The male black widow, on the other hand, is about half the size of the females, lighter in color, and has either red or pink spots on their backs. The males do not bite. 

The diet of the black widows consists of other insects and arachnids. They use their webs to capture their prey. Mosquitoes, flies, ants, termites, and roaches are food for them. Once these insects get trapped in the web, the black widow then approaches it and covers it in silk. It then bites into it to release an enzyme that would liquefy their prey. Black widow spiders only food in liquid form.

If you are accidentally bitten by a black widow spider, seek immediate medical attention. As much as possible, catch the same black widow spider that bit you. It could be dead or alive. Take it with you to your healthcare provider. This would allow the healthcare provider to make an informed decision on the type of care and treatment that you need. Do not forget to first wash the bitten area with soap and water. After that, put a cold compress on it.

Black widows feed on other insects and arachnids. Included on their menu are mosquitoes, flies, ants, termites, and roaches. They catch their prey by using their webs, and once these insects get trapped in the web, the black widow then approaches it and covers it in silk. It then bites into it to release an enzyme that would liquefy their prey.  Like most spiders, black widow spiders only eat their food in liquid form.

Brown Recluse Spiders

The brown recluse spider is the most common of the brown spiders in the United States. They are identified by their characteristic violin-shaped marking on their bodies. Unlike most spiders, they only have 6 eyes that are arranged in three pairs.  

The brown recluse spider has similar habits to the black widow spider. The brown recluse is a shy creature, hence the name. And just like the black widow, they hide in dark places. They only go out to look for food at night. They only need to mate just once a year to be able to produce 150 eggs yearly.

If you are bitten by a brown recluse, seek immediate medical attention. Their bite is not fatal, but some develop severe symptoms.The bite of a brown recluse spider often produces small red marks on the skin but heals on its own.  

Symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and sweating. When bitten, go to your health care provider. If you still can, bring the same spider that bit you along to the hospital. This will allow the doctor to make an informed decision about the type of treatment to give you, Before going to the hospital,  wash the bite area with soap and water and then put a cold compress on the bitten area. Let it stay there for about ten minutes.

Control & Prevention

When it comes to poisonous spiders, we cannot be more careful. Here are some tips from the most effective pest control in chapel hill to help you control and prevent spider infestation in your home. 

1. Seal off cracks and crevices.These are potential entry points for these spiders.  

2. Maintain good housekeeping. Remove clutter because this might be used as the spiders’ hiding places.Dispose of old boxes or cartons. 

3. Remove vegetation away from your perimeter. Plants attract spiders because it provides them a nice living area.

4. If you see spider webs in your house, remove them with your vacuum cleaner or a duster if it is way out of your reach. Spider webs should be removed whenever you see them.   

If you need professional help, call the spider control experts in North Carolina, Go-Forth Pest Control. 

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