You get into bed exhausted and ready to sleep. Then just as you’re closing your heavy eyelids, you see it—a black dot scurrying across the wall at an alarming speed.
If you shrieked, jumped out of bed, and ran out of the room slamming the door, you’re not alone—we’ve all been there. Past research has shown around 5% of the population has a strong fear of spiders. With their eight hairy legs and eight creepy eyes, it’s hard not to be.
But spiders aren’t the supervillains we might perceive them as. In fact, with spider bites only causing seven deaths per year, you’re more likely to get killed by a cow. (Yep, seriously—the cute and cuddly mammals cause 20 deaths per year!)
To help ease your spider anxiety and show you why the creepy crawlers aren’t so bad after all, take a look at the facts about house spiders below. Hopefully, this information can help replace some of that fear with entomological curiosity.
Who knows—you may acquire a new appreciation for them and be happy to let them roam in your space.
Interesting Facts About House Spiders
1. There Are Many Different Types Living in Your House
If you don’t like getting close to spiders, you definitely don’t spend time investigating them. However, there are lots of spiders that make it a habit to live with humans. Chances are, if you live in the United States, the spiders lurking in your house are one of these five types.
American House Spider
These little spiders build tangled-up, messy webs. These webs are usually a major contributor to the build-up of cobwebs within the home. Oftentimes, female spiders of this species will build webs next to each other, which really add a horror movie vibe to the attic or basement you neglect to visit for a while.
These spiders can live for a whole year in a cozy, temperature-controlled home. During that year, the females can produce 15 sacs of eggs, each containing 100 to 400 eggs. That means just one female spider can add thousands more spiders to your house during your lifetime. How kind of her!
Most American’s don’t have to worry about this type of spider, however, those in the central Midwest should be aware of it. If this spider bites you, it can be painful. However, the chances that you’ll get bitten are very low.
One famous example of this is in Lenexa, Kansas. A family moved into a house, only to discover that it was infested with brown recluse spiders. They collected 2,050 of these spiders within their home in six months, and during all that time—even though they were in close contact with the spiders—none of them got bit.
While their bite is venomous, they rarely kill people. One study found 90% of bites self-heal. But because there is a small chance, seek medical attention as soon as possible after you’ve been bitten. (Better yet if you can bring the spider in a container with you so it can be properly identified.)
These spiders have legs for days! The daddy-longlegs spider, or long-bodied cellar spider, loves being indoors where it’s warm and has a high population in the Pacific Northwest. They’re commonly mixed up with a bug of the same name, which is a class of animal called harvestmen—not spiders.
So, how do you tell the difference between daddy-longlegs spiders and harvestmen? A spider has two parts to its body (a fused head and thorax) while harvestmen have one part. The web also gives it away: Spiders will be hanging out in webs, while harvestmen don’t produce silk or a web.
The hobo spider earned its name because of its history of hitchhiking. It will ride in a human’s clothes or baggage into a new location, facilitating its spread. Using this method of travel, it’s managed to migrate from Europe to North America, making a home for itself in the Pacific Northwest, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon, and Utah.
These spiders build their webs in nooks and crannies in a funnel shape. There’s a misconception about them that they’re poisonous, but that’s usually due to them being confused with other spiders.
Jumping spiders are considered the cutest type of spider. They’re small and furry, have large round eyes, and are known for being smart. So much so that some people keep them as pets!
Jumping spiders get their name from their hunting method. To catch their prey, they jump on it instead of setting up a trap and waiting as other spiders do. They do still make webs, but only as a nest.
2. They Offer Pest Control
Sure, it’s hard to leave that house spider in its favorite corner of your home. But if you do, it could provide some pest control, helping keep other bugs out of your space.
Having spiders in your house is conceptually similar to having cats. Cats take care of the mice and rats while spiders take care of other creepy crawlies. They feed on common pests, like mosquitos, roaches, and earwigs. If you don’t typically see other bugs inside your home, it’s probably because a sneaky house spider got to them first.
Because of that, instead of kicking them out, you may want to send them a thank you card for their hard work.
3. They Protect People and the Planet
Aside from keeping the pests in your home in check, house spiders also protect people and the planet. Some of those pests spread disease, and by eating them, spiders can protect people and crops.
It’s said that if all spiders disappeared, our crops would be consumed by the pests they eat. That could result in famine. When we keep spiders around and let them do their jobs, it gives the planet a boost.
4. They’ve Been Around Since Before the Dinosaurs
Spiders have been around for a long time. They were some of the first animals to live on land, and it’s estimated that they evolved 300 to 400 million years ago. Considering dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago, spiders have truly been around through thick and thin.
Spiders have proved to be adaptive and capable of overcoming a lot of adversity. Considering they got here first, do we really have the right to squash them with our magazines? In reality, it seems like we might be the ones invading their home.
5. They’ve Evolved and Adapted with Us in Mind
Spiders have been living in homes ever since humans decided to build them in the first place. (Before that, we bet they were scaring humans in caves!) Our dwellings are convenient homes. We offer a warm enclosed space, and our crumbs attract insects of all sorts for the spiders to feast on.
Through centuries of living with us, spiders have changed. They’re used to the cozy, luxurious life that we (unintentionally) provide them. Because of that, if you try to rescue a spider by trapping it in a cup and taking it outside, it may not survive. Many of them will perish in the harsh outdoor climate.
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