Discover everything you need to know about spiders in our guide below.
What are Spiders?
Spiders are arthropods with eight legs, fangs (some species can inject venom), and spinnerets which allow them to exude silk to build webs.
Spiders live in almost every habitat on earth except the polar regions and high mountain areas. While spiders can survive in harsh conditions such as extreme heat, they often head indoors during cold or rainy weather.
Some of the most common types of spiders include hobo spiders, wolf spiders, black widow spiders, and brown recluse spiders, all of which are venomous and capable of causing painful, potentially serious bites.
What do Spiders Look Like?
There are more than 45,000 known species of spiders on earth, and each looks different from the next. The traits they share, however, are body features. All spiders have two distinct body sections: an abdomen in the back and a cephalothorax in the front.
The abdomen contains the spider’s digestive and reproductive organs, as well as its spinnerets and silk-producing glands. The cephalothorax includes the head, eyes, and fangs. Spiders have eight legs, and different species have different numbers of eyes.
Depending on the species, the eyes are also different in size and arrangement.
Finally, all spiders have fangs that they use to bite their prey with. Most spiders have venom glands, but not all spiders can bite humans.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Spiders live on every continent except Antarctica and can survive in virtually any habitat.
Spiders eat mosquitoes, moths, flies, and, occasionally, other spiders. Studies have found that the global population of spiders consume an estimated 400-800 million tons of insects annually.
Some larger varieties of spiders eat snails, worms, and even small vertebrates like bats, birds, frogs, and lizards. Many spiders supplement their diets with plant-based foods like plant sap, leaf tissue, seeds, and even pollen.
While most spiders are passive hunters who catch their prey in webs, some (like the brown recluse spider) are hunters that actively pursue their prey.
Both male and female spiders have reproductive organs at the rear of their abdomens. These arachnids reproduce sexually; most female spiders produce a single egg sac containing hundreds or thousands of eggs. Many females die immediately after producing this egg sac, while others stay alive for a short period to care for the young.
How to Get Rid of Spiders
Getting rid of spiders requires dedication and creativity. We recommend combining habitat modification, exclusion, and chemical control methods for maximum efficacy.
Start by cleaning your home and vacuuming and mopping the floors to remove spiders, webs, and eggs.
Next, use spider repellents to keep the pests out of high-interest areas. Keep food in airtight, sealed containers, and remove existing pest populations to decrease spider food sources.
Finally, apply a residual perimeter insecticide to the inside and outside of your home to create a barrier that protects against pests, and declutter your home to remove spider hiding areas.
Most house spiders are not harmful -most species do not bite and cannot harm people. There are several exceptions, though: namely, the black widow spider, the hobo spider, the brown recluse, and the wolf spider.
The black widow spider produces venom that acts on the nervous system. Immediately after a bite, most people feel pain or burning at the bite site. Shortly after that, redness and swelling develop, and the muscles may become stiff and painful. Some people experience nausea and vomiting, difficulty breathing, abdominal cramping, or tremors.
Spiders will enter a house when it provides ample food and shelter. They favor homes with existing pest infestations and plenty of places to hide.