Spiders are among the most successful predators on earth. Over 30,000 species have been identified. They are placed in the arthropod class Arachnida. There are more myths, legends, and folklore associated with spiders than any other pest. Perhaps you have even sung about the”itsy bitsy spider.”
Fear of Spiders
Spiders are both fascinating and at the same time feared by humans. Many people have serious phobias (Arachnophobia) of spiders; just thinking or talking about spiders can cause serious anxiety and stress for some. Adding to our fear, they often appear in Hollywood horror movies.
Although there are thousands of species, here is a list of some of the most common spiders we will most likely encounter locally: Black Widow, Wolf Spider, Jumping Spider, Cellar Spider, Yellow Sac Spider, Daddy Long Legs, and the Orb Weaver. It should be noted that most spiders found in the U.S., and more locally in California, pose little to no threat to humans. The most dangerous of these spiders is the Black Widow. Contrary to popular belief, there is no population of the Brown Recluse in California.
General Description & Facts
- 8 legs
- 6 to 8 eyes
- Two body segments
- Size: 1/20-inch to 10 inches
- Web: Sticky, some very strong
- Web pattern: Irregular to very organized
- Eyesight: Very poor to excellent
- Bites: Harmless to very poisonous
- Egg sac: Weave orb-shaped small to ½ inch silken ball, white or tan
General Habits, Life Cycle & Facts
Spiders are predators that feed on live prey. Its diet includes many different kinds of insects and occasionally other spiders. Spiders can be beneficial because they help keep the insect population in check. Spider experts estimate that a single acre of field can support several million spiders. Most spiders prefer a solitary life.
Spiders fall into three main categories: the web builders, the passive hunters, and the active hunters. Each has their own unique way of obtaining food. Spiders cannot eat solid food. After killing their prey with venom, spiders then inject it with enzymes which break down the prey’s body contents and enables the spider to suck out the digested, liquefied material. Spiders do not need much food to survive. Spiders can live just about anywhere, including very dry climates. The only place you will not find spiders is in Antarctica. Clutter in and around your home makes for an ideal habitat for spiders.
Spiders are Colorful
The colors of spiders vary greatly. A spider’s colors allow it to blend into its surroundings, which helps it when sneaking up on prey, and protects it from becoming a meal to other predators. Bright colors can also be used to attract a mate or as a means of self-defense against other predators warning them to stay away.
Female spiders weave orb-shaped protective egg sacs that can contain up to several hundred eggs. From the time the egg is laid to the time it hatches is 5 to 7 days to eight months. Most spiders live 1 to 2 years. When the eggs hatch, the spiderlings will remain in the egg sac for a time. During this process, they will cannibalize each other resulting in fewer spiderlings emerging. After emerging, the spiderlings will remain close to each other. Spiderlings will then leave the area by what is called “ballooning.” The spiderling will climb to a high point, spin a strand of silk, and be caught by the wind to infest new areas.
The Amazing Spider Web
Spider silk is amazing, a true wonder of life. It’s incredibly strong and flexible. Spiders use it to spin webs, stabilize and anchor themselves, as an alarm system, and much more. Spiders lay down a silk line as they travel called a dragline; it’s their lifeline. Their dragline helps keep them from falling from high areas and helps them escape from danger. Spider silk is also used by spiders to travel up to hundreds of miles through a process called “ballooning,” where the silk is caught by the wind and carries them off.
Spiders rarely bite humans, but when they do bite, it’s usually in self-defense. For example, a spider may bite to avoid being crushed when you put on a shoe, clothing, or perhaps rolling over on it in bed. When a spider does bite, it may inject its venom into you.
Spider venom falls into two categories. Neurotoxic venom affects the nervous system, causing severe flu-like symptoms in some. An example of a neurotoxic spider is the black widow. The other category is cytotoxic, with causes tissue death resulting in ulcerations and sometimes infections. This poison usually affects the site of the bite. Examples of cytotoxic spiders are the brown recluse and sac spiders.
What should you do if you are bitten by a spider?
- Remain calm.
- If possible, safely capture the spider for identification.
- Seek medical attention immediately!
For free information on Spider Control, call us at (916) 683-2929. If you would like us to care for it, no worries we’ve got you covered!