Spiders cause fear and anxiety for a lot of people. And with good reason! Not only do they look creepy and hang out in dark places, some are venomous and can cause serious reactions if bitten. Spiders are often misunderstood, though. Here are 5 common misconceptions about spiders:
1. We’ve all seen the grandaddy or daddy long-leg “spider”. You may be surprised to know that he’s not actually a spider at all. Called harvestmen, daddy long-legs are a type of arachnid and a close relative to spiders. Harvestmen have only one body segment, whereas spiders have 2, and 2 eyes instead of 8. They’re also not at all poisonous, as some may believe. You may consider leaving daddy long-legs around if you find them; they eat other insects and pose no threat to people.
2. Spiders are insects…right? Wrong. An insect has 3 body parts, where a spider has 2. Spiders have 8 eyes and insects have 2. Insects have antennae and wings; spiders don’t.
3. Taking a live house spider outside rather than killing it is a good idea. Or is it? Most spiders you’ll encounter in your home are not prepared to live outside. Most are adapted to indoor environments and won’t survive long after you put them outside.
4. After mating, a female black widow spider eats the male. This is only true for certain species of black widows, not all. Many male black widows survive mating and go on to mate again.
5. If you see a violin-shaped marking on a spider, it’s a brown recluse. This isn’t always the case and can be really confusing. While brown recluses do have this marking behind their eyes, so do other types of spiders, and should not be the identifying factor when naming a spider species. An experienced professional and a microscope is usually needed to properly identify a brown recluse, by analyzing the arrangement of its eyes. And it’s highly unlikely for you to encounter one.
If you’re concerned with spiders in your home or other pests, contact a local exterminator. For more information on pest control in your area, click on the links below.