We’ve all seen them – tiny round bodies and long, long legs – the granddaddy long legs, also known as the daddy long legs, harvestman, and harvest spider. These creatures are found on every continent in the world except Antarctica. By all appearances these pests should be considered spiders but they are, in fact, arthropods. Unlike spiders, granddaddy long legs cannot spin silk. They also have 1 oval-shaped body composed of a fused head, body, and abdomen. Spiders, on the other hand, have 2 body sections with a narrow waist separating them. While they do have 8 legs like spiders do, granddady long legs can self amputate them as a defense mechanism against predators. Unfortunately, once they are gone they cannot grow back. While granddaddy long legs do not have fangs and do not make venom, they do have chelicerae (tiny claws used to hold and tear food). Because of this, they can eat small pieces of solid food while spiders subsist on a liquid diet.
So what are they good for? Granddaddy long legs are actually quite beneficial in your home and garden. They are omnivores with a wide, varied diet. They eat everything from spiders, insects, worms, and snails to bird droppings, and fungus. Think of them as permanent pest control for your yard and garden. They are mostly nocturnal, though, and like to hang out in basements, cellars, garages, and wood piles.
Granddaddy long legs are typically harmless to humans but can become bothersome if they congregate in large numbers. If they aren’t causing a problem, it is best to leave them alone. If you do have a problem with them in large numbers or with any other nuisance pests, contact a local pest control company who can thoroughly evaluate your home and set you up with a treatment plan specific to your situation.