Does whatever a spider can
What was an itsy-bitsy spider spinning webs a few months ago is now a large, fully-grown exterminator helping keep the pest population under control.
Is it peak spider season? Not necessarily, because there are usually more spiders in the spring after they hatch their eggs. By September to November they are fully grown, easier to find and make larger webs.
Some spidey facts
The world is home to about 50,000 species of spiders.
Almost all are venomous but only a few can harm you. According to the Burke Museum in Seattle, only 25 have venom that can cause harm to humans. So just 1/20 of 1% of spiders are dangerous to humans.
According to the University of Kentucky, spiders don’t have a jaw and teeth like many animals, they have chelicerae – external structures that work somewhat like a jaw. Spiders use their chelicerae to hold prey in place while they inject it with venom.
Instead of chewing their food with mandibles, spiders will first spit enzymes either on or in their prey to liquefy it. They then eat the prey by sucking in the juices created by the enzymes with their mouth parts, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
They all make silk, but they don’t all make webs. About half the species catch prey with silky webs, while the others use it to make nests, cocoons or egg sacs.
Many spiders replace their entire web every day. According to science.org a study was conducted in 2018 that discovered that certain spiders’ webs are stronger than steel and if human-size, would be tough enough to snag a jetliner.
UC Irvine has a web page with photos of all the spiders, ticks and mites in Orange County here.
Keeping them out
Even though spiders may help control insect populations, many people have some form of arachnophobia or simply don’t want them inside their homes. As the days cool, spiders might be looking for warmer places to winter.
A few tips
Seal potential entry points like cracks and gaps along the building’s foundation.Keep doors, windows and screens sealed.
Prevent other insects from inhabiting the area by keeping a clean home.
Reduce clutter to limit hiding places.
Use a botanical repellent. Spiders don’t like the scent of lavender.
Source: Hebets Lab, Burke Museum, reconnectwithnature.org, National Space Society, University of Kentucky, earthkind.com, The National Pest Management Association Illustrations by KURT SNIBBE and staff artists