SciSun: Not that kind of Web

Everyone’s putting up holiday decorations.   Black cat cut-outs in the window,  fake ravens perched on a railing,  giant and not so giant spiders, surrounded by dense webs dangling from the ceiling.   And more spiders.   And MORE spiders.  And a spider that just ran behind the lamp!  Hey, that’s  a REAL spider!   What’s with all the spiders inside at this time of year??

First, you should know most spiders won’t hurt you.  They are probably more afraid of you then you are of them.  After all, you’re used to being inside but it’s new to them!   There ARE spiders that are dangerous to people.   Some, like the large and hairy Tarantula obviously look dangerous and it’s no news that you need to keep away.  But other spiders might look harmless, but can actually be very dangerous.  If you ever see a spider outside, stay away and don’t try to touch or catch or move it.  If you ever see a spider inside, immediately call for help from someone who knows how to safely remove the spider.

But it’s important to remember spiders are not ‘bad’.   Like everything else on Earth, spiders have an important job.  They eat many, many insects that could cause harm to people or the food we eat or the houses we live in.  Actually, that’s about the only job spiders have – eating.     I once knew someone who acted the same way in the lunchline….

But back to why there seem to be more spiders inside now than at other times of the year.    Simply, they’re looking for somewhere dry and warm, and probably searching for another spider so they can lay eggs in a safe place.   We don’t know what the spiders think (and I wouldn’t want to know – maybe creepy, creepy stuff!), but they probably don’t like being inside.   During the Summer most spiders live in places we usually don’t see them – in dark, dry, hidden areas often near the ground or other areas where an endless supply of insects can be found.  Inside, it’s too clean and there’s too much activity and not enough food.   Bad conditions for adult spiders, but perfect protection for laying eggs that will stay dormant until the Spring.

As soon as it starts to get really cold – below freezing – most of the spiders we see now will be dead or hiding somewhere.  They aren’t made to live in the cold.  So if you see any spiders inside, know they probably are just looking for a warm comfortable place.  But don’t offer them the guest room.   They probably want to lay eggs that will result in MANY MORE spiders this Spring.  And that’s not something you want inside your house!

Dig Deeper!

There are lots of great places to learn more about Spiders in the Autumn. Here are a few to get you started:

And don’t forget your local library!

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