Should you kill spiders in your home? An entomologist says ‘no’

An expert in entomology says: “Don’t kill the next spider you see in your home.”

Matt Bertone, an Extension Associate in Entomology at North Carolina State University, explains why it is important not to kill a spider when you see one.

Credits: Matt Bertone

We have all seen spiders inside our homes at least once in our lives. That’s because many of these little creatures actually “enjoy the great indoors,” Bertone jokingly says. Additionally, in a bid to highlight spiders’ advantages, the entomologist notes that not only are they secretive and non-violent, but the arachnids may also be helpful in reducing pests.

In a 2016 study named “Arthropods of the great indoors,” Bertone and colleagues investigated 50 North Carolina homes to find which species prefer living indoors. During their examination, the scientists discovered that there were spiders in every single house they went to.

Cobweb and cellar spiders were amongst the most common ones found in the North Carolina homes. Both species build webs where they patiently wait for their prey to get caught. Interestingly, cellar spiders even hunt other spiders by “mimicking prey to catch their cousins for dinner.”

Killing a spider may take an important predator out of your home.

Spiders are generalist predators, meaning that they eat anything that gets caught in their web. Therefore, they often consume nuisance pests. What’s more, they also capture disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes. In fact, some arachnids prefer to nibble on blood-filled mosquitoes in African homes. This makes them a valuable predator to have around the house.

Credits: Matt Bertone

While defending the eight-legged creatures, Bertone also notes that fearing them is absolutely normal. He even notes that arachnophobia, fear of spiders, can also be seen in some professional entomologists. However, the expert points out that the tiny insects “actually prefer to avoid humans.” Advising the ones who still get petrified by seeing a spider, the NCSU associate remarks:

“If you truly can’t stand that spider in your house, apartment, garage, or wherever, instead of smashing it, try to capture it and release it outside. It’ll find somewhere else to go, and both parties will be happier with the outcome.”

And for those who don’t mind having a little buddy cuddled up in their livingroom’s corner, Bertone says:

“It’s OK to have spiders in your home. In fact, it’s normal. And frankly, even if you don’t see them, they’ll still be there. So consider a live-and-let-live approach to the next spider you encounter.”

Are you afraid of spiders? Would you consider not killing them after reading this article? Let us know in the comment section!

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