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15 Misconceptions About Spiders You Probably Believe

Reading time: 8 minutes

Spiders are one of the most commonly feared creatures on earth. We even have a phobia associated with it—Arachnophobia!

But are these creepy crawlies as nasty as they seem? We bust fifteen myths about spiders below.

Spider On A Web
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1. Myth: Spiders Are Insects

Contrary to popular belief, spiders aren't insects. They're arachnids, which are in an entirely different class of bugs.

The main difference is that insects like crickets, butterflies, and beetles have wings, antennae, and six legs; arachnids have eight legs and no wings or antennae.

Arachnids also have two body segments and moults instead of three segments and go through a metamorphosis from larva to adults like insects do. Although both can prey on each other, arachnids feed more on insects than vice versa.

2. Myth: Spiders Are Harmful

Spiders may be widely feared, but they're rarely dangerous to humans or pets. They don't bite unless they feel threatened, and only a very few species of spider have venom. Of those venomous spiders, most don't have fangs long enough to pierce human skin, or their venom is too weak to cause real damage.

The circumstances in which a spider poses an actual threat to a human are incredibly rare. The modern medical treatments available for potentially harmful spider bites are almost always successful without long-term consequences.

3. Myth: Spiders Are Most Active in the Summer

Spiders are commonly thought to be most active in the late summer, but this is only true of the most noticeable spider species, like giant house spiders, orb weavers, and garden spiders, who reach maturation at this time of year.

Most other spiders aren't active during this time. Autumn is the most active time for arachnids, as the weather gets colder and spiders start looking for shelter inside warm homes.

4. Myth: You Should Put Spiders Outside Instead of Killing Them

You might think you're doing a spider a favour if you take it back outside instead of killing it, but it most likely was never outside to begin with.

Chances are, you're going to do more harm than good since house spiders aren't well-equipped to survive outdoor conditions. The best thing to do is just leave it be. They don't pose any threat to your home or your family, and they even help get rid of the insects that do!

5. Myth: Spiders Bite Unprovoked

You may have heard the phrase that spiders are more afraid of humans than humans are of spiders. While scary-looking and aggressive towards their prey, they aren't aggressive to humans. Humans and pets that are larger than spiders aren't seen as food.

In almost all cases, spiders won't bite humans unless they sense a threat. This usually happens when they have been accidentally stepped on, squeezed, or otherwise provoked.

Buzz Boss worker dewebing

6. Myth: All Spiders Are Venomous

Almost all spiders have fangs and venom, but most of them only make enough to affect their insect prey. According to the Canadian Journal of Zoology, there are only a few small groups within the arachnid family that don't have venom glands, namely orb weavers.

There are only a few cases of species like black widows or brown recluses where their venom is a risk to people. In Canada, brown recluse spiders are rarely found, so those in the widow family are generally the only cause for concern.

7. Myth: You Can Tell a Spider Bite by the Way It Looks

If a spider does happen to bite you, it may be difficult to tell the difference between it and any other bug bite. You might have been told to look for the two "fang marks" in the center of the bite to see if it was made by a spider, but this is unreliable.

Most spiders have fangs too small to see. If you find one or two dots in the center of your bite, you're most likely looking at pores that are inflamed because of the itchy venom.

8. Myth: Daddy Long-Legs Are the Most Venomous Spiders

Daddy long-leg spiders are often thought to be the most venomous, but rumour has it that their fangs are too tiny to puncture human skin. This isn't true, says Edmonton and Area Land Trust.

The most a daddy long-legs can do when they bite is create a mild burning sensation that lasts a few seconds or minutes at most. Some spiders thought to be this species aren't even spiders at all and are a different type of arachnid without venom or fangs.

9. Myth: Black Widow Bites Are Always Fatal

Black widows are perhaps the most feared of all spider species due to their menacing appearance and potential to inflict harm. But even these spiders' bites are rarely ever deadly and are easily treatable.

The most significant risk of harm from a black widow bite is to small pets, children, the elderly, and people with serious illnesses and poor immune system response. In most cases, a black widow bite causes nausea, difficulty breathing, and muscle aches.

10. Myth: Spiders Have Bacteria on Their Fangs That Will Cause an Infection

Itchy spider bites sometimes get infected, but this has less to do with the spider and more to do with the person scratching the bite later on. Unlike insects like mosquitoes that go from person to person ingesting blood, spiders typically don't bite humans. Since they mostly stay in corners and dark, undisturbed places, they generally don't come into contact with bacteria-laden things like spoiled food or pet waste.

Spider Web
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11. Myth: All Spiders Make Webs

Spider silk is one of the most fascinating things about these arachnids, and all spiders make it. But not all spiders produce webs.

Most of the 50,000 known species don't, says National Geographic. And according to the Burke Museum in Seattle, not everything that a spider makes out of silk qualifies as a web. Webs are planned silk structures specifically designed to catch prey, and only half of the spider species known to science use webs to obtain food.

12. Myth: Cobwebs Are Just Old Spider Webs

Cobwebs are usually seen in old houses, attics, and undisturbed corners, giving the impression that they're old spiderwebs that their hosts have long left.

But cobwebs are spun by spiders in the Theridiidae family, including widows, cellar spiders, and around 50 other varieties, according to the Montréal Space for Life. Unlike the beautiful geometrical webs spun by some spider species, cobwebs are wispy, sticky, and irregular in shape.

13. Myth: Spiders in the Bathtub or Sink Come from the Drains

If you see a spider in your sink or bathtub, you might assume that it came up from the drain. This isn't true, and there aren't masses of spiders waiting to crawl out of your pipes.

Drains are inhospitable environments for spiders, and few, if any, choose to make their home here. Most likely, spiders that appear in these areas come from somewhere else in your home in search of water.

14. Myth: People Swallow Spiders When They Sleep

Most people have heard at some point that the average person swallows several spiders every year, accumulating to hundreds or even thousands in one's lifetime. This is little more than a tall tale, and most spiders never find their way into anyone's ear, nose, or throat.

For someone to swallow a spider while they were asleep, a series of highly unlikely events would have to occur all at once for a spider to get from its hiding spot into their mouth.

15. Myth: Spiders Hurt Your Home

Unlike carpenter ants, termites, and other wood-boring insects, spiders don't do any real damage to the structure of your home.

Their habitats aren't destructive, and most spiders stay out of the way, bothering nobody as they collect and kill other potentially more harmful pests.

This makes it impractical to use heavy pesticides or chemical repellents. Not only are these ineffective, they can be harmful to your family. Getting rid of spiders in your house is more for your comfort than it is to remove any danger to your home.

Keep Spiders Away with Buzz Boss

Even though most spiders don't pose any threat to your home or your family, you may still want to keep them away from your space. This can be hard to do with conventional treatments like insecticides since arachnids' long legs lift their bodies off the ground and keep them away from the poison.

Buzz Boss offers comprehensive pest control services that can help eliminate spider infestations and prevent them from coming back. Even though most spiders are harmless, we can still discourage them from coming around, so you can enjoy a spider and insect-free home.

Contact us today to get rid of spiders in and around your home or to learn more about our proprietary pest management methods.

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