Let’s shine some light on these useful crawlers
A high pitched shriek rips through the air and everyone comes running. They arrive just in time to see a pale faced woman and a frightened jumping spider. We have all been part of a scenario similar to this in some way or another. When you see a spider what is your reaction? Do you put it outside using a glass and a piece of paper, or do you step on it? If you are afraid of spiders feel comforted because you are not alone. Many people tend to be uncomfortable sharing space with these eight-legged creatures. Often fear is born from misconceptions, misinformation, and fear of the unknown. Here is some information that I hope will shine some light on these useful crawlers.
Did you know spiders rarely bite? In fact, spiders in our homes are actually helping to keep pest populations down. The ‘helper’ spiders consume pests such as, mosquitoes, ear wigs, hobo spiders, mites, fleas, silverfish, flies, clothes moths, and more. The ‘helper’ spiders, namely the jumping variety and others are generally called ‘house spiders’. It is important to mention that these ‘helpers’ are no danger to people or pets! The keen eyed jumping spider is known for its acrobatics and can catch flies in mid-air. When observed under a magnifying glass, some say their enormous round dark eyes give them a cute puppy eyed look. I realize this may be a stretch for some to agree with.
The big Wolf spider is occasionally seen running across the floor and causing freak outs as it tries to take cover. It is rare, but they can bite. According to my research the bite is harmless yet it is always a good idea to get checked out by a doctor if there is a reaction. Overall, the Wolf spiders are great at keeping pests down, that is if you can handle a big slightly furry creepy crawler that is active at night while you are asleep.
In contrast to the benign presence of House spiders there is the Black Widow found throughout the Kelowna area. Black widows are the most venomous spider in Canada and can be very dangerous, especially to small children and the elderly with compromised immune systems. Black Widows are relatively easy to identify, as they are shiny and black with a bulbous abdomen. The clincher is the bright red hourglass or dot on its underside. They like wood piles and sheds so wearing gloves while working should prevent any bites. Black Widows are non- aggressive and only bite if cornered or harassed.
Another spider to be aware of is the non- aggressive brown Hobo spider. It can bite but it is unclear of what harm is caused. This is due to the extremely low incidence of bites and wrong identification. Wolf spiders and Jumping spiders are helpful in keeping them down as they eat Hobo spiders.
- Always get a spider bite checked out by a doctor and try to bring the spider in a jar to be identified
- Contrary to popular belief, there are no Brown Recluse spiders in B.C. or in all of Canada
- Keep screens in good shape and seal all potential entry points this will help keep unwanted spiders and bugs out
- Learn more about spiders to help feel more comfortable about them
-Article by Flora McLeod