Why you should never kill a spider in your home

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An American researcher warns against a seemingly harmless act: killing a spider. Sometimes the eight-legged critters seem repulsive, but in everyday life, they greatly help us.

“Stop the Massacre!”: American entomologist Matt Bertone sounds the alarm and publishes a plea for the protection of… Spiders! It was published on The Conversation site, and it is a proper eulogy to our eight-legged friends.

“Don’t kill the next spider you see in your home,” urges Matt Bertone, who immediately provides arguments for this, even if they seem very surprising at first glance: “Why? Because spiders are an important part of nature and also of its internal ecosystem – they are our friends,” explains the expert. You have to admit that these little animals, which often seem – let’s face it – quite repulsive, provide us with valuable services.

Among other things, spiders catch and devour certain harmful insects that might otherwise invade our homes. Most of the inhabitants of the spider webs that sometimes hang from the ceilings of our homes are neither aggressive nor dangerous, and sometimes they even rid us of their fellow spiders.

Unintentional invasion

As the specialist points out, their invasion of our homes is often neither deliberate nor final. Some spiders end up in homes unintentionally and become trapped when we lock the front door. They then take the next best opportunity to get back outside. This is because, for many spiders, life outdoors is more comfortable.

To study the lives of arachnids in more detail, Matt Bertone and his colleagues took pictures of spiders in about 50 houses in North Carolina in the USA.

Their goal is to analyze species diversity in urban and suburban zones. The results of their research are telling. Of the 50 houses they visited, there wasn’t one that didn’t have spiders living in it.

As for food, spiders are known to be not picky and eat any amount of insects found in households. Among other prey, spiders have a preference for mosquitoes. They catch these insects in their webs made of silk, saving us from their bites.

In Africa, some species can even choose among mosquitoes that are full of blood, that is, the females, as shown by a study conducted in 2005 and published in PNAS.

In general, it is clear from the study that spiders rid us of pests that, in addition to being scary, can also transmit diseases. “So if you kill a spider, it not only costs the spider its life, but it can also deprive your home of an important hunter,” warns Matt Bertone.

And spiders are not lying low. According to a study published in 2017, approximately 25 million tons of spiders live on our planet, eating between 440 and 880 million tons of insects per year.

Proof of a healthy home

Although discovering a spider’s web disgusts or even panics some people, it is by no means a sign of poor hygiene, as is often assumed. On the contrary, arachnids are very meticulous about their environment, which makes them a sign that a home is healthy.

So, if spiders choose your abode, it is neither warm nor humid. If you encounter them in your yard, the same goes for it: it’s healthy and not contaminated with pesticides or other chemicals.

Put spiders outside
As scary as they may seem, it’s important to remember that spiders are generally harmless. We are a much greater danger to them than they are to us. For people who have a phobia of spiders, the easiest and most peaceful solution is to move the eight-legged creatures outside, as Matt Bertone explains:

If you can’t stand that spider in your home, garage, or wherever, try trapping it and taking it outside rather than killing it. It will find a new place, and both parties will be happy.
We had better learn to live with these roommates instead of killing them because they are well-disposed toward us…. at least most of them! If you’re afraid of spiders, we have a few tips to keep our animal friends alive and make you feel completely relaxed.

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