Spiders have an ominous, but often undeserved reputation. Though most spiders are venomous and considered predators, of the thousands of species found in Canada, only a select few are actually considered a health threat. In fact, spiders are helpful in controlling other pests in the home or garden since they feed on other insects.
Spiders are widely recognized for their tiny bodies and 8 legs. Spiders have 2 body regions: cephalothorax (head and thorax fused) and their abdomen. The venom of most species is not very toxic to humans, usually resulting in no more than slight swelling, inflammation, or an itching sensation. In most cases, spider’s fangs are too small or weak to puncture human skin. Spiders will usually not attempt to bite unless accidentally trapped against the skin or grasped. Spiders actively guarding egg sacs or young however, tend to bite and attack more.
Spiders generally bite and inject venom into their prey, which is how they kill their meals. Spiders are often found in secluded, undisturbed areas. They are mostly active at night.
Female spiders usually lay 2 dozen to several hundred eggs in egg sacs. These baby spiders grow by shedding their skin often 4 to 12 times before reaching maturity. Most live for 1-2 seasons, although a few can live as long as 20 years.
Ways you can avoid spiders gathering in your home are:
- Shaking out any clothing and shoes before getting dresses
- Inspect bedding and towels before use
- Wear gloves when handling firewood, lumber, and rocks
- Avoid using bed skirts, as spiders will be more likely to hide under beds where it is dark
- Avoid storing boxes and other items underneath beds
- Seal or caulk cracks and crevices where spiders can enter the home