It doesn’t matter what you think of them…whether you keep a spider as a pet – or whether you run screaming into the street when you see one – the reality is that our world is full of spiders!

Spiders are actually good for the environment – they eat many insects we’d rather do without.  However, spiders themselves can be concerning, especially when we find them where we live! Many types of spiders call Middle Tennessee home, but we’ve highlighted a few of the most common and most concerning.

In general, spiders have eight legs and usually have eight eyes.  They are colored from tan to brown to black, and often have markings on their backs to increase their camouflage power.  That way, their own predators (mainly birds) can’t tell them apart from ground coverings.

Almost all spiders’ bites are venomous – that’s the only way for them to catch their food – but most spider bites are not dangerous to humans.  Their venom is made for creatures much smaller than we are!  When a spider bites its prey, it injects its venom to paralyze it.  Then it injects an enzyme to liquefy the insect’s flesh – since spiders can’t digest solid food, they need to drink their prey.  Gross, but kind of cool!

To catch their food, spiders either build webs or hunt.  The web builders don’t have very good eyesight, but they are extremely sensitive to vibrations.  Hunting spiders see quite well and are quick.

Scientists are looking into using spider venom in new medicines to treat diseases in humans.  Other scientists are experimenting with using spider venom as a less polluting insecticide, since their venom is deadly to insects but mostly harmless to people.

There are two dangerously venomous spiders that live in Tennessee – the brown recluse and the black widow.  You should use caution when dealing with these spiders; our U.S. Pest Pros know how to help if you find them in or around your home.

In general, there are several things you can do to limit spider visitors in your house:

  • Carefully capture and release them outside.
  • Dust and vacuum regularly, taking care to get spiders, webs and egg sacs.
  • Kill them with a fly swatter or other object (not your hand!).
  •  Put out sticky traps or glueboards.

Outside, use a water hose or broom to destroy webs around the house.  If you continue to do this, the spiders will usually give up and move elsewhere.

If you have any questions about a particular spider you see, or if you just want someone to look through your house for evidence of spiders, call U.S. Pest Protection for a Free Inspection, lots of great information, and outstanding customer service!