Did you hear about the flying spiders in Houston? Turns out, they were just ballooning. What’s that? Ballooning, sometimes called kiting, is when young, newly hatched spiderlings move through the air by releasing one or more threads to catch the wind, causing them to become airborne. This is primarily used by spiderlings to disperse as they are so light at that stage; however, older spiders have been observed doing so as well. Like in Houston.
It sounded terrifying, though, didn’t it? Kind of glad it’s not true. Spiders just don’t need to be flying out there. Arachnophobia is a real thing, but in the grand scheme of things, spiders do a lot of good. Western Pest Services helps keep them out of your home mostly because they weren’t invited in but also because we think they need to be out in nature, helping the ecosystem.
Here are just two ways they help:
They help control the insect population
Spiders eat lots of insects, mostly those smaller than themselves. Because spiders live almost everywhere, the most important thing they do is controlling insect populations all over the world, many of which are pests. Since many species of spiders live over the winter, they can help reduce insect numbers early in the agricultural season, giving farmers, horticulturalists, and gardeners a leg up on the season. Spiders also kill other arachnids and spiders – even those of the same species – which helps keep their own numbers in check. Unfortunately for the spiders, they are also an important food source for a variety of birds, lizards, wasps, and, especially in deserts, mammals.
They help people
Chemicals harvested from spider venom help to control and treat several diseases. Likewise, spider silk, which has proved to be the strongest natural material on earth, molecularly, has inspired mechanical engineering to new heights – not to mention inspiring one of the best superheroes of all time. In Ancient Chinese culture, spiders were called “ximu”, or happy insect. It was believed to be particularly lucky if they dropped down from the ceiling, as if they were descending from heaven. That’s definitely a glass half full way to look at that. There’s also an old East European folktale suggesting spiders were the inspiration for tinsel on Christmas trees. The story goes that a poor hardworking widow had bought her children a Christmas tree but couldn’t afford to decorate it. On Christmas Eve the children went to bed sad that they wouldn’t have a decorated Christmas tree. When they awoke, the tree was covered with cobwebs that shimmered in the sunlight. Hence, tinsel was born. We don’t even care if it’s true. It made us smile.
Even if you aren’t into folklore, comic books, or ancient cultures, you can certainly appreciate spiders helping to control the insect population. If you didn’t call Western to deal with your mosquitoes, then you can thank a spider if your backyard isn’t swarming with them. If you have a garden and bugs haven’t eaten your tomato plants, thank a spider. If you had a really great month of luck… you could probably thank a spider, but who knows?
As helpful as spiders are, you don’t want them in your home and an infestation of anything isn’t good. The fact that they are inside in the warmer months at all could mean that you have another pest problem. After all, they are feeding on something. Whether it’s spiders or whatever pest the spiders are feeding on, we can help. So, give Western Pest Services a call today so we can escort them out and back into the ecosystem – where they belong.
Looking for more information about spiders? Check out our other blog posts: