An estimated five percent of the US population deals with at least one phobia. Phobias, defined as an irrational fear of something, show themselves in different ways with different people. One of the most commonly cited phobias is arachnophobia, or a fear of spiders. People might not like spiders because they look creepy, they’re fast, and they can bite. However, today, I would like to make the (perhaps controversial) argument to not kill that spider you see in your living room.
Spiders are a vital component in our ecosystem. They are advantageous predators, meaning they will eat just about anything they find. This includes pests like cockroaches and mosquitoes. In other words, spiders aren’t just natural pest control, but an important part of the overall food web. Humans benefit when spiders can act as a strong component within a healthy food chain.
Just as one wouldn’t want to take predators away from any other part of the animal kingdom, so too should spiders be kept around, even if they’re not as “glamorous” as a shark or tiger.
Of course, this doesn’t mean spiders should run rampant in one’s house. While most spiders will disappear awhile after first being spotted – spiders are more fearful of humans than we are of them, believe it or not – the thought of this can scare even those without arachnophobia! If there’s a strong need to remove the spider immediately, and one feels capable of doing so, it’s best to trap the spider between a glass and piece of paper, as commonly portrayed. Then, the spider can be placed outside, without ever needing to touch it.
Gardens act as excellent places to release trapped spiders. Not only will the spider be back in its natural habitat, but the spider can eat away at pests that damage growing food. It’s truly a win-win situation for both spider and human.
Spiders have eight legs, eight eyes, but only one heart. Don’t crush it! Spiders are working every day to make our homes and planet a better place, so there’s no sense in killing them.
Written by Dax Emerson, Class of 2021
Photo Credits: Nareeta Martin on Unsplash