Spiders: Fear vs. Fact


There have been several news reports recently of individuals putting themselves and others in harms way in an effort to avoid a spider. One man recently set a gas pump on fire because he saw a spider. You can view the video here. Sadly, a women jumped out of her moving vehicle to get away from a spider, leaving her 9 year old son in the car. The car then crashed into a school bus and the boy was injured. You can read that report here.

So why are people so afraid of spiders? What makes them scary enough to risk your life and the lives of others just to get away from them? Largely, humans’ fear of spiders stems from misconceptions and misrepresentation of the arachnid. Particularly, in Georgia, there are only two types are venomous spiders that are a danger to humans, the black widow and the brown recluse. Most of the large, scary looking spiders you see in Georgia are actually quite harmless. So let’s take a look at some common fears about spiders and then look at the facts.

Spiders in my house are a danger to my children and pets.

FACT: House spiders prey on insects and other small creatures. They have no reason to bite humans. It is highly unlikely that a person would be bitten by a spider more than once in a lifetime. Very few spiders have venom that could harm humans or pets.

Some spiders are deadly.

FACT: Death from a spider bite if left untreated happens less than 10% of the time. In North America, if you receive treatment after a venomous spider bites you it is virtually unheard of that it could cause death.

Black Widows are the most aggressive spiders.

FACT: Black Widows are actually very shy and try to avoid human contact. They will only bite if they feel threatened and cannot escape. If there is a way for them to escape, they would rather flee than bite you.

It is better to put a spider outside than to kill it when you find it in your home.

FACT: House spiders have adapted to the indoor climate and putting them outside will kill them almost immediately.

You swallow at least 4 spiders per year in your sleep.

FACT: This is an urban legend and has no scientific merit.

If you are scared of spiders, please do not set anything on fire or wreck your car! At American Pest Control our quarterly service includes spiders. Our technicians have a special tool called a “webster” that removes spider webs from your home. The products we use prevent new web construction and repels spiders. Our friendly customer service team will be happy to answer your questions and ease your mind when you call in to schedule your appointment!


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