Garden spiders shouldn't give you the creeps

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Garden spiders shouldn't give you the creeps


Eight-legged arthropods help control insect populations

By Michael Womack
Posted October 30, 2009 at 2:02 p.m.

CORPUS CHRISTI - Halloween has given spiders a bad reputation, blowing them up to preposterous sizes and using them to induce fear. But people should have little reason to fear these eight-legged arthropods whose benefit of controlling pesky insect populations far outweigh dangers.

Spiders help keep pests like mosquitoes and flies in check by capturing them in their elegant webs before chowing down on them. If you ask me, I would rather have a spider biting into a mosquito than their bloodsucking prey feeding on me.

Out of the nearly 900 species of spiders in Texas, only two small groups - five species of recluse and four species of widow spiders - are considered poisonous to humans.

Most of these spiders are bashful, hiding during the day. If you are outside or working in a garden shed, be careful, especially when putting on shoes or reaching into dark places.

Surprisingly, the large visible spiders that look ominous in our gardens aren't the dangerous types. The best known is probably the tarantula, which hides during the day and ventures out to capture prey at night. Other smaller but equally hairy and ominous-looking spiders include wolf spiders and small hairy jumping spiders, but these pose no threat to humans.

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