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Five “Spooky” Spider Myths Squashed

Haunted houses are a lot of fun to go into during Halloween and I love the way so many of them are decorated with spiders and cobwebs.  

I remember one time when I went into one of these haunted houses, a lady opened the door and a big hairy tarantula on a string dropped down in front of her face. She was so terrified; I thought she was going to die!

Later that same night, we went into another room of this haunted house that was kind of dark. The people walking ahead of us didn’t know it, but there was a huge cobweb in front of them and they walked right into it – face first! Just then, a big black widow spider appeared with flashing red eyes. Oh, you should have heard everyone screaming!!

All of the spiders in this haunted house were fake, but that didn’t stop people from being scared out of their minds. It just goes to show you how so many of us are afraid of spiders.

One of the reasons why so many are afraid of spiders is because there is so much misinformation about these creatures out there. Here are five myths about spiders that we are going to squash:


Myth Number 1: Spiders are insects.

This is false! Spiders are members of the Arachnida group, and are quite different than insects. An Arachnid has four pairs of legs and two main body parts. Insects are members of the class Insecta and they have three pairs of

legs and three main body parts. Spiders don’t have wings. Some insects may have four, two, or no wings at all. It may also interest you to know that spiders have six to eight simple eyes, while insects have only two compound eyes.


Myth Number 2: All spiders make webs.

Not true! A web is a silken structure made to catch prey, and only about half of the known spiders catch prey by means of webs. Some spiders (wolf spider, jumping spider or sac spider) actively hunt for prey. Some others (trap door spiders and crab spiders) just sit and wait for prey to come to them.


Myth Number 3: All spiders are dangerous.

False! Most species of spiders do not harm humans, and they don’t feed on human blood. It may also surprise you to learn that most tarantulas are harmless. In the United States, the Brown Widow, the Black Widow, and the Brown Recluse are the only groups of spiders that pose a health threat to humans. You should also know that the Brown Recluse spider does not currently exist in California.


Myth Number 4: If you didn’t see what bit you, it was probably a spider.

Wrong! Spiders are frequently blamed for all kinds of bites, bumps, rashes, and growths that they likely had nothing to do with. The myth that spiders tend to bite

people when they least expect it, such as when they are lying in bed, has been circulating around for over a century. While it is possible for a person to be bitten by a spider in bed, it is very rare. Spiders are not like mosquitoes or ticks – they don’t feed on human blood.

The belief that spider bites are extremely common can be a potentially dangerous myth. The medical journal, Canadian Family Physician, states, “Many people misdiagnose spider bites, and the only way to be sure is to see the spider in action. Doctors need to know which kind of spider was involved in order to provide accurate treatment. Dermonecrosis, or death to skin tissue, is rarely caused by spider bites worldwide, and doctors should consider more likely causes for this condition.”


Myth Number 5: Daddy-longlegs spiders are dangerous.

Completely false! For years, many have spread the myth that daddy-longlegs spiders (known as cellar spiders) are among the most deadly spiders in the world. Their venom is said to be very toxic but their fangs are too short to bite through human skin.

Cellar spiders have extremely long-skinny legs and everyone has seen them in a basement, house or shed. They often make stringy webs and feed on small moths, flies, gnats and other creatures found indoors.

You’ll be happy to know that there are no proven and documented cases of cellar spiders biting humans. Also, there are no toxicological studies testing the lethality of their venom. Even if they could bite you, the dose of venom would be so small that it is doubtful any reaction would occur.

We hope that squashing these myths will give you a sense of relief. Again, the only spiders we really need to be concerned about in Orange County are the Black Widow and the Brown Widow spiders. If you’re having a problem with these spiders, call us at (949) 631-7348 and we’ll be happy to assist.