We here a lot of strange myths about spiders, so here is the 411 on some of them.
Myth #1: The average person swallows about eight spiders a year when sleeping.
This urban legend has become one of the most widespread rumors on the Internet. But, fear not – it’s false. According to Snopes.com, this myth was started when a columnist for a computing magazine wrote an article in 1993 about a list of outlandish “facts” that were circulating via email. In reality, it’s highly unlikely for a person to swallow even one live spider when sleeping.
Myth #2: People are never more than three feet away from a spider.
This myth originated in 1995 when arachnologist Norman Platnick wrote, “Wherever you sit as you read these lines, a spider is probably no more than a few yards away.” With more than 35,000 described species of spiders worldwide and about 3,000 in North America alone, there may be some truth to this statement. However, many people argue that it depends on where you are, for example, standing in a grassy area or on the top floor of a skyscraper.
Myth #3: All spiders spin webs.
The truth is not all spiders spin these silk structures, which are used to catch their prey. In fact, several species of spiders use different strategies for obtaining food. Wolf spiders, for example, catch their food by hunting, while jumping spiders pounce on their prey.
Myth #4:Daddy longlegs are one of the most poisonous spiders, but their fangs are too short to penetrate human skin.
This specific tale has been lurking around for years, but it’s completely false. Think about it – how can a spider inject venom into the human body if its fangs are too short to pierce skin tissue? Arachnologists at the University of California said, “There is no reference to any pholcid spider [read “daddy-long-legs”] biting a human and causing any detrimental reaction… Furthermore, there are no toxicological studies testing the lethality of pholcid venom on any mammalian system.”
Myth #5: All spiders are dangerous.
Spiders have lived amongst humans for centuries and most species don’t harm humans; in fact, many species are beneficial to the environment. Spiders are predators, feeding mainly on insects, so they help to reduce the amount of pests in homes and gardens. While it’s true that all spiders have a venomous bite, only a few species are medically dangerous.
There are many misconceptions about spiders that give them a bad rap. However, it’s important for homeowners to take preventative steps to keep the more dangerous species from gaining access to homes during the winter months. We recommend storing clothes and shoes in plastic containers, sweeping away webs around the home, and removing clutter from basements, attics and garages.