That may not help with severe cases of arachnophobia, but fear and respect aren’t mutually exclusive. The more we know about these misunderstood housemates, the less fodder we have for misguided phobias. In hopes of clearing house spiders’ name, here are eight interesting facts that might persuade you to put down the shoe, pick up a magnifying glass and give peace a chance.
Instead, he adds, they probably just got stuck while looking for water. “House spiders are thirsty creatures living in a very water-poor environment, and any that venture near a sink or tub with drops of water in it will try to reach the water, often by climbing down a wall. Once in the slick-sided porcelain basin, they are unable to climb back out unless a helpful human ‘lends them a hand.'”
Spiders in general don’t deserve their scary reputation. They rarely bite people, and even when they do, most species’ venom causes only moderate and short-lived effects. That’s true for the vast majority of house spiders, which have no incentive to bite anything they can’t eat unless they think it’s a matter of life or death.
“House spiders prey on insects and other small creatures,” Crawford writes. “They are not bloodsuckers, and have no reason to bite a human or any other animal too large for them to eat. In any interaction between spiders and larger creatures like humans, the spiders are almost always the ones to suffer.”
Sealing potential entry points may not affect house spiders, since they don’t sneak in from outside, but it could limit incursions by other spiders. And if it also prevents insects from getting inside, it may indirectly reduce your house spiders by limiting their food supply. Various myths suggest house spiders are repelled by osage orange, horse chestnuts, or even copper pennies, but Crawford is doubtful.