Most of us know what Arachnophobia is, the fear of spiders. Movies have been made, Halloween decorations sold, and sleep lost because of these strange, multi-eyed, eight legged creatures. It’s hard to know why they, more than many of the other beetles and creepy- crawlies bother us so much. We have the size advantage, after all, and most of them aren’t poisonous (to us). Maybe it’s their jerky, unpredictable movement when they dart out from under something. Or maybe it’s just the fact that whether you are inside or outside, you never know when you might see one. Whatever the reason, it’s fair to say that most of us have had an unsettled moment or two (or two million) around spiders.
No blog entry is going to change anyone’s mind, but if you can get past the creepy feelings, spiders can actually be appreciated. Remember, they don’t sit in the garden waiting for a human to come by so they can pounce. They would rather stay away from us. After all, when we pass by, we are scaring away all the bugs and things that they would like to eat, so we are a nuisance in their world. But they are quite helpful to ours. They will eat anything that gets trapped in their web, and that means mosquitoes, wasps, earwigs, flies, and even slugs, sometimes. For us, that means fewer wasps buzzing around the picnic table, mosquitoes biting us at dusk, slug trails and eaten Hostas, and flies hovering around the barbecue, to name just a few benefits. That’s a lot of good just from letting a few spiders hang out in the garden.
With spiders eating harmful bugs, that also means that we can use fewer pesticides in our gardens and maybe even do away with chemicals altogether. Which, in turn, means that we can enjoy the garden even more without worrying about children or pets getting into things they shouldn’t. Plus, it just plain feels good.
And let’s not forget spider webs on a dewy summer morning. It’s hard not to admire the silky threads, arranged so perfectly.
Because we are not immune to arachnophobia ourselves, we are going to refrain from posting pictures of spiders that will make your skin crawl. Instead, please enjoy a couple of spiderweb photos, and next time you see a spider, try to remember that it’s actually one of the good guys… before backing slowly away.