Spiders really get a bad rap with most people, one that they just don't deserve. Sure they're a little bit freaky: anything that looks that much like an alien invader is going to trigger revulsion and gossip. Perhaps that's why there is a wide range of weird and inaccurate spider myths that just aren't true. Debunking these myths should help you feel a little more comfortable in the presence of eight-legged friends.
Myth: Spiders Are Aggressive Biters
Reality: When many people see spiders crawling in their home, their first instinct is to fear getting bitten. After all, waking up with what appears to be spider marks on your skin is a common occurrence for many people. And spiders, such as the black widow and brown recluse, are notoriously poisonous.
However, spiders should also be considered notoriously shy. According to arachnologist Chris Buddle, "You really have to work to get bitten by a spider, because they don't want to bite you." Spiders don't suck the blood of humans and they avoid us like the plague due to our large size.
Most spider bites occur when the spider is surprised or pressed into self defense: not as they casually waltz across your body at night. Those so-called spider bites you wake up with in the morning? Most likely fleas or other blood sucking parasites.
Myth: People Swallow Spiders While Sleeping
Reality: Just about everybody has heard the old myth about how everyone swallows eight or more spiders a year while they sleep. This myth states that spiders mistake the mouth for a safe enclosure, crawl inside for protection, and are invariably swallowed.
However, this myth is busted when you consider the delicate sensibilities of the spider. The sound and vibrations of our night breathing triggers the "danger" instinct in spiders and drives them away. Beyond that, it also ignores the fact that most people would probably wake up with the sensation of a spider crawling across their face, let alone one snuggling up in their mouth.
Myth: Daddy Long Leg Spiders Are Extremely Poisonous
Reality: One of the most prevalent spider myths reported in recent years revolves around the relatively thin and frail daddy long leg spiders and their supposed dangerousness. This myth states that they are actually the most poisonous spiders on the planet. But thankfully, their fangs are much too short to penetrate human skin.
However, when this little theory was tested out, it just didn't hold up. First of all, the toxicity of the daddy long leg's venom was tested against that of the black widow and found to be much weaker. Secondly, a measurement of their fangs revealed that, while very small, they could definitely penetrate human skin. Busted!
While these myths about spiders aren't true, that doesn't mean you should let them invade your home. A few spiders are harmless, but if your home is overrun by hundreds, it might be time to call a pest control specialist like Affordable Pest Control Inc.