- Michael Perrino
What Do Spiders Eat?
Many believe that their homes are safely isolated from the outside world, but pests still have a way of lurking inside. One of the most common home invaders is the spider, an eight-legged arthropod or invertebrate creature ready to invade your home. Some are accidentally trapped, while others are unwanted visitors who are on the lookout for food.
What exactly do spiders eat? While these creepy crawlers are more of a predator, inclined to eat anything they can capture, spiders usually prey on nuisance pests and disease-carrying flies. This makes them beneficial insects.
What Do Common House Spiders Eat?
Many people often fear spiders because they don't want to get bitten. However, it's important to note that this arachnid’s diet doesn't include humans. These critters prefer to sustain themselves with insects. To be specific, web building spiders commonly consume flying insects such as flies, mosquitoes, moth, and butterflies, while larger spiders or adult spiders have been known to eat mealworms, snails, cockroach, and even small vertebrates like frogs, lizards, birds, and bats.
Meanwhile, hunting spiders (including the huntsman spider, wolf spider, yellow sac spider, brown recluse spider, and hobo spider), as their name suggests, lie in concealed areas and attack their prey using their venom as it comes near. Other spiders are very quick to run down, capture, and eat insects such as ant, bed bugs, roaches, crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles when they chance upon one. If you have a pet spider, these are also their spider food.
While most spider species don’t eat plant foods, there are a few that will eat on materials obtained from plant life. In the jumping spider group, there’s one species that gets ninety percent of its nutrients from Acacia tree leaves, found primarily in Central America. There are also species of water spiders that create their web underwater. The general food of choice for this spider is small fish.
Moreover, some species are known predators of silverfish, most commonly the spitting spider. In case of a silverfish infestation in your home, these spiders are beneficial insects to have around as their presence can help prevent it in the early stage. But if you’re dealing with heavy infestation, spiders won’t be able to handle it on their own.
Learn more: Identifying House Spiders
How Do Spiders Eat?
The cobwebs you find around your home, typically in walls, ceilings, nooks, and crannies, are the main way spiders capture their food. They spin webs to trap flying and crawling insects and whatever else they chance upon. Not all species of spiders trap their food this way, but a lot of the types you'll find around your home use this method. Other species depend on hunting-type techniques.
For spiders that hunt their prey, the first step in catching food is to find it. Spiders that sit outside their burrows and wait for some suitable organism to wander past (like a tarantula and wandering spider) rely on senses to tell them what’s happening. Spiders such as Cupiennius do hunt just as well with their eyes covered as with them working. However, spiders who actively look for prey and hunt it down (such as the wolf spiders and particularly the jumping spiders) rely massively on sight.
Once the prey is captured, it needs to be eaten, and spiders practice what we call external digestion. This happens when enzymes and other digestive juices are injected or spat into the prey's body. The soft tissues are broken down and sucked up by the spider. Perhaps for spiders, soup is the only thing on the selection. Lots of the orb-web spiders use the teeth on the basal segment of the chelicerae to mash their prey while they’re eating. Afterward, all that remains after the spider has finished feasting is a tiny, dark blob of the cuticle. Smaller spiders, such as the crab spiders, bite only a portion in the cuticle of their prey and suck the juices out through this.
Meanwhile, in one species of orb-web spider, the female spider actually starts cannibalizing the male spider while they mate. Though he’s getting eaten during the mating process, the male goes on with the mating ritual so that he can inseminate the female.
How Often Do They Eat?
Spiders don't need to eat frequently and can still survive weeks without food. But if insects are available, they’ll opt to eat frequently. They can feed up to four times a day. Although they obtain the moisture they need from food, water is still necessary. And if they choose to go without eating for a longer period, the water becomes even more essential, so they tend to stay near water sources because that invites their animal prey.
How to Prevent Spiders at Home
Ensuring that your house is tidy is unquestionably a good tactic to lower the number of pests in your place. In the situation of spiders, not only will a neat home give fewer places for them to hide and cultivate their egg sac, but it will also lessen the small insects that will be around for them to eat. Without a dependable food source and much fewer hiding spots, it will be a lot harder for them to stay.
To keep pests out, it’s also essential to remember these tips:
Storing firewood next to your home attracts wood-boring pests like spiders to enter your house. Always place firewood at least 3 feet away from your house and bring in only the amount you'll burn quickly. This will prevent pests that do come in on the firewood from crawling off and taking shelter in your home.
The edges of houses are perfect for widow spiders, as they can build nests underneath and protect their spider web. Always inspect these places and seal crevices using caulk.
Are there any garbage containers stored near your area? The residues of soda and other food products can attract flies and, in turn, spiders. Empty bottles and cans also make good homes for spiders, so make sure you empty your recycling boxes regularly.
Do you have piles of fabric, old paper, or other clutter near your home or in basements, garages, and attics? These can provide shelter for spiders, especially the common house spider. Regularly organize and tidy up these places to limit their attractiveness to spiders.
Keeping bright outdoor lights attract the insects that spiders feast on. Turn off the outside lights to stop spiders from coming near the house. Stop indoor lights from shining outdoors by using opaque blinds and shades. If you need to keep the lights on, use yellow sodium vapor lights as these are less likely to attract insects.
If basic home hygiene is ignored, the effects of other types of pest prevention will be incredibly short-lived as pests like a flying insect will soon be back, and in more significant numbers. Establish a regular cleaning schedule and stick to it. Be sure to include areas that are usually difficult to reach, like behind large kitchen appliances. In addition, make sure that all bathrooms in your home are kept clean.
While keeping your home clean will deter many would-be pests and in turn, prevent spiders, some are more stubborn and will still invade your property despite its cleanliness. This is where the power of the other pest control techniques will come into play. You wouldn’t want spiders near your home or family, especially the menacing ones, the recluse spiders, which have deadly spider venom.
Learn more: The Most Effective Spider Repellent to Try at Home
Handle a Spider Infestation the Right Way With Midway Pest Management
If you run into a spider more often than usual or believe that you have a spider infestation at home, it's more likely that you’re dealing with a more serious problem. Other pests might be breeding inside your dwelling. The most effective way to control spider and pest infestation is to call a professional pest control specialist to help identify and remove all of these unwanted lodgers.
At Midway Pest Management, we aim to resolve pest infestations safely and effectively. Contact us today and discover our top-notch pest control services. We offer a free inspection.