Spiders are the Great White Shark
of the pest kingdom. The unwarranted fear they instill can be
attributed to Hollywood type myths and the notoriety of a few
harmful species like the Brown Recluse or the Black Widow. In
fact, most spiders are extremely beneficial, preying on other
insects and often reducing pest populations in our buildings,
yards, and gardens. Most spider venom is not harmful to humans.
Many cannot pierce human skin with their small weakened fangs;
those that do usually result in only a slight itching or
irritation of the bite. Spiders do not eat solid foods, but inject
a digestive fluid into their prey that dissolves the tissue that
the spider can then digest. This is important when comparing the
bites of certain spiders.
Spiders are not insects. They are distinguished by having 8 legs
instead of 6. Spiders are opportunistic predators. They spin webs
to capture prey, lie in wait for prey to come within easy striking
distance, while others will actively search for prey.
While there are many common species of spiders in the Pacific
Northwest, only a few are of concern. These are the Black Widow,
Brown Recluse, Hobo or Aggressive House spider and the Giant House
spider. Black widows are found east of the Cascades, not west of
the mountains and Brown Recluse spiders are located in the central
Midwest region of the country. Although Black widows and Brown
recluse are not found here in western Oregon they could be
transported here. If that happened they would not flourish and
survive for any length of time.
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