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November 6, 2016 - My Vote's for Spiders

Marbled cellar spider (Holocnemus pluchei) eating a mosquito.  Solano County, California. Stock Photo ID=SCE0277
Look, I get it. They skitter around on all those hairy legs, Hollywood movies vilify them, and stories have been passed down through the ages warning of the dangers that spiders pose to humans. The things is, very few of these portrayals are based on truth. Have you heard the one about daddy longlegs being the most venomous spider in the world, but with fangs too short to bite you? How about people eating 8 spiders per year in their sleep, spiders laying eggs in our faces, or the brown recluse making its way to California? All hoaxes. But spiders do bite people all the time, right? I'm 35 years old and spend much more time around spiders than the average person, but to the best of my knowledge, I have never been bitten by one. Sure, most of us have found unexplained red bumps and attributed them to spiders, but that's far from scientific evidence. Although it's possible that spiders were involved, insect bites and various skin infections are much more likely. If we were all completely honest, I think very few of us could say we've personally seen a spider in the act of biting someone.
Western black widow spider (Latrodectus hesperus) eating a bee.  Solano County, California.  Stock Photo ID=SPI0203
On the other hand, I bet everyone who's old enough to read this post can say with absolute certainty that they've been bitten by mosquitoes. In addition to the unsightly bumps and maddening itchiness, mosquitoes are known carriers of many serious viruses. Well, guess what — spiders eat mosquitoes! Ever been stung by a bee or yellow jacket? Spiders eat them, too. Don't like flies in your house or aphids in your garden? Without spiders, there would be even more. The truth is that spiders help to control the population of true pests and are actually quite beneficial. I'm not saying that you should let your kids play with black widows, but maybe it's not such a bad idea to leave those webs above your doorway alone or put that slipper away when a friendly house spider makes its way across your bedroom wall. So in this crazy election season and always, I urge you to ignore the lies and mudslinging, and give spiders a chance.
Daring jumping spider (Phidippus audax) giving a "salute."

This message has not been endorsed by any arthropod seeking office or any organization controlled by an arthropod seeking office.

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