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What do Spiders Eat – The Diet of a Common House Spider

Would you ever set the table for a spider? Of course not! But you might be surprised to find out you’ve been inviting spiders inside your home without even knowing it. If your home contains any of a spider’s favorite foods, can you blame them for coming in?

You may think, “I don’t care what spiders like, I don’t like them, and I never want to see one!” Knowing what a spider likes will give you a leg up when it comes to keeping them away. Find out what kind of food attracts spiders, so you can make sure your home stays spider free.

Common House Spider Diet:

Before we talk about what spiders eat, we should talk about the types of spiders you’re most likely to encounter in your home. Common house spiders include:

  • Yellow Sac SpiderWhere spiders live.
  • Black House Spider
  • Brown House Spider
  • Domestic House Spider
  • Hobo Spider
  • Common Cellar Sider
  • Common House Spider
  • Black Widow Spider
  • Brown Recluse Spider
  • Wolf Spider

Most of the spiders you come across are harmless. Spiders generally prefer to lead solitary lives, avoiding human interaction. If you do encounter a dangerous spider, knowing how to react and when to seek medical attention can help you prevent or avoid serious harm or injury.

What spiders eat:

Almost every spider is a predator. Most spider food is made up of insects, but there are some larger exotic spiders which can eat small animals such as lizards, frogs, rodents or birds.

Common house spiders – the ones you’re most likely to encounter – eat insects that you don’t want to find around your house. Spiders are the original pest control pros, and they’re doing you a favor by catching flies, mosquitoes, moths and other insects in their webs. Collectively, spiders eat hundreds of millions of tons of insects each year. Can you imagine what the world would be like without spiders helping us to get rid of bugs?

Spider eating habits:

Spiders don’t need to eat often, and can survive weeks without food. However, if food (insects) is plentiful, spiders will eat frequently. Spiders get the moisture they need from their food, but they tend to hang out near water sources because that attracts their prey.

You’re probably familiar with spider webs, which spiders use for catching insects to eat. You may be surprised to learn that spiders don’t have teeth though, and they can’t eat the way you or I do.

In addition to their eight legs, spiders have two small appendages near their mouth that are called pedipalps. The pedipalps hold a spider’s prey in place while the spider bites it with its fangs. The fangs inject venom into the insect that liquefy its insides. Then the spider is able to drink its meal like a powerful protein shake. After a spider is done eating, the insect may look normal to you, but all that remains is an empty exoskeleton.

How to get rid of spiders:

As you can see, spiders aren’t attracted to the foods we eat. However, our food can attract the insects that spiders eat. The best way to get rid of spiders is to get rid of their food source.

If you still think sharing your home with a spider is not for you, click below to find out how to get rid of spiders. You can use what you have learned here to prevent spiders and other household pests without bringing harmful chemicals into your home. Natural pest control and prevention is safe and effective, plus it’s friendly to people, pets and the planet.

Shop Stay Away®

31 responses to “What do Spiders Eat – The Diet of a Common House Spider”

  1. I can’t find it “on the web,” pardon my pun, but it seems obvious to me–since my flat almost never has insects in it, but I do find spiders periodically–that what spiders are eating is me.

    I have read that spiders eat their webs when they lose stickiness and spin new ones. Obviously flakes of house dust stick to them, and house dust has its fluffy characteristic instead of the sandiness of street dust because of skin flakes which we shed constantly. But I can’t document this.

  2. I have a video of a spider very clearly eating spaghettios. Apparently no one else knows that they enjoy them and I feel like you guys don’t really know anything about spiders lol

  3. I am looking after a common house spider (please don’t laugh) and I have fed it crickets daily, which it has eaten, but, looking at what you have said, I may be overfeeding it. Will it keep eating even if it’s not hungry and, if so, is that dangerous? How much food does it need and are crickets nutritious?

    • Zac,
      We would never laugh, house spiders are the original pest control experts! However, we are not experts in the care and keeping of pet spiders. My guess is that the spider will stop eating if it is not hungry and you don’t need to worry about overfeeding it, but you may be better off consulting with a pet shop.
      Thanks for commenting!

      • I feed those cellar spiders, and had fed one ever since tiny barely could see since birth, now it’s the biggest cellar spider out of any invited cellars having about 10 full sized thru my hallway, and an interesting fact is after that spider gave about 4 batches of eggs thru its mouth, it no longer could produce eggs that can hatch anymore as (false eggs) over time I’ve fed it a brown widow spider, German roaches including ones with eggs sacs attach to their behinds, and moths, feeding 1/2’s-wk, & once had ant trail luring odd ant really sticks in the cellars web which started acting like a huntsman darting too/throw finding that the cellars abdomen gets really shiny from sucking ants, only then the ants greeting feelers get knowing their odd abductees! That’s where the ants end up calling their soldiering assemblies off to going home out of mine.

  4. Ugh I just hate spiders! I’m trying to find away around my fear because I freak out when I see them. It’s got to the point where my parents won’t get them for me anymore so I have to deal with all of the bugs that bother me. I’m thinking about keeping a house spider as a pet for a little while. I’m researching what they eat and drink just now. They are really interesting but I just can’t help being scared of them. I think it’s their legs. What do you think about my idea of keeping one and then setting it free? It is supposed to help your phobia anyways. Oh yeah I am living with my parents because I’m 13 turning 14 •^•.

    • Hi Kennedy,
      I think it’s great that you’re doing research and trying to overcome your fear! I used to feel the same way, but now that I’ve learned more about spiders, I feel like they are our friends because they eat bad bugs that bite us like mosquitoes, and they don’t actually bite people as often as you may think. You may be able to find other ways to change the way you think about spiders too, like getting to know Lucas The Spider, or checking out some photos of cute spiders. In the meantime, maybe your parents would be willing to order some Stay Away Spiders for you; our plant-based spider repellent is safe to use in the home and will bring you peace of mind.
      Thanks for reading and commenting Kennedy!

  5. Iv got a spider on my wall and it’s been here for more than 4 days. Iv grown very fond of it. But it hasnt eaten so I was trying to find out away on what it could eat around the house. But nothing.. I leave my window open all the time so insects could come in for the spider to eat but still nothing.

    • Hi Mildred,
      Spiders are amazing little creatures, aren’t they? I wouldn’t worry about the spider not eating, they are very resourceful and will find food when they need it. It’s very kind of you to have such concern for our eight legged friends.
      Thanks for reading!

  6. I absolutely love spiders these days. Any time I ever kill one it makes me want to cry almost because ‘what if all the coins we find around the house are spiders actually just trying to pay their rent?’ ? its their house to and probably have lowkey been seeing you as their big brother or a pops.

    • Hi Harley,
      I know exactly how you feel! Keeping a pouch of Stay Away Spiders around is like a lowkey eviction notice so you don’t have to kill the little guys, just send them onto greener pastures.
      Thanks for reading!

  7. We have an infestation of spiders in our garage that are the size of your palm, not harry like a tarantula, yet not smooth and shiny like a black widow either. They are not afraid of humans, on the contrary they walk towards you if you get close to them, not away. And we’ve caught them literally eating mice! They are the color of a brown recluse obviously much larger without the markings. Is there a email where where we could send got a photo and maybe have it identified?

    • Hi Charles,
      That sounds very interesting! We would love to see your photos, please feel free to share on Facebook or Instagram and tag us @earthkindinc. For accurate identification, your best bet would be to check with a local pest control professional or your county’s Ag Extension office since they would be better acquainted with common species in your area.
      Thanks for reading!

  8. we have a little spider in the corner of our kitchen who waits patiently in her web in the corner by the sink. Her name is Rose. I have thrown a few critters ( sowbugs , ants ) her way , but then I am consumed with guilt. How long can she go without eating ?? I am feeling as though I had better go and bag something for her again . ( I feel a Roald Dahl story coming on here ) Any advice ??

    • Hello Patricia,

      How kind of you to feed your little friend! I’m sure Rose appreciates your gifts, but don’t feel bad if you can’t provide regular meals. Spiders, especially those that tend to live indoors—can go long periods without food or water. They are adept at living in conditions found in the home, like irregular food and water supply. In fact, depending on the species, some spiders can live anywhere from 4-8 weeks to several months without food or water.

      I hope this helps!

      Thanks for sharing.

  9. Between my window and screen, there is a spider trapped. Been there a long time and I have never seen anything it could eat. Last night the temp was below freezing. Not sure I can remove the screen from outside to release it. What are its chances of living? I’m concerned for it.

    • Hi CB,
      It really depends on the species of the spider as house spiders are usually not the same species as the spiders you see outdoors. Indoor spiders, for example, can go long periods without food or water. They are adapted to living in conditions found in the home, like irregular food and water supply. In fact, depending on the species, some spiders can live anywhere from 4-8 weeks to several months without food or water. And as far as temperature, since spiders are cold-blooded, they are not attracted to warmth, nor do they get uncomfortable in the cold—they just become less active, and eventually dormant. In fact, most spiders can endure temperatures as low as -5° C or lower. Spiders are more resilient than many of us realize!
      Thanks for sharing!

  10. Hi Rita,

    I found a source online that says spiders consume 400 to 800 million tons of insects per year. This is quite different than your claim of them eating hundred of billions of tons per year. I just want to know what the right answer is. Thank you.

    • Hi Peter!

      Based on a quick review of current research, 400 to 800 million tons appears to be correct. The post has been updated to reflect this, thanks for paying attention to the details! Either way, spiders sure do eat a lot of annoying (and dangerous) insects!

      Thanks for reading!

    • Hi Jiaqi,

      What an interesting idea, we’d love to get an update about your fear of spiders. I hope things improve because they really are neat little creatures! Spider identification can be tricky, especially without more information and pictures. I would suggest checking with a local County Extension office for help identifying a spider in your area.

      Thanks for reading!

  11. Does anyone know what a common house spider eat that is human cooked/baked/grilled (or just made)or can foods. I have one and won’t let it roam around my house because my gf doesn’t want spiders around the house. My common house spider is a male and not even the size of a dime and I can’t find live prey because of winter (well you should know that because the date I posted it) Any ideas.

    • Hi Steven,

      Based on my research, spiders only eat other insects. Larger spiders may eat small animals like lizards, etc… but that doesn’t sound like it would apply to your little house spider. Perhaps a pet store would sell small insects as feed for other pets?

      Thanks for reading!

  12. I found a tiny spider in my office who has spun a web under the arm of one the chairs. It is winter here and I wonder if I re-hydrated a mealworm (I have a package for the winter bird-feeding time) and cut it in a tiny portion, whether the spider could eat or not? I think I will also put her/him? in a large glass container with twigs, leaves, etc. as she may not be able to do well with clients in and out around that chair.

    • Hi there!

      How kind of you think of relocating and feeding your eight-legged friend! I’m not sure if a re-hydrated and cut up mealworm would work for the spider, but perhaps there is an office plant where you could relocate the spider? Spiders are very skilled at staying out of the way and finding enough food to eat when left to their own devices.

      Thanks for reading!

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