What do Spiders Eat – The Diet of a Common House Spider
By: Rita Stadler
The spiders you find in your home are considered the first line of defense when it comes to pest control. Most house spiders are carnivores and enjoy eating a variety of household insects like flies, cockroaches, earwigs, mosquitoes, fleas, moths, and ants. The type of diet they have depends a lot on the species as well. So think twice before immediately aiming to kill an unwanted spider because in some cases, they can be beneficial.
We often fear these pests in our home because we don’t want to get bitten, but thankfully, a spider’s diet doesn’t include humans. They also don’t bite as often as you may think. You might even be surprised to find out you’ve been contributing to their natural ecosystem, allowing them to thrive in your home without even knowing it. If your home contains any of their favorite foods, can you blame them for coming in?
Still, most would agree that your home is not a place where you want them to reside. Understanding their dietary habits and eliminating the kind of food that attracts them, is the best way to ensure your home stays spider free.
Before we talk about what they eat, we should talk about the types of spiders you’re most likely to encounter in your home. Common house spiders include Yellow Sac, Black House Spider, Brown House, Domestic, Hobo, Common Cellar Spider, Common House Spider, Black Widow, Brown Recluse, and Wolf Spider.
Most of the ones you come across are harmless and generally prefer to avoid human interaction and live their life alone. If you do encounter a dangerous type, knowing how to react and when to seek medical attention can help you prevent or avoid serious harm or injury.
What Do Common House Spiders Eat
Almost every spider is a predator. Most spider food is made up of insects, but there are some larger exotic types that can eat small animals such as crickets, grasshoppers, lizards, frogs, rodents, or birds.
The spiders that you’re most likely to encounter around your home are the ones that eat the insects that you don’t want to find around your house. They help with pest control by bringing balance to the ecosystem of your home 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 them helping us to get rid of bugs?
The cobwebs you find around your house are the main way spiders catch their meals. They spin webs to trap flying insects, creepy crawlers, and whatever else they can catch. Not all species trap their food this way, but many of the types you’ll find around your home use this method. Other species rely on hunting type methods.
House Spiders want to live indoors and remain undisturbed where they can easily find insects (food) and water. They’re a particular species of spiders that have evolved to spend their entire lives living indoors. Therefore, by sealing entry points in windows or doorways and staying on top of your spring cleaning by reducing clutter buildup around your home, you’ll reduce the number of insects that enter your home and limit a spider’s food source.
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How Often Do They Eat
Spiders don’t need to eat often and can survive weeks without food. However, if insects are available, they will eat frequently. They can eat up to 4 times per day. Although they get the moisture they need from their food, they do also need water. And if they go without eating for a while, the water becomes more necessary. Spiders also tend to hang out near water sources because that attracts their prey.
In addition to their eight legs, spiders have two small mouthpart appendages near their mouth that are called pedipalps. The pedipalps hold their prey in place while the spider bites it with its fangs. The fangs inject a digestive enzyme into the insect that liquefies its insides. Then the spider is able to drink its meal like a powerful protein shake. After they are done eating, the insect may look normal to you, but all that remains is an empty exoskeleton.
How to Prevent Them
As you can see, spiders aren’t attracted to the foods we eat. However, our food can attract insects that spiders eat. The best way to keep them away from your home is to get rid of their food source.
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.