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Spiders: The Beneficial Predator

Hello! This is Diane Alston, I’m an extension entomologist at Utah State University. And today I want to talk with you about spiders. Late summer and early fall is a peak time for spider activity. They are mating and laying eggs and getting ready to survive the winter.

Spiders are arachnids. This is a group that includes other eight-legged arthropods such as tics and mites and daddy long legs. Amazingly, there are over 600 species of spiders known to occur in Utah. So why do we care about spiders? They are actually very beneficial predators that feed on pest and non-pest insects. The majority of spiders and not of medical concern. The primary one in Utah is the black widow. There are no brown recluse spiders in Utah so don’t worry about those. There’s also no strong scientific evidence that the hobo spider, a common spider in Utah, causes necrotic or flesh-eating lesions.

Indoor management of spiders is best done by vacuuming, cleaning, sealing cracks and crevices around the home and putting up with spiders realizing that they are a beneficial predator. Another key trick you can use is putting out spider sticky traps around the baseboards of your rooms, especially in the basement. Pesticides are only recommended when there are outbreak situations or when medically important spiders such as the black widow are present. So enjoy the fall shuffle and enjoy the spiders out helping you control pests in your garden.