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Fall facts about spiders

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  In late October, our thoughts may turn to arthropods, such as spiders. What are some of the important spider facts for Utah?

  • All spiders are beneficial in the sense that they are predators on other spiders and insects. Although they don’t distinguish between pest or beneficial prey, spiders can be credited with providing substantial biological control in the arthropod world.

  • Spider use their venom in self-defense and in overcoming prey; however, there are few species of spiders in Utah that deliver venomous bites to humans.

  • Major spider species of medical concern in Utah include

    • The black widow – these spiders produce ‘messy’ webs and live in secluded locations, such as the corner of your garage or inside utility or irrigation boxes – they are disinclined to bite humans unless threatened.

    • The hobo spider, purported to cause necrotic, or flesh-eating, bites has little evidence to support these claims.

    • The yellow sac spider is a common home occupant, walking on walks and ceilings. They can cause a painful bite to humans that leaves a red bump. They are most likely to bite when trapped in clothing or linens that come in contact with your skin.

Fall is a high time for spider activity as animals, in general, shuffle to prepare for winter, and spiders are no exception. Many spiders overwinter as eggs, and females seek protected locations to lay their egg sacs. Other spiders overwinter as adults in cracks and crevices and indoor nooks and crannies. Look for the beautiful orb-weaving spiders in fall, as well as the ground-hunting wolf spiders, and adorable jumping spiders on your window sill. Enjoy these beneficial predators that reside in the world of small creatures.