Anytime we see spiders, our immediate reaction is to run the other way, call the exterminator, or stomp them into oblivion. But not all spiders are bad. Actually, there are a few native to our area that are helpful, and a few that seem big and scary but are more afraid of you. Here is A Spider’s Plea in this years’ rendition of Please, Don’t Kill Me!
“Hi! It’s me — the big spider you’ve seen around. I know most people are afraid of me, but please hear me out! My name is Argiope Aurantia, but I go by Golden Orb Weaver. I am known for creating the stereotypical wheel-like spider webs. I like to stay active during the day so that I can be beneficial to you at night. You see, I might look scary, but I can help out around the house if you would allow me to stay. I eat aphids, flies, wasps, mosquitos, and other harmful bugs. Did you know that spider silk has been proven to be the strongest natural material? It is strong, flexible, and elastic all at the same time, which is why humans test it for bulletproof clothing. You may never let me inside, but please don’t kill me.”
“Don’t be afraid! I get it, too, humans. I look frightening because they think I am a brown recluse, but I am not. I am hairless with a big yellow-brown belly and dark-red legs. My name is Dysdera Crocata, but my friends call me the Woodlouse Hunter Spider. Trust me, I am not a pest. Actually, I control pests for you! My favorite things to eat are isopods, or better known as roly-polies, and woodlice. I like to hang out under rocks, bricks, or plant pots. If you try to pick me up, I might bite, but you won’t need to go to the doctor. If you leave me alone, I won’t bug you.”
“Hello there! Don’t freak out. You think I am a daddy longlegs, but I am not a ground dweller like those guys. I actually prefer the corners of ceilings, the garage, and dark, damp places. My name is Pholcus Phalangioides, or Long-bodied Cellar Spider. Yes, I have long, thin legs but my body is small and oval. I am pale yellowish to light brown in color. I’m good for you. I like to eat insects and other spiders. I play a major role in our ecosystem, and I only live for a few years. So please don’t hurt me. If I cant stay inside, just scoop me up and put me outside. I promise I won’t bite, because I can’t. I am not strong enough to puncture human skin. Friends?”
“Shhhh, don’t scream. Hello! My name is Menemerus Bivittatus, also known as the Grey Wall Jumping Spider. I know you see me. I am hiding from you because I am very shy and don’t like to get close to humans. I will jump away from you. Jumping and dancing are my favorite things to do. I tap my feet so quickly you won’t even be able to see it! Although I produce silk, I don’t usually make webs. I have fangs and produce venom, but I am not a threat. If you leave me be, I’ll protect your garden from annoying bugs that eat your plants and vegetables. Aren’t you into organic gardening? Please let me stay!”