What To Feed House Spiders?

Spiders in the House — Friend or Foe?

Spiders are among the most prevalent household pests, crawling their way into two out of three American homes. At the same time, the most common creature-based phobia in the world is arachnophobia, the fear of Spiders. So, when most homeowners spot one, they tend to employ the nearest form of DIY pest control –a vacuum or shoe.

But a few fearless folks adopt a live-and-let-live motto, hoping to enjoy some of the good that Spiders do. If seeing one dangling in a web or scurrying across the floor doesn’t make you shudder, you might want to share your home with a few.

One word of caution: It’s always best to avoid touching a Spider. While they never actively seek human contact, they will bite if they feel threatened or endangered. Their venom causes reactions that differ from species to species and person to person. Symptoms of a bite may include a stinging sensation, red mark, localized swelling or an injury requiring hospitalization. Consult your doctor if you have a concern.

Before you squish the next Spider you see, consider how this eight-legged wonder might improve your life.

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3 Ways Spiders Help In the House

1. They eat pests. Spiders feed on common indoor pests, such as Roaches, Earwigs, Mosquitoes, Flies and Clothes Moths. If left alone, Spiders will consume most of the insects in your home, providing effective home pest control.

2. They kill other Spiders. When Spiders come into contact with one another, a gladiator-like competition frequently unfolds –and the winner eats the loser. If your basement hosts common Long-Legged Cellar Spiders, this is why the population occasionally shifts from numerous smaller individuals to fewer, larger ones. That Long-Legged Cellar Spider, by the way, is known to kill Black Widow Spiders, making it a powerful ally.

3. They help curtail disease spread. Spiders feast on many household pests that can transmit disease to humans –Mosquitoes, Fleas, Flies, Cockroaches and a host of other disease-carrying critters.

Seasonal Appearances

Typical house Spiders live about two years, continuing to reproduce throughout that lifespan. In general, outdoor types reproduce at some point in spring and the young slowly mature through summer. In many regions, late summer and early fall seem to be a time when Spider populations boom and they seem to be strongly prevalent indoors and out.

In reality, spring’s Spider babies have simply matured, and since they’re bigger, they’re more easily spotted. Mature males begin actively searching for mates, so they’re mobile and frequently scamper into homes.


What do Spiders Eat?

What do spiders eat? Most spiders are predators that feed on insects and even other spiders. Learn more about the spider diet.

A spider’s diet

Spiders belong to a group known as the Arachnids and are found in every region of the world except Antarctica. Spiders have eight legs and two body parts – the cephalothorax and abdomen. Spiders also have jaws called chelicerae that include fang-like appendages at the tip. Some species of spiders have modified mouthparts used for grasping or crushing their prey.

So, what do spiders eat to sustain themselves? Most people are fearful of being bitten by a spider, however, it’s important to note that humans are not a food source for spiders. With that said, let’s take a look at their preferred food choices.

The food source for spiders depends on the species. Most spiders are predators feeding on insects and even other spiders. It’s important to know that most spiders will only feed on live prey or prey that they have recently killed.

What’s on the menu?

Spiders are known to eat a variety of foods. Web-building spiders commonly consume flying insects such as flies, mosquitoes, moths and butterflies. Hunting spiders, as their name implies, lie in concealed areas and attack their prey as it comes near, while other spiders are fast enough to run down, capture and eat insects such as crickets, grasshoppers and beetles.

What do spiders eat other than bugs?

Although most types of spiders do not eat plant foods, there are a few species that will feed on materials derived from plant life. In the jumping spider group, there is one species that gets 90 percent of its nutrients from the leaves of the Acacia tree, found primarily in Central America. There is also a species of water spiders that constructs its web under water. The primary food of choice for this spider is fish.

Now that you know you’re not part of the food chain for spiders, that doesn’t mean you have to tolerate them invading your space. If spiders are a problem, call the pest management professionals at Terminix® for the best solution.

See also:  What Does A Spider Web Look Like?

The Time Length for Termite Damage

According to the National Pest Management Association, Termites cause over 5 billion dollars in damage per year in the United States.

Are Garter Snakes Poisonous? It’s Time to Shed the Falsehoods

Have you ever happened upon a small snake slithering through the grass? There are more than 50 species of snakes living in the United States, and while a number of dangerous snakes can be found sneaking around homes, many snakes found in backyards belong to the garter snake species, which don’t pose a threat. Garter snakes are one of the most common snakes found in North America and they appear throughout most regions of the United States and Canada. In fact, many are sold and kept as pets.

How to Identify a Fire Ant Mound

Fire ants are more than just annoying insects that may leave itchy stings—they can also be destructive. The red-imported fire ant, often referred to as RIFA, is an invasive species and has been known to prey on other native insect species as well as plants, with some fire ants even preying on small mammals many times their own size. Their invasive and destructive behaviors are why it’s important to know how to recognize both the ants themselves and where they reside.

Why Are Bees Important?

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Save the bees” in the last few years. But you might not know why it’s a detriment that our bee population is in danger—or why bees are so important in the first place. Bees are small after all, most around half an inch in size. How could one insect smaller than a quarter contribute so much to life on earth? But even if it seems improbable, bees are that important, and they are a valuable species in many different ecosystems. Keep reading to learn why.

The Ins and Outs of Fly Light Traps

Be it flies, moths and some beetles, a large number of pests are drawn toward lights. Though pests like some species of cockroaches, such as smoky-brown cockroaches, are highly attracted to light, most flying insects will surround a light source. While this can be a nuisance during a relaxing evening out on the porch, light can also be used to trap and kill these annoying pests.

Ticks vs. Bed Bugs: The Big Difference

You never want to see a tick on your body or a bed bug in your home. And especially when it comes to the latter, seeing one usually means there are others around. On the surface, ticks and bed bugs might seem similar: They are both pests that like to bite and feed on blood. But in fact, there’s more than one difference between these two creatures

Cleaning Tips to Help Prevent Pests in Your Home

A messy home can cause stress, health issues and, worst of all, bugs. Pests like to enter homes and cause chaos for the unsuspecting homeowners. The best way to prevent pests inside is to have a strong treatment plan and a spotless home.

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5 Surprising Spider Abilities You Should Know About

Spiders. Those eight-legged arachnids. Who needs them? Sure, they eat pests like flies and mosquitoes, but what’s so special about that? Well, take a closer look at these little creatures, and you’ll discover there’s more to them than meets the eye.

Can Spiders Harm Your Pets?

Knowing which spiders are friends and which are foes will help you keep everyone in your home safe and healthy.

How Big is a Brown Recluse?

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Are House Spiders More Common in the Winter?

It’s a commonly accepted myth: Spiders flock to our houses in the fall to escape the coming cold of winter. But this notion is just that, a myth. Spiders generally don’t infest your house more in the winter.

Are Wolf Spiders Poisonous?

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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.

See also:  When Spider Webs Unite They Can Tie Up A Lion Meaning?

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 Spider
  • 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?

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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.

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8 facts about the misunderstood house spider

Humans and house spiders go way back. And after centuries of living together, shouldn’t we get to know our arachnid roommates?

If you have a house, you probably have house spiders. They might live in your attic, basement or windowsills, or they might brazenly inhabit your houseplants. But despite their reputation as creepy interlopers, most house spiders haven’t simply wandered away from home: Our houses are their natural habitats.

Some people think of spiders as insects, lumping them in with six-legged invaders like roaches or ants. But they’re not insects, and they don’t want to raid our cupboards. Much like their outdoor relatives that eat crop pests, house spiders just want to quietly kill the insects that do covet our food. If anything, they’re on our side.


What Do Spiders Eat? Taking A Look Into The Spider’s Diet

Spiders are living animals and they therefore need to eat – just as you and I need to eat.

For spiders, eating means first catching some other living animal. Most spiders are not fussy, though some have definite preferences and some have hunting techniques that catch them a particular type of prey (see Spider Silk).

What Do Spiders Eat?

Most spiders eat only living or freshly killed food, and most are not fussy about their prey. Having said this, many spiders will take dead prey in captivity; and in some species it is not uncommon in the wild.

In particular, Wandering Spiders are known to be scavengers when the opportunity arises – and the Mouse Spider Scotophaeus is also known to take dead insects in the wild. Also certain social spiders are known to scavenge the dead bodies of other colony members.

Spiders can taste their food and some items are rejected because of taste. Unlike you and me however, spiders taste their food with their tarsi using chemosensitive hairs.

Thus, if you keep spiders you will notice that some spiders will not eat certain true bugs (Hemipterans) and ticks (Acari) and even woodlice or rollypollies (Isoptera).

See also:  When To See Doctor Spider Bite?

Different species of spider have different ideas about what is good to eat and what isn’t. For instance many spiders won’t eat woodlice, although the house spiders in the genera Tegenaria will.

However there are some spiders that do have particular diets, or prey items, they specialise in.

Among these are spiders in the genera Dysdera specialise who specialise in eating woodlice, preferring them to other foods.

Woodlouse Spider (Dysdera crocata) eating a woodlouse – its only diet.

Other spiders with specialized tastes include the Pirate Spiders in the family Mimetidae, which live exclusively on other spiders; and the Ant Spiders in the family Zodariidae (which specialise on ants).

Pirate spiders protect themselves by having a potent quick acting toxin that immobilises their prey after just one quick bite to a leg extremity. They also trick spiders out of their retreats, by mimicking mates of prey caught in the web.

Ants are also potentially dangerous prey and Zodariids such as those in the genus Zodarium (which attacks ants of the genus Cataglyphis) also attack their prey quickly, making a single bite and then moving away until the ant is overcome.

Ants are very common animals in most environments and it is not surprising therefore, that there are also ant specialists in other spider families: Callilepsis nocturna from the Gnaphosidae (on Formica spp.); and species of Salticidae on Pseudomyrmex spp.

Will Spiders Eat Vertebrates And Mammals?

While most spiders feed on invertebrates most of the time, they will take vertebrates when they can.

Reports of Dolmedes catching small fish several times her own weight; of Leucorhestris taking small lizards up to its own weight; and of Lycosids and Pisaurids catching tadpoles and small fish are fairly well documented.

Chilean rose tarantula (Grammostola rosea) eating an house gecko (Tarentola mauritanica)

Evidence of large spiders taking small birds is also known in the tropics.

The first tales of tarantulas taking snakes in the wild were written by the Roman Pliny, 2000 years ago – however this was not scientifically verified until 2017. However, they are commonly fed them in captivity.

In captivity, tarantulas have been recorded killing and eating 30cm pit vipers and 45cm rattlesnakes as well as frogs and lizards.

Stranger still, in 1924 Reginald Pocock described finding a Poecilotheria regalis feeding on a rat in India – though no mention is made of whether the spider actually killed the rat.

Strangest of all is a tale from Australia written in 1919 by a Mr Chisholm.

He describes finding a chicken that had been killed and dragged 16 metres (50 feet) to a burrow by a Barking Spider Selenocosima spp. The chicken was much too big to be puled into the hole – and was found with one leg down the hole and the spider hanging on to that leg.

How Do Spiders Eat?

For spiders that actively hunt their prey, the first step in catching dinner is to locate it.

Spiders that chooses to sit outside their burrows or hideaways and wait for some suitable organism to wander past (like some tarantulas and wandering spiders), rely on vibrations to tell them what is going on.

Spiders such as Cupennius can hunt just as effectively with their eyes covered, as with them working. However spiders that go out actively looking for prey and hunt it down (such as the wolf spiders and particularly the jumping spiders), rely much more heavily on sight.

Nearly all spiders use venom to immobilize their prey before feeding. This makes it easy for them to feed on otherwise dangerous animals. Some Crab Spiders will catch Bumble Bees far heavier than themselves. See Spider Venoms.

However, once the prey is caught, it needs to be eaten and spiders practice what is called external digestion.

This means that enzymes and other digestive juices are injected or spat into the prey’s body.

The soft tissues are broken down by these juices and sucked up by the spider. For spiders, soup is the only thing on the menu. Some spiders, such as tarantulas and many of the orb-web spiders, use the teeth on the basal segment of the chelicerae to mash their prey while they are feeding.

In these cases, all that remains after the spider has finished eating is a small, dark blob of cuticle. Smaller spiders, especially those that feed on larger prey such as the Thomisidae, bite only a small hole in the cuticle of their prey – and suck the juices out through this. In this case what is left is a pretty intact shell of the prey animal.

Final Thoughts

Well, I hope this has helped you to answer the question of what spiders eat!

Perhaps now you’d like to learn more about spider anatomy.

  • 12 Common House Spiders: Just Who’s Hanging Out In Your Bath? — May 31, 2020
  • Spider Poems, Stories & Etymology – A Look Through History — May 31, 2020
  • Spider Ecology: Taking A Look At Molting, Mimicry & More — May 31, 2020

About Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He’s also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh — and he wrote this website.


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