Think Before You Squash

Have you noticed an abundance of spiders lately? Michigan State University Entomologist Howard Russell said, “Rather than an abundance, it really [is] more about the time of year.”  He said, “In the fall, many species are out and about looking for a good spot to spend the winter.” While the majority of spiders in Michigan are not venomous or dangerous, it can still be frightening to encounter those larger-than-normal critters up close. 

Some of the most common spiders found in Michigan are the wolf spider, the orb-Weaver, and the cellar spider. According to Russell,  “There are about 500 species of spiders in Michigan.” He said that 90% of a spider’s diet is made up of insects, and it is estimated that spiders eat as many as 800 million tons of insects every year. The only two spiders that are dangerous are the rare brown recluse and the black widow.  

While it can be tempting to squash the spider or maybe scream for someone else to, you may want to think twice. Spiders prey on other pests like mosquitoes, ants, wasps, and flies. Some spiders will even eat other spiders. The daddy long legs, or cellar spider, will eat a black widow spider. For farmers in the area, an acre of an agricultural field may have tens of thousands to millions of spiders. It is estimated that the benefit of pest control performed by the spider may exceed $100 billion dollars per year. Take your pick!

Reporting for WGRT – Karly Hurley