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Spiders out in Force This Fall

undefinedThere seems to be a lot of spiders around this year. They have two body parts, usually eight eyes, eight legs and, to some, are downright creepy.

Spiders tend to evoke fear in many people. But with very few exceptions this fear is unjustified. Spiders share the world with us in many ways and in many different settings. They are in our homes, parks, gardens and yards, usually quietly living independently of us humans.

Spiders serve an important role in the balance of nature. They help maintain billions of the world’s insects at reasonable numbers. Also, spiders are consumed by several animals higher up in the food chain.

As most of us know, spiders produce a strong silk with which they build their web to capture prey. Silk is also used as a safety line when they jump or fall from a high perch.

Spiders are arachnids, invertebrates with no spine or bones. They have a covering called an exoskeleton that must be shed — molted — in order for them to grow. The exoskeleton protects their vital organs inside the body.

Most spiders have poison or venom glands that are used to immobilize their prey. In most cases, spider venom does not cause much discomfort to humans, but there are exceptions to this. Some of us may have a reaction to a spider bite depending on body chemistry.

Two groups of spiders, the widow and recluse species, do have venom that can be harmful to humans. If you have a reaction to a spider bite, seek medical attention at once. The best rule is to leave them alone if at all possible. They do not go out of their way to bite humans as long as they are left alone.

There are literally hundreds of species of spiders around us. The variety of species include funnel web, trapdoor, tarantula, pirate, orb-weaver, daddy long-legs, wolf, crab, harvestman, jumping, fishing and more. They live under the ground, on the ground, above the ground and even in aquatic habitats.

So, when you see a spider in your yard, take a moment to realize that it is there for a reason. Without them, our world would be filled with an uncontrollable amount of insects that would throw nature — and our shared world — completely out of balance. As with all of our wild neighbors, spiders are here for a reason. Respect them for what they do.

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