guest post by Patty Pierleonardi
“Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet,
eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider
and sat down beside her
and frightened Miss Muffet away!”
Everyone has read this popular nursery rhyme to their children at one point. As most spider stories go, the spider is usually made out to be the creepy, crawly, scary creature that hides in the corners and preys on objects while everyone sleeps. This stereotype of spiders has some truth to it, causing three quarters of the human population intimidated by spiders. Spiders are known as Arachnids and consist of eight legs and a two piece body made up of an abdomen and a front section. The front section contains multiple eyes, mouth parts and the eight legs, while the abdomen holds the silk-producing facilities of the spider.
Most people think that a spider builds a web for the soul purpose of capturing their prey. This is not true in all
spiders. Some use their webs in courtship rituals or to secure their egg sacs. It is not uncommon for spiders of
different species to share a web or steal each others prey.
Three of the most common spiders in Virginia create webs that look totally different:
The American House Spider is known for the classic “Halloween” web, sometimes called the cobweb. It creates a spooky environment to any house it inhibits. Their prey gets entangled in their web, bitten and eaten at a later
time. This spider rarely bothers humans and may “play dead” if bothered.
The Banded Garden Spider builds its web low to the ground in gardens and tall grasses. They create a zig-zagged cluster of spider silk and hang upside down in the center, waiting for their prey.
The Black Widow is famous for their toxic venom. This “lady” needs to be shown respect! She tends to spin her web in places that are in human paths, increasing the likelihood of an unpleasant encounter. Females have the
trademark red “hourglass” on the bottom of their round abdomen. Females are known to eat the male after mating, earning them the name “Widow”. Their webs are irregular in shape, but strong. They are built on outbuildings like sheds, barns and garages. They are unlikely to leave their webs, so beware when you come across a Black Widow web. The venom of the female is highly poisonous and requires medical attention.
If you suspect you have been bitten, try to capture the spider for proper identification at the doctor’s office.
Since Halloween is right around the corner, here are some fun facts about Spiders you can share with your kids:
- All spiders have eight legs.
- Antarctica is the only continent in the world where you can’t find spiders.
- Most spiders don’t live in water, but a few do!
- Spiders do not have antenna, which separates them from insects
- Only one species is a vegetarian while the rest are predators.
- Most spiders have four sets of eyes. The pattern is different for each species, though.
- A female spider can deliver up to 3000 eggs.
- The silk produced from spiders is the strongest material in the world. Scientists still haven’t been able to recreate the design, even with all of our technology.
- Spiders blood is light blue.
- Spiders shed their skin, which is called molting.
- Spiders are near-sighted.
- Spiders can only eat a liquid diet, so their venom turns their prey into liquid.
- When a spider walks, only four of the legs touch the ground at one time.
- Everyone has swallowed spiders in our sleep, maybe EVERY NIGHT!
So, unless you are a fan of Charlotte from “Charlottes Web” or prefer the haunted, cobweb look in your home, let PMSI help control the spider population in your home and keep the spiders outside, feeding on the nasty, pesky insects that get trapped in their webs. Check out our web at www.mypmsi.com or call 703-723-2899 to prevent an Arach-attack at your house!
Hi! my name is Andrea and I'm a not-so-average Northern Virginia blogger, mom, and transplant from the Midwest. I host Girls Night Out events, meet ups, and write about events and my adventures in the DC area. I love to travel, brunch, and drink wine with my neighbors! I'm known to live on the wild side and order Venti iced double shots at 5pm.
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