Bridgewater Pest Control: Are Spiders Important to the Ecosystem?

Are spiders a critical component of most ecosystems

Spiders tend to have a bad reputation due to their hairy legs, venom, and abundance of eyes, but these critters may be more helpful than you realize. In fact, spiders play key roles in the vast majority of ecosystems on earth. Consider a few interesting facts that may give you a new perspective on arachnids.

The Lifestyle of the Spider

Offering a general description of spiders is no easy task given the fact that there are tens of thousands of spider species. As a group, spiders are incredibly diverse. They come in all sizes and colours and can live in distinct environments. Other than Antarctica, spiders can be found on every continent. Whether you visit a desert, an icy tundra, or a muggy rainforest, you will no doubt be in the presence of a number of spider species. Some arachnids have even adapted to environments that seem entirely unhospitable, such as lava tubes.

Bear in mind that spiders aren’t always found on ground level. Arboreal spiders, unlike the terrestrial variety, live in trees. When it comes to intraspecies interactions, spiders continue to be unpredictable. Some of these critters prefer to live and hunt alone, while others are quite social. 

Eating Habits

Importantly, spiders are both obligate predators and generalist consumers. This means that spiders must live off of prey but the list of prey they may consume is long. These eight-legged creatures generally adopt one of two hunting strategies: active hunting or passive hunting. Active hunters, like the wolf spider, go after their prey on foot. Passive spiders, on the other hand, construct webs and wait for their prey to become trapped. 

The insects that spiders consume vary widely. Depending on what is available, spiders may eat flies, moths, ants, and many other bugs. In some situations, spiders will even eat other spiders regardless of whether they belong to the same species or not. Fortunately, some spiders especially love to eat insects that are bothersome to humans, such as mosquitoes. Over the course of a year, a spider can eat as many as 2,000 insects.

Ecological Impact

Because spiders consume so much prey and face many predators of their own, these eight-legged critters play key roles in too many ecosystems to count. Without spiders, insect populations may get out of control. This can lead to major problems when it comes to agriculture, as insects may eat crops. Additionally, mosquitoes and other insects that spread diseases may become ubiquitous when spiders are absent, negatively impacting humans.

Spiders serve as prey for lizards, birds, and even some mammals. Without spiders, these populations could lack a key food source, disrupting the food chain. It’s important to note, however, that no single spider upholds an ecosystem by itself. This goes to say that if one spider species went extinct, its ecosystem may be largely unaffected. This is because so many spider species have similar lifestyles and eat whichever types of insects are available. If all spiders were to go extinct, however, the world could expect a major ecological upheaval.

Spider Infestations

If you find a spider in your Bridgewater home, don’t panic. Most spiders are harmless to humans. The few whose venom can cause painful bites generally prefer to remain hidden. Even so, sharing your space with spiders and their webs is not usually desirable. Make sure you address your infestation right away so it doesn’t grow worse.

When you need someone to carry out spider removal on your property, reach out to our local Truly Nolen Bridgewater Technician. Our Four Seasons approach to pest control in Bridgewater offers a cost-effective way to keep your property free of various kinds of pests year-round. Give us a call today to learn more.