How Spiders are Helpful and Harmful to Humans

by katiem2

Spiders are both harmful and helpful to humans. While you may fear spiders have you considered the work they do regularly to benefit humans? Learn how spiders help us and hurt us.

Later in this article we take a look at the threat spiders pose to humans. First we take a look at the good things spiders do for us. Spiders reduce local disease carrying insects that would other wise be harmful to us humans. Eliminating these threats is of great benefit to our safety and health. Spiders provide humans with many other benefits one very significant being that of medical advances. Spider venom is used in neurological research. Spider venom works to prevent brain damage in stroke victims. The very silk used to create the many webs we so casually brush aside is used in many optical devices including laboratory instruments.

Reasons to Fear Spiders

There are three reasons people should be cautious of spiders.

There are three ways in which some spiders are harmful to people.

The three harmful effects on human health attributed to spiders are;

  1. Allergic reactions
  2. Poison venom
  3. Fear
  • While few people experience allergic reactions to spider bites themselves,there are in fact those who are allergic to the dead cell particles of spiders similar to dust allergies.
  • Poison due to spiders occurs when a person is bitten by a poisonous spider. You should seek medical attention if this occurs.
  • Fear is the biggest factor of all three. More people are afraid of spiders than most any other creature on the planet, that being snakes. 

Real Brown Recluse Spider Keychain

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Allergies to Spiders

People allergic to spiders experience allergic reactions similar to that of inhaling dust mites.

Allergies - There are people who are allergic to the hair and scales of spiders when inhaled, similar to the reaction many have with dust mites.  

While this may seem rare there are those who have similar allergic reactions to other arthropods.  

For example cockroaches are one such allergy. I personalty know of one person allergic to cockroaches.

There are people who think they are allergic to spider bites, this is not the case. Any reaction to a bite is due to the toxins present in the spider venom.  Many spider bites, while not dangerous, create a reaction that is a normal reaction to the non poisonous venom yet not an allergic reaction.

People who are allergic to spiders are allergic to the spider deposits they inhale as outlined above.

Illustration of Human Allergy

Illustration of Human Male Head Showing Mouth, Nose, and Throat Illustrating Allergy Symptoms

Venom of Spiders

While some spider bites are not venomous others are highly toxic.

Venom - Spiders can inject venom through their bites. This is known as envenomization. There are more than 50 spider species known to be capable of biting humans. While this is true there are but two that are of the greatest threat.

The Black Widow

The black widow carries poisonous venom while it's bite has a negative impact on human health.

The Black Widow - This species injects a neurotoxic venom causing symptoms with little to no damage in most it's human victims.  The symptoms of the black widow bite are sweating, weakness, muscle pain, nausea, tremors, and vomiting.  In severe life threatening cases breathing difficulities, heart irregularities, and possible death in victims who are weak with compromised health such as the elderly and small children.

The Brown Recluse

The brown recluse is the most feared spider as it has the potential to destroy the flesh of the human body.

The Brow Recluse - Is an aggressive house spider injecting cytotoxic venom causing severe localized tissue damage and necrosis and yet rarely causing systemic damage. The bite of the brown recluse causes skin loss and ulceration that can take months to heal many times requiring skin grafts. 


The Fear of Spiders

Spiders are feared more than anything else ranking ahead of the fear of snakes.

Note: With all the knowledge we've acquired spiders are among the most feared creatures on the earth still today.  People who experience such intense fear induce physical illness upon seeing spiders.

How Many People are Afraid of Spiders?

Do you see spiders as friend or foe?
Only logged-in users are allowed to comment. Login
I'm scared to death of spiders, I could care less about the benefits.
candy on 03/30/2017

i am afriad of all spiders so don't get mad and don't hate apreciate boo boo . so bye

unknown on 08/20/2014

i felt something was walking on me when i saw that pic that has alot of them ..... ugggh .. i hate them to the moon and back ... -_-

Jerrico_Usher on 10/02/2012

when the page loaded that spider picture I ran... I ran like the wind. I'm back. I'm not going to run again, I realize now it's just a picture. :) I'm not specifically "scared" of spiders, they are just frikken creapy... I want to get a terantula to get over my fear of bigger spiders but Michelle is afraid she'd have nightmares of it getting out and getting her haha...

Cindy on 08/26/2012

I can't believe I'm still here, came to find out why I'm afraid of spiders. I had no idea they were actually helpful

I am not afraid of spiders and appreciate what spiders do for us.
DerdriuMarriner on 08/21/2018

I appreciate spiders when they're beneficial invertebrates even though I fear them so I need the category, I'm afraid of spiders even though I appreciate what spiders do for us."

CorrinnaJohnson on 09/02/2012

I don't necessarily like them in my home, but I am not afraid of them.

dustytoes on 08/17/2012

I'm only afraid of the huge spiders I used to see in Florida, including the brown recluse.

Ragtimelil on 08/16/2012

That said, they don't pay rent and I remove them from my house. I don't kill them outright however.

Fake Spiders for Halloween

These spiders could be used for halloween or simply for scaring the day lights out of those afraid of spiders.

Oh but seriously consider this before you scare someone. I had an uncle, died prematurely from a heart attack, that was deathly afraid of spiders. He was a obnoxious sort we kids loved scaring the devil out of.  He would turn three shades of white if ever we came running at him as we would find dead spiders and toss the at him.  Seriously, once again I must say, this is something you should think twice before doing as we may have been one of the reasons he died young due to a heart attack. 

Halloween Singing and Moving Scary Spider - Eyes Light Up

Jet Black Crystal Rhinestone Creepy Scary Spider Insect Bug Pin Costume Brooch

Uncle Milton Radio Control Tarantula

This spider is really good for scaring people, it looks so real crawling across the floor.

Hidden Kingdom Insects: Black Widow Spider

Amazing Spider Webs

While spiders offer both health benefits and threats to humans they also provide us with breath taking art.

The majestic work of the spiders daily routine is the result of many a breath taking spider web. Enjoy this tribute to such art as you enjoy the posters available for purchase below.

Updated: 05/23/2013, katiem2
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Share your fear of spiders and read about others here.

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katiem2 on 07/18/2013

Lilysnape, My daughter came home from summer camp with many stories about fellow campers frightened of spiders, she was the spider avenger removing all spiders from the campers beds etc. She taught them to carry around orange peels as they repel spiders. This was helpful.

Lilysnape on 07/18/2013

I like spiders but carefully pick them up and put them out in the garden so my dog and cat won't eat them, and one of my girls is afraid of them so I move them if she is about.

katiem2 on 10/04/2012

Jerrico, I like spiders, they fascinate me.

Jerrico_Usher on 10/02/2012

man those are gorgeous spider pictures...

katiem2 on 09/03/2012

corrjo, spider webs are amazing works of art and imagine all the bad bugs they catch in those webs, busy cleaning house for us. :)

CorrinnaJohnson on 09/02/2012

I don't enjoy spiders in my home, but I do enjoy looking at the spiderwebs they spin especially on a dewy morning. They just sparkle:)

katiem2 on 08/29/2012

terry, oh my the poor dear. I do realize how serious the fear is. thanks for commenting. :)K

terry on 08/29/2012

My wife is scared of spiders that, on more then one occasion, I have come home to her sitting out side starring at the door because there was a spider on it and she refused to go around it.

katiem2 on 08/23/2012

Mira, So you fell for the coach roach trick.. Some scary bugs

Mira on 08/23/2012

Hi katiem2, I didn't know about the brown recluse, and I see it's so dangerous! Wow! Thanks for the article :-) Ah, I clicked on that cockroach prank haha -- nice touch!

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