Spider! Friend or Foe?


Often that word puts fear into our hearts or automatically causes us to jump and say “Where!”

Last night I saw this in action as my grand-son caught sight of a spider in his room.  
This tall, confident, 17 year old young man instantly turned into a wide-eyed, freaked-out kid as he described seeing a “giant spider” crawling on the window sill next to where he had been sitting.

As he searched for something to do away with this unwelcome visitor to his room, he adamantly related his dislike of spiders, all kinds of spiders, but especially big ones !
By the time he returned to his room armed with a can of Raid in one hand and a fly swatter in the other, I am sure the spider had quickly made its escape to a less threatening environment, but just in case he hadn’t, my grand-son liberally sprayed the inside and outside window with a vengeance.  

As I assured my grand-son there could not possibly be any spiders around now for miles away because of the smell of all that spraying he did, I returned to my computer in the next room and began to wonder about the good of spiders. Surely there must be something good about them because, after all, they are God’s creations.

So, putting my homework aside for a moment I decided to do some quick research on spiders because even though I had often been told they were good and shouldn’t be harmed, I had never really studied them nor given them much thought unless I saw one scurrying across my path or spinning a web on my patio

My quick research told me that:

There are at least 30,000 different species of spiders in the world all of which prey on insects–not humans! Well, that’s a #1 good thing about them!

Spiders do away with a large number of disease-carrying and crop-destroying insects.
In fact, if every spider ate just one insect every day for one year, all those insects would weigh
as much as 50 million people. Wow! Second good thing!

Gardeners love them for they weave intricate orb shaped webs that catch plant eating insects.
Lawns like them because they keep the tiny insects in them under control.

In fact, spiders are the most important predator of insects in the world, but because of their scary looks they often are not very appreciated, except by birds who love to eat them.

So even though my grand-son might not ever see their worth, they do have a place in this world and are good in many ways.  

If you don’t agree, just ask “Wilbur the Pig” whose best friend was a spider named “Charlotte” !

Master Gardeners: http://cemadera.ucdavis.edu/newsletterfiles/Master_Gardeners_Articles4133.PDF
GardenWeb:  http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/orglawn/msg052209439900.html?6   
Homeowners Column:  http://web.extension.illinois.edu/champaign/homeowners/000819.html
Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte%27s_Web

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