Up to 8 percent of the world shares a fear of spiders – that’s over 500 million people. However, while the appearance of one of these eight-legged, multi-eyed creatures in your home can be intimidating, spiders can actually play an important role in society. Take a look at the list of facts about spiders below.
Most people fear their physical appearance and not their venom.
While some spiders are known to have deadly venom, according to the Mallis Handbook of Pest Control by Arnold Mallis, what people actually fear most is the physical makeup of spiders. Apparently, something about their eight legs and high speeds just doesn’t sit right.
Many therapies to treat arachnophobia involve introducing actual spiders to people who fear them, in turn, pushing them to face their fears. However, in one study, a group of scientists attempted to treat people’s fears of spiders by showing them pictures of objects that resembled spiders, but not pictures of the actual spiders themselves. The pictures triggered the same fear mechanism as actual spiders and gave people the same ability to acknowledge that the perceived threat was not as great as they believed it to be. The group, led by Laura Carmilo Granado, reported a 92 percent success rate. This is a useful spider fact if you are trying to overcome some of your own fears.
You can milk a spider.
This might be one of the strangest spider facts you’ve ever heard. While some people are busy fearing these creepy crawlers, there are actually entire businesses dedicated to hunting spiders down and milking them for just one thing – their venom. Venom might seem like a bad thing when it has been injected into your arm through a painful bite, but it has proven medical benefits when collected in larger quantities. Chuck Kristensen of Spider Pharm in Yarnell, Arizona, has been milking spiders for almost 25 years. Venom contains unique molecular compounds that have been proven to help cure certain diseases.
Unfortunately, milking is a slow process. "To get one gram [three-hundredths of an ounce] of black widow venom, it takes 50,000 to 100,000 milkings. One milking takes one minute. So it can take us a year to get one gram," Kritensen said in an interview with National Geographic.
Spider silk is stronger than steel.
People have attempted to harvest spider silk for centuries because of its strength and flexibility. Spiders have largely stood in the way of this. When placed in a crop together, they are in the bad habit of eating each other. However, those who have managed to collect silk have used it in a number of different ways, including as bandages and fishing lines. Modern research has placed an interest on developing synthetic spider silk for use in medicine, business and technology. This final spider fact could shed some light on certain superheroes and their costumes of choice.
It is also worth noting that, while some spiders can have poisonous venom, a majority of spiders don’t, and the ones that do tend to be on the less aggressive side. Having your facts about spiders straight might help you overcome your fear of creepy crawlers. To overcome the spiders in your home, call Terminix®.