Sunday 21 July 2019

Why you shouldn't kill your friendly neighborhood spiders

JULY 12, 2019
by Bev Betkowski, University of Alberta
When that itsy-bitsy spider climbs up the spout, resist the urge to stomp it out—even if it makes your skin crawl.
The leggy bugs get an unfair reputation as being poisonous and creepy, when in fact most of them, particularly those native to North America, are harmless to humans and good for the ecosystem, said a University of Alberta expert.
"They aren't bad at all, there's just this innate fear we have of spiders," said conservation biologist Jaime Pinzon, who studies the arachnids as a U of A adjunct professor and researcher with the Canadian Forest Service. "If you don't bother them, they won't bug you."
Pinzon, who says he's been bitten "hundreds of times" with no harm done by spiders in the course of his work, notes that only a handful of the 48,000 species known worldwide—including more than 600 species of spiders in Alberta alone and about 1,500 species in Canada—are venomous to humans, most of them living in tropical climates.
And though some might fear climate change could bring potent tropical spiders to North America, there's no strong evidence to suggest it, Pinzon noted.

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