Do spiders kill/eat mosquitoes? (Or They Just Get Caught in Web?)

Blockbusters throughout history have depicted spiders to be terrifying eight-legged monstrosities. Even your favorite actors get squeamish the moment they gaze upon this outrageous creepy crawlies. But the truth is, these species have been misrepresented time and time in movies. In fact, most spiders are truly harmless, and they shy away from conflict. 

True, a few species like tarantulas and black windows are to be feared. But most spiders are not deadly venomous and may benefit nature and our indoor ecosystem. So before you sprint for that vacuum or shoe the next time you spot a spider, here are some good things spiders can do for you. Will we start by answering a commonly asked question 'do spiders kill or eat mosquitoes?

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Are Spiders in The House Friends or Foe?

Homeowners like to think that their homes are perfectly secured from the outside world. Yet, it seems like spiders drop out of nowhere and invade our living space. It's not uncommon to see a spider dangling in a web, lurking in dark corners, or scurrying across the floor in the great indoors. 

While some are accidentally trapped or unknowingly brought into the house, other spiders are short-term visitors. The spiders enjoy sharing your home where they happily live their lives and reproduce. They are not aggressive, and they won't bite unless they feel threatened. But they'd rather run away from you as opposed to biting you.

Do Spiders Kill/Eat Mosquitoes? 

Spiders can provide homeowners with important services like pest control. They enjoy eating common household pests like flies, roaches, moths, earwigs, and other spiders. If undisturbed, spiders can eat most of the nuisance pests in your home, providing a comfortable living space.

Better yet, spiders regularly capture disease-carrying insects like mosquitoes. There are even some spider species that prefer to feed on mosquitoes exclusively. For instance, studies have found that Evarcha culicivora and Paracyrba wanlessi, two jumping spiders, can capture and eat mosquitoes even as they are flying erratically in the air! 

Wanlessi jumping spiders possess extremely sharp and keen eyesight that helps them pluck mosquitoes out of the air. These spiders are commonly found in bamboo forests and are especially skilled at catching and snacking on mosquito larvae. When it comes to hunting adult mosquitoes, these spiders use a distinct hunting method — they stalk the prey and only attack when the time is right. 

It is the culicivora jumping mosquitoes that offer homeowners the most benefits. These spiders are commonly found in the Lake Victoria region of East Africa. They hunt and kill Anopheles mosquitoes, which are the most prone to biting humans and are the most dangerous. Anopheles mosquitoes are the main spreaders of malaria. Scientists and public workers conclude that malaria kills up to 2.7 million people every year! 

These beneficial spiders don't even waste time hunting the old female anopheles mosquitoes. Instead, they like their dinner a little bloody and only hunt mosquitoes filled with recent blood. Experiments show that these spiders can tell when a mosquito is carrying blood and when it's blood-free by using sight and odor alone. Anopheles mosquitoes are often found in Kenya and are the main contributor to the malaria epidemic in Africa. Luckily, Evarcha culicivora. 

The bottom line is that spiders hunt, kill, and eat mosquitoes. Killing spiders doesn't just cost them their life; you take a beneficial predator that could save lives in many homes.

Other Benefits of Spiders in The House 

  • They eat pests: Besides hunting and killing mosquitoes, spiders can help get rid of other nuisance pests like flies and roaches. In fact, they can provide effective home pest control services by eating most of the insects in the house. 

  • They eat other spiders: Spiders can trap and eat their cousins for dinner. When spiders come in contact, a war often unfolds and whoever wins eats the loser. They can also build their webs and lie in wait for other spiders to get caught. 

  • They help prevent diseases: Spiders kill many diseases spreading invaders like fleas, cockroaches, flies, and mosquitoes, helping curtail the spread of diseases.

Can Spiders Be Used to Help Control the Mosquito Population? 

Experts have developed many scientific-based pesticides and techniques to control mosquitoes. Yet, despite our best efforts, mosquitoes continue to terrorize and kill humans worldwide by spreading deadly diseases. 

A recent review of many studies published in the International Journal of Mosquito Research states that there is a critical need to develop better ways to control mosquitoes using their natural enemies. 

Sadly, mosquitoes, like other common pests, have developed a resistance to the commonly used pesticides, making them less effective. Yet, mosquito control products are not readily available in places with high mosquito populations, like the tropical and subtropical regions. 

Researchers strongly recommend preserving the natural enemies of mosquitoes, including spiders and ants. They also suggest that spiders can play a role as biological control agents, and bolstering their numbers may help keep the mosquito population at bay.

How to Control and Kill Mosquitoes Outside Your Home?

  • Inspect your compound every seven days to cover, turn over, or get rid of any items that hold stagnant water, like toys, tires, pools, birdbaths, and waste containers. 

  • Ensure that all freshwater storage containers are tightly covered so mosquitoes can't lay eggs inside. Use a wire mesh with very tiny holes that a mosquito can can't fit in to cover the containers without lids. 

  • Keenly inspect your septic tank and have all cracks and gaps sealed completely. 

  • Open vents and plumbing pipes should also be covered using an appropriate wire mesh.

  • To kill mosquitoes, use an effective insecticide spray designed to kill mosquitoes in their activity and resting areas like under the carport and beneath patio furniture.

How to Control and Kill Mosquitoes Inside Your Home 

  • The best way to deny mosquitoes access to your home is by installing window and door screens and ensuring doors are not left open.

  • To kill mosquitoes inside your home, use an EPA-approved insecticide to treat mosquito breeding sites and resting areas like under the sink, under furniture, and in the laundry room. Chemical insecticides effectively kill adult and larvae mosquitoes. But you must keenly follow the instructions on the labeling for the best results.

How to Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites 

  • The most effective way to protect yourself from mosquito bites is by applying a mosquito repellent.

  • Alternatively, you can use mosquito coils, a mat, or wear protective clothing such as light-colored long sleeves and long pants.

In Conclusion

Mosquitoes have terrorized humans by spreading killer diseases such as malaria and dengue fever since ancient times. On the other hand, spiders are mostly harmless creatures that can be very beneficial when in the house. Research has revealed that some spider species actively hunt, kill, and eat disease-spreading mosquitoes. In fact, experts agree that spiders could be the future of mosquito control.

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