Scary-Looking but Fun Spiders

Can spiders be fun? Well, it depends on whether you’re an entomologist or just a nature lover. Most of us would say…”I don’t think so!” But, if a spider were to be considered “fun,” this would be the one. … Jumping spiders are in the largest family of spiders, Salticidae. As hunters by day, these colorful spiders make no web but instead they stalk and pounce on their prey by jumping long distances. A jumping spider’s diet includes earwigs, flies and other such pests, including stinging yellow jackets.
California Red Jumping Spider

West Coast California Red Jumping Spider (Phidippus adumbratus)

Identification

Jumping spiders are easily identifiable by their large middle eyes, giving them the keenest vision of all spiders and…..the ability to respond to any movement – up to 18 inches away! They are quite small, ¼ to ½ inch in length (not including their legs) with little tuffs of hair, presenting them with a soft, furry appearance. If spiders had a beauty contest, the jumping spider would win the “cutest spider??? category, claws (spider hands) down!

Red Jumping Spider eating a wasp

Rangers Jeff Anderson and Shawnn Schaub came upon a Red Jumping Spider at the Elfin Forest in Escondido, CA eating a yellow jacket.

Behavior and Hunting Techniques

As true acrobats, jumping spiders attach a safety strand of silk just prior to leaping from one area to another, in case they miss their mark. The advanced development of a jumping spider’s vision, with its eight eyes, including two binocular-like center eyes, rivals that of us humans. These active hunters sneak up on their prey and then pounce on it with a feline precision similar to that of a cat and mouse.
Bold Jumping Spider

East Coast Female Daring Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax) a.k.a “Bold??? Jumping Spider

There are several types of jumping spiders in North America. The “Daring??? or “Bold??? Jumping Spider lives in the mid-eastern states and on the East Coast. This spider is a full ½ inch in body length and is named after its daring, acrobatic moves it performs during a hunt.

Jumping Spider Habitat

Jumping spiders live in woods, fields, and garden landscapes. Sometimes they can be seen on ground litter such as fallen tree limbs or leaves. As non-web weavers, they hunt by day but make small shelters with silk under leaves and bark for hiding and resting at night. Females make egg sacs from silk and stay under their shelters until the eggs have hatched and their spiderlings are able to take care of themselves.
Jumping spiders are beneficial in gardens

Jumping spiders are harmless and beneficial, ridding gardens of pesky pests.

Beneficial Arachnids

Jumping spiders are great at controlling insect populations, in and around the home. Sometimes they can be found on window sills hunting insects. They hunt down fleas, moths, crickets, flies, earwigs (pincher bugs), yellow jackets and much more. Jumping spiders normally don’t bite humans unless it is in self-defense. Any pain felt is from fang penetration, not venom toxicity. Most of the jumping spiders in the west are so small, the fangs can’t penetrate; it’s the Bold Jumping Spider of the East that is a full ½ inch and whose bite sometimes leaves a welt.

Pest Management

Jumping spiders are rarely encountered, although, an active hunter chasing prey may find its way through a gap under a door or inside a window. The best way to keep spiders out of the home is to trim foliage away from the house and by physical exclusion – closing up any gaps under doors and around windows. Hearts pest management treats for spiders and the spiders food source – insects! Call today at 1-800-986-1006 for help with a spider infestation. You’re also welcome to complete the form below and a caring Hearts Pest Management representative will contact you shortly.
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References Mallis, Arnold, Handbook of Pest Control, Tenth Edition, The Mallis Handbook Company, 2011 Study of Northern Virginia Ecology, Fairfax County Public Schools – Daring Jumping Spider Wikipedia – Jumping Spiders; Phidippus adumbrates

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