Pest control isn't always conducted by people. Sometimes nature has its own system of control. For example, the nine critters listed below all prey on spiders. That's good news for the millions of people around the world who are afraid of spiders. In fact, that fear - arachnophobia - is so common, that it is considered to be one of the top 10 phobias around the world.
So for those pest control readers who are not only squeamish but positively fearful, of even the smallest of these eight-legged creatures...this list is for you!
In no particular order, among the top spider predators are:
- Lizards – Geckos and chameleons are common lizards of the southern U.S. that feed on spiders as well as other small insects. A study by scientists from the University of California showed that lizards could actually cause spiders to become extinct. Orb spiders were not native to the islands of the Bahamas, so the scientists introduced lizards to several of the islands to attempt control. Within five years, the orb spiders became extinct on all the islands on which lizards were present.
- Fish – Trout, archers, and mosquito fish (despite their name) are among those that feed on spiders. Of course, the spider must be or live in or around the water for the fish to have access, but there are several species, such as the water spider, that do just that.
- Birds – It probably comes as no surprise that birds are a significant threat to spiders of virtually all kinds. (Except perhaps the extremely large spiders, such as tarantulas, but we get to them in the next point). In fact, some of the most common birds of the U.S., such as robins and wrens, make meals out of spiders. But small birds that prey on spiders also have to be careful that they don't get caught in the sticky webs – although the spiders rarely eat birds they snare.
- Tarantula hawks – This is actually a wasp, rather than a bird as its name implies, but the tarantula hawk hunts down tarantulas in their burrows. The wasp "knocks" on the spider's web to attract attention, then, when the tarantula appears, the wasp paralyzes it with a sting and drags the tarantula to its own burrow to feed to its young.
- Spider wasps – The family of insects to which the tarantula wasp belongs are the spider wasps. The females of each species sting and paralyze the spiders for feeding to their young, but each has a different way of getting the spider to its nest. Some carry the spider, some drag it, some pull it across the water, and others fly with it. But regardless of the method of transport, the end result is the same.
- Monkeys – Though it may not be the most practical of matters to keep a monkey in your home to keep spider populations down, there are a number of species of monkeys that do enjoy a bite or two of spider at meal time.
- Centipedes - Often considered even more gross or ugly than the spiders themselves, this many-legged arthropod can actually be a control against spiders in your home, Centipedes are carnivorous and use their claws to paralyze spiders and other small creatures.
- Scorpions – Although they rarely attack humans except in self-defense, scorpions are generally as – if not more – feared as spiders. But if you are arachnophobic, you may still prefer to guard against the accidental sting of the scorpion than even catch sight of a panic-inducing spider
- Spiders – Some spiders feed on their own kind - preying on and eating other spiders. This can actually be beneficial to humans because it is often the non-threatening spiders that feed on those that can be dangerous to humans – such as the daddy long leg spider that will feed on funnel web and black widow spiders.