Spiders get a bad rap; many people go to great lengths to get rid of them. Is it their other-worldly appearance? A concern about being bitten by a poisonous type or simply the idea of “creepy, crawling” things? Whatever the reason, before eliminating them, it’s good to understand the invaluable role they play keeping pest populations in check.

Found around the globe with at least 37,000 known species, spiders inhabit everywhere but the oceans and Antarctica. These eight legged predators consume insects and other spiders, invertebrates and even some small vertebrates, injecting venom through their fangs to paralyze or kill their prey.  

Spiders you may encounter indoors are cellar spiders, cobweb spiders and funnel weaver spiders, while in the garden, you’re most likely to see crab spiders, jumping spiders, orb weavers and wolf spiders.

If you happen upon spiders in the garden (other than the black widow), just ignore them and let them do their thing – helping to keep your garden pests in check. If you want to know what kind it is, the Insect Identification for the Casual Observer website can help you figure it out.

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