House spiders are fascinating creatures. They’re mostly small and fast, and they’re always busy hiding, hunting, or working on their webs. But have you ever wondered what gives spiders such energy?
Aside from mosquitoes and flies, do they also eat ants, dust, or other stuff that doesn’t get caught on their webs? Surprisingly, the answer is yes!
Spiders are carnivorous creatures, so their diet mostly consists of insects and other arthropods. While different spiders prefer different prey, most of them will eat anything they can catch.
This means that house spiders are likely to eat any small insects or bugs that they come across, including ants.
A Typical Diet of a House Spider
Most people don’t give it much thought, but the diet of spiders is quite interesting. There are many different types of spiders, and each one has its own diet. Most species of spiders are carnivores and will typically eat anything within their hunting capabilities.
For house spiders, their diet mainly consists of insects and other small arthropods. This may vary depending on what is available in their environment. Here are some of the most common meals these eight-legged creatures love to dine on:
Many of us know that spiders eat insects, specifically ones smaller than them. This includes flies, mosquitoes, moths, beetles, fleas, ants, etc.
While spiders will eat just about any type of insect their fangs can dig into, their favorites seem to be soft-bodied ones like caterpillars since they are easier to break down and digest.
Interestingly enough, house spiders can also eat bigger insects like cockroaches. They might be smaller and can easily get intimidated by insects bigger than their size, but they are smart enough and can strategize their webs to be an effective trap.
Once the prey gets stuck and dies of starvation, the spider will begin to wrap the target with its sticky web and consume it by sucking the fluids until it dries out.
Besides the common household insects, spiders will also feast on other types of arthropods, like mites, baby centipedes, and the like.
These creatures are usually small enough to fit into a spider’s mouth. Some spiders will also eat bigger arthropods like lizards and bats. I know that sounds crazy, but this is not impossible as some house spiders can grow big enough to consume these bigger prey.
Some house spiders will eat mammals. Even though house spiders typically stay away from these considered predators, if they spot a lifeless mammal, they will grab the chance to have it as their meal. However, if other insects are already gathering on the said meal, spiders will probably not join them as it can cause chaos as most insects do not like sharing their meals with another specie.
Read More: Do House Spiders Fight Each Other?
Interesting Food House Spiders Eat
House spiders, as they are named after, usually stay indoors and rarely go out to hunt. That means they have a limited variety of food, and sometimes they run out of prey, especially if the population of spiders in their area is already high.
During those instances, house spiders would consume some things we probably haven’t thought of. It is pretty common for house spiders to eat dust or whatever it is that sticks on their web, but a lot of people do not know that most spiders actually eat their webs on a daily basis!
They basically recycle their webs by consuming them and using the energy to build new ones or repair the damaged ones.
Another meal that spiders happily dig in that might surprise you is none other than their co-spiders! Yes, you heard it right. Spiders hunt basically anything they think they can prey on. If they get a chance, they will track and eat other species of spiders.
However, if a food crisis arises or if there is intimidation between spiders, they would resort to eating spiders that are of the same species.
Cannibalism is not that uncommon in spiders since a lot of them are loners and do not share their food or webs with others.
If you think about it, it actually makes sense for spiders to eat other spiders since they have similar genetics, so don’t be surprised to see a spider eating another spider. That’s just how their nature goes.
Spiders and Ants
Now onto the most-asked question: Do house spiders eat ants? Yes, most of them do. While most spiders prefer softer-bodied prey, some spiders will eat ants. In fact, there are even some species of spiders that specialize in eating ants.
For house spiders, it is common for them to consume ants that get stuck on their webs. Spiders will also actively hunt ants.
This is because ants are a good source of protein and they are relatively easy to catch. Spiders that eat ants generally have longer fangs that can penetrate the hard exoskeleton of an ant.
On the other hand, smaller spiders will avoid ants if they can. This is because ants are often too quick and agile for spiders to catch, and they also have a hard exoskeleton that spiders can’t penetrate.
Plus, many ants are equipped with powerful mandibles (jaws) that can give spiders a painful bite. So, while spiders may eat ants if they can, it’s not their first choice.
Misconceptions about House Spiders Diet
While house spiders can be cute and friendly, they’re still often seen as pests, and people are generally afraid of them.
We can’t blame some people as it is true that some (or most) spiders are venomous and can be dangerous to humans. It is also hard to tell which spiders are venomous and which aren’t.
However, most people should understand that spiders, especially house spiders, do not eat humans! Some people with Arachnophobia (the fear of spiders) are afraid that spiders will climb into their mouths while they’re sleeping and eat them from the inside out.
Rest assured, this is not the case. Spiders have no interest in eating humans whatsoever. The worst scenario is that they bite you out of being threatened or getting hurt.
Here is some other stuff that house spiders won’t eat even if they starve to death:
Clothes or Any Fabric
House spiders have no interest in clothes. They generally avoid humans and would rather stay hidden away in their webs.
Even if they were interested in your clothes, their mouthparts are not designed to chew on fabric. So nope, even if you find them in your closet, they are not the ones causing holes in your favorite shirt.
It’s kind of strange but a lot of people on the internet think spiders feast on their hair while they sleep. To clear this up, spiders do NOT eat hair, either human or animal.
While some spiders can climb up walls and ceilings, they generally avoid movements of any kind. So nope, if you find spiders in your bathroom, it’s not because they’re looking for hair to eat!
Fruits or Vegetables
Generally speaking, spiders are carnivores. They mainly eat insects; however, there’s this one unique spider specie that is considered a herbivore – the Bagheera Kiplingi.
This specie of spider can be found in Central America, and they are the only spiders known to eat plants. But for house spiders, you will rarely or probably never see one that eats plants.
Woods or Other Furniture
Even if you usually see house spiders in the wooded parts of your house, they do not pose harm to the wooden surface and nor intend to eat it. Spiders have mostly seen building webs on a surface of the wood because woods, especially rotting ones, can be damp, and it is a perfect spot for spiders to live as they love moisture.
In fact, spiders can actually help get rid of the stubborn wood-eater pests as they usually see these insects as a tasty meal.
It is interesting to know what house spiders eat and what they don’t. Their diet primarily eat insects, but often eat other spiders, especially when there’s food scarcity.
These creatures are often feared and misunderstood. But once you get to know them better, you’ll realize that they are usually harmless and can help keep your home free of pests. So, the next time you see a spider in your house, find a way to classify them through the internet or with a help of a professional.
This way you’ll know if it is safe to let them have free meals around your home or relocate them somewhere they belong.