General Question

sarahsugs's avatar

Are the spiders in my backyard dangerous?

Asked by sarahsugs (2898points) August 30th, 2007

Every year in late August here in Berkeley, CA, spider season arrives. This particular variety are speckled brown. They start out small (I assume those are the young ones), but in a month or so will turn into gigantic, fat, scary things as big around as a silver dollar and with abdomens an inch thick. In my small backyard right now are probably 10–12 webs, with more showing up every day. It makes gardening rather unpleasant because I constantly have to check to make sure I’m not going to stick my hand (or my face) into a gigantic spider web, not to mention the spider itself. I don’t think I’ll ever escape the squiggly feeling the spiders give me, but it would be nice to know if they are actually dangerous so I could garden with more peace of mind.

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4 Answers

brownlemur's avatar

Do you have a photo? You should take a photo of one and then email it to an arachnologist. Professors love to get emails like that. I recommend Rosemary Gillespie of UC Berkeley ( She knows her stuff.

gailcalled's avatar

In rural areas like mine, Cornell University has an agricultural extension office. There is a drop-off box (like for car keys at the mechanic’s) for insects, etc. If you lived here, you could put a spider in a sealed baggie and drop it off, w. yr contact info. Someone would get in touch w. you. We leave ticks,caterpillars, weird worms, and various forms of unpleasant beasties there all the time. Brownlemur’s idea gets my vote for your area, however.

gailcalled's avatar

Sarah; If you think you have spider problems, check this out.

Headline under pic: A web crawling with millions of spiders is growing across several acres of a state park 50 miles east of Dallas, inspiring both wonder and revulsion.

And have you talked to your neighbors?

skeh0138's avatar

anybody who discounts spiders as harmless needs a reality check. You tube brown recluse bite and you’ll see what these animals are capable of. Spiders are predators and predators are aggresive, they will bite. Noting that, I would advise to kill every single spider not in a web. Web building spiders, ( excluding black widow) catch and eat truly dangerous spiders better than poisons or traps. Leave the webs alone, they might seem gross but they’re serving a purpose.

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