Don’t mess with these types of spiders in NJ
It’s enough to give you the creeps.
As we head into the dog days of summer, there seem to be lots of large spiders crawling around the Garden State.
“There’s actually more spiders in the spring when spider eggs hatch but some will die off, so the number of spiders now is lower but they’re bigger as they’re getting to be adults,” said Eugene Fuzy, a Rutgers University entomology consultant and spider expert.
He estimates there are literally hundreds of different types of spiders living in the state.
“All spiders have venom. They use the venom to digest their food. If we grab them, pinch them, they might bite us," he said.
Most types of spiders, however, don’t pose a serious threat to people. But one that does is the black widow — and it’s found in Jersey.
“All the way from High Point to Cape May. Typically you find them in wood piles, low areas, dense brush," he said.
Black widows typically don’t like to bite people and usually won’t do so unless they feel threatened.
“Spiders are like rattle snakes. If they bite you, they don’t have to inject venom. But black widow venom is very dangerous, especially to children and the elderly.”
Despite what you may have heard, black widow female spiders don’t always eat their mates. In fact, if there is an ample supply of insects, she will share her food with the male.
“If she’s not getting enough food, the male sacrifices himself, she will eat him and that gives her enough protein to make maybe 60 babies or so.”
Another spider to avoid is the grass spider.
“Those are the spiders that make those flat webs that have the funnel at the end. Those bites are very, very painful, usually lasting three hours or longer.”
He said spiders will typically get into your home through cracks in your basement, foundation or unsecured window sills.
He noted if a spider does wind up in your home, trapping it can be tricky.
“Most spiders’ vision is very poor but they can sense air movement very well. So if you move your hand, they can definitely feel it way before it gets to them.”
He said one type of spider that has big eyes and excellent vision is the jumping spider.
“They’ll follow a glittering object. They can jump up to 10 times their body length, so they need very good vision and precision to catch prey.”
You might be afraid of spiders, but Fuzy pointed out they play an important role in nature.
“Spiders eat without discrimination, so they’ll eat a lot of pests, a lot of flying insects due to the shape of their web. Mosquitoes and flies are definitely on the menu.”