Why Are People Afraid Of Spiders?

Last Modified on September 19, 2023 by Zachary Smith

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Look up any top ten list of phobias, and alongside the fear of heights and the fear of enclosed spaces, you’ll see the fear of spiders right near the top of the list. Arachnophobia has been around for centuries and causes people to do some crazy things. But why are people afraid of something as small as a spider?

Arachnophobes In The News

Most people are willing to admit that they’ve had an encounter or two with a spider that has, at the very least, made them jump in surprise. A wolf spider suddenly appearing on the wall near your head can make even those not afraid of spiders a bit uneasy, if only for a moment. However, in some cases, that fear extends far beyond a simple spurt of surprise. Some people are so afraid of spiders that they lose their good sense and make some terrible decisions.

Take a West Virginia prosecutor as an example. When his co-workers decorated their office with fake spiders for Halloween, he became so upset that he pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot the decorations if they weren’t taken down.

mother in Indiana was backing out of her driveway with her son in the backseat when she spotted a spider on her shoulder and jumped out of the car.

Unfortunately, she forgot to put it in park first. When her son climbed into the front seat to try to apply the brake, he accidentally stepped on the gas, driving their car into a passing school bus. He ended up in the hospital with minor injuries.

In another vehicle-related story, a 17-year-old girl noticed a spider on her lap while she was driving and took her hands off the wheel to swat at it. Her car crossed the center lane, causing a four-car pile-up. Thankfully, all injuries were minor.

Then there’s the story that takes the proverbial cake. A man pumping gas noticed a spider near his open fuel door. Inexplicably, he decided to take out a lighter to burn the spider to death. Not surprisingly, a fire ensued that destroyed the gas pump but thankfully did not cause any injuries.

Why Are People Afraid Of Spiders?

So what is it that causes people to do such foolish things when in the presence of such a tiny pest—or even in the presence of fake pests? According to Psychology Today, the most likely reason for arachnophobia is something they call the disgust emotion. This emotion likely developed in humans as a way to prevent disease and illness and is triggered by things such as vomit, feces, and “fear relevant” animals—such as rats, slimy animals—such as slugs, and most especially—spiders.

There are other reasons and theories about why so many people are afraid of spiders. Some say it’s a learned response through family or culture; however, it’s possible that someone’s brain chemistry may dispose them to arachnophobia. A bad experience with spiders can also lead to a lifelong fear.

How To Keep Spiders Out Of Your Home

Although there are plenty of ways to work at overcoming your fear of spiders, most would agree that whether you are afraid of them or not, they don’t belong in your home. To keep them out, consider the following:

  • Seal up gaps, cracks, and holes around the outside of your house to prevent their entry into your home.
  • Repair damaged screens on doors and windows and install door sweeps on exterior doors.
  • Keep moisture levels low in your house.
  • Reduce clutter inside, so there are fewer places for spiders to hide.
  • Ensure you don’t have another pest problem. Spiders follow a food source, so if you have a spider problem, you may have another pest problem as well.
  • Contact Smith’s Pest Management. We don’t only solve your gopher problems; we also protect your home from a variety of pests, including spiders.

When spiders invade your home, you don’t have to be afraid. Contact Smith’s to make your house spider-free.

Author Bio: Zach Smith

Landscape Pro Turned Gopher Pro: Owner, Zach Smith, graduate of Cal Poly’s Horticulture program worked nine years as a landscape professional- dealing with gophers, moles, and ground squirrels and was quickly recruited by other local gardeners. Fast forward to the past 15+ years, where Zach and his team trap and remove burrowing pests from residential, municipal and commercial properties throughout the San Francisco Bay area, from Marin to Monterey.