If you have a barn, shed, or any other kind of sheltered space on your property then you have most likely seen a barn spider at least once in your life. So are these arachnids your friend or foe? You may be familiar with the barn spider Charlotte from the beloved children’s book Charlotte’s Web. Yes, she was a barn spider, and you can pretty much equate her helpful nature to all barn spiders. Barn spiders are a very helpful species to have around.
Barn spiders come from the family of orb-weaving spiders. These spiders make your typical flat, orb-shaped webs most people are used to equating with spider webs in general. They use these webs to capture prey, which happen to be some of the most annoying insect pests around, such as mosquitos, flies, small moths, and other small flying insects that get stuck in their web. These are spiders you want to thank, not try to control or eliminate.
Barn spiders tend to be grayish colored, with a rounded abdomen that has several small humps towards the front. They have banded legs, with gray and other dark colors interspersed with each other. Their entire body and legs also happens to be hairy. They are very shy and reclusive creatures, not aggressive in their demeanor. The only time they bite is when a human tried to handle them incorrectly or if they are overtly threatened. You have try pretty hard to get these spiders to attack you. Overall they are a great species of beneficial spider to have around.
Do you have barn spiders somewhere around your home? How do you treat them? Do you see them as beneficial to your home or as more of a pest and why?