7 Reasons Spiders Aren’t Really Attracted To Humans

Argiope lobata, a wheel weaver

You may know that one friend that seems to come across all the spiders, or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, this topic may cause you to wonder, can spiders be attracted to humans? I’m going to give that ambiguous answer everyone hates; “maybe, but not really…”

Spiders aren’t truly attracted to humans for the reasons we would normally assume. We are not a food source for these arachnids, but we may attract prey insects, which would attract spiders. The heat we emit may attract spiders, but because humans are big and scary, they would rather stay away. 

Now that we have made that answer about as clear as mud viewed through a solid wood door, let’s see if we can’t clarify.

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General Things That Attract Spiders

Sometimes, for all the wrong reasons, a spider can be attracted to humans. Before you seal yourself in a spider-proof bubble to keep all those eight-legged suitors from chasing you around the house, let me explain. 

Spiders cannot see well at all. It is thought they only see colors and vague shapes. Imagine putting on your friend’s glasses and all you can see are fuzzy amorphous blobs. That’s probably what a spider’s vision resembles.

To a spider, a human sitting on a couch probably resembles a tree, a large hill. Before we move or start making sounds, we look like a plain obstacle to most spiders. 

Heat Attracts Spiders

Insects and arachnids cannot create their own body heat. They have to find ways to warm themselves up, just like reptiles, turtles, and snakes. So a spider—that can’t see in 20/20 vision—may sense the heat we emit and crawl toward us to warm up. 

That is, until we move, make a noise, or they get closer and realize the obstacle they thought was inanimate is, in fact, alive. When spiders realize humans are alive, they will turn tail and run. Spiders may not have fully developed brains like us, but they know that bigger living creatures are a threat to their survival. 

Though they can’t see very well, and their brains are tiny little things, spiders have some other amazing senses. The hairs that cover their bodies and legs can pick up on the slightest vibrations and the lightest air changes. So when a spider gets closer to humans, it can even detect your heartbeat.

You can read more about the things that bring spiders indoors here!

Spiders May Be Attracted To Food Odors

I know I love food and like to eat. Whether that’s a big plate of dinner full of delectable morsels, or it’s a lazy Sunday evening and I have some snacks with me. Spiders may be attracted to food odors. 

The attraction isn’t because the spider wants a bite of your potato chips or burgers, but they know these scents attract other insects. This is what the spider wants to munch on. These arachnids are master hunters, so they know how to find a meal; they don’t have door dash like we do. 

They will come close to the food scents and wait for unsuspecting insects to come inspect, then the spider gets what it was waiting for. 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development says spiders are attracted to houses that have a lot of insects inside or around them. When you remove the insects, you invariably remove the spiders because they are after the bugs for food. 

While these scents may attract them, there are a few you can use to deter spiders as well.

Spiders Smell Your Breath

Don’t worry, you don’t need a breath mint, spiders can probably sense the carbon dioxide coming from your respirations.

I keep saying “probably,” and “maybe,” because scientists aren’t 100% sure what spiders can sense, smell, and see. They know spiders have amazing senses, but beyond that, things get a little less certain.

So, some spiders may be attracted to humans because of the breath we exhale. We know mosquitoes find us because of that. Some spiders hunt these blood-sucking insects. In essence, they might be attracted to us to find their favorite meal.

By keeping the mosquitoes away from you, the spiders will have no reason to get up close and personal.

You can help keep the flying blood-suckers away without putting chemicals on yourself with this Thermacell Mosquito Repellent E-Series. It’s a rechargeable, electronic mosquito repellent that doesn’t emit odors.

Spiders As Pets

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a pet spider, it’s not my thing either. Pet spiders will eventually become attracted to humans, especially if they are handled often. 

The reasons being because we offer something they want or need. When a spider is kept as a pet, they depend on their owners for food, water, and shelter. In this relationship, the spider will be attracted to humans because they have been associated with food and possibly comfort.  

Reasons Spiders Aren’t Attracted To Us

Giant spider in the forest.

Many people across the world experience a primal fear of spiders, but there are only a few that we truly have to worry about, and they don’t even want to be around us. Spiders won’t actively seek a person to bite them. These bites come because the spider feels it has no other option.

When they can’t run, or they feel their life is being threatened, then it will bite. Most spider bites happen when we accidentally come into contact with them. Shoes and gloves left in a garage or outside can become a hiding place for them. 

When we stick our little toes or fingers into these items, if a spider has deemed the shoe or glove a nice hideout, you both end up getting surprised. The spider has no place to escape. As it ends up getting pressed into a dead end, it will bite to protect itself. 

When storing shoes, gloves, or anything that a spider can hide in that will come in contact with your skin, the best way to avoid getting bitten is to store these items in a sealable plastic tote. These Superio Clear Plastic Storage Bins with Lids are an excellent way to organize clutter and keep spiders out of your belongings. 

There are very few reasons a spider might come close to a human, and most times, when the spider realizes their mistake, they try to get away as quickly as possible. 

If you’re one of these unlucky people that seem to always run into spider webs outside, or find these eight-eyed frights dropping from the ceiling directly in front of your face, it’s not because they have targeted you. It’s honestly just by chance.

There are billions of spiders in the world, and every human being is going to run across a few of them. Here are seven reasons spiders aren’t attracted to humans. 

Humans Are Not Spider Prey

Humans are not on the menu for these eight-legged arachnids. It’s probably because we have too much cholesterol, or maybe it’s because insects just taste so much better.

Possibly it’s because spiders can easily take down most insects, while we tend to just flatten them when they get too close. 

Spiders don’t even want to bite us if they can help it. They’d much rather save their venom for food. To add to that, most spiders can’t even penetrate our skin, and we often stomp them on sight, so spiders don’t want to get in our way.

The Illinois Department of Health backs up that most spiders aren’t a problem to humans. According to them, most spiders aren’t dangerous to humans. While there are over 3,500 species of spider in the U.S., most of those are incapable of biting through human skin.

Still, if you suspect a spider has bitten you, contact a professional for some guidance!

We Aren’t Mates For Spiders 

This definition of mates isn’t the same as a buddy, friend, or cohort, it’s… yeah, that one.

So, of course, we will not be very alluring to spiders. Kind of obvious here but just pointing it out!

They just want to weave webs, eat insects, and make more spider babies. Humans don’t factor into that equation anywhere.

Spiders Generally Fear Humans And Stay Away

Close up of a spider on a dew covered web

The biggest reason spiders aren’t seeking humans out is because they perceive us as threats. It’s difficult to tell if insects can feel emotions such as fear. Some people say they can, while others say spider brains are too small and underdeveloped to pick up and feel emotions.

What we can tell for certain is spiders have a sense of self-preservation. They will run away from things that are bigger than they are.

Humans also usually move around a lot. With these big movements, spiders will try to stay away from us. Whether it’s intentional or by accident, these bugs know they can easily become a past-tense memory if they get too close.

Even when we are asleep, we make noises spiders don’t like. Whether we are breathing, snoring, talking in our sleep, or just moving around trying to get comfortable, our movements frighten them away.

If you are afraid of spiders, then be big, noisy, and loud. Just try not to annoy the neighbors, and you’ll still have to be quiet in the library.

You can read more about this in our article about why spiders won’t remember you!

People Flatten Spiders

Most of us have adopted a “squish it on sight” attitude with spiders. For that reason alone, they want to stay away from us.

There are more benefits to keeping spiders around than there are to getting rid of them from your entire property. Spiders keep down the insect population by eating them. They help to reduce the number of many pests like mosquitoes, wasps, and flies.

While it’s understandable to want to keep all spiders and bugs out of your house, leaving some outside will help control the pest population.

Of course, if you have a lot of spiders in your house and you just don’t know how to get rid of them, contact a professional pest control service. They will help you come up with a plan to keep them out of your domicile. 

Spiders Don’t Like Noises

We recently discovered spiders can hear very well. People can create a lot of noise. Whether you’re playing music so loud that the neighbors come and join the party, or the tv is up, or other reasons, spiders will often stay away from these sounds. 

Their webs can often detect tiny vibrations, and many spiders hunt by sensing those movements. The struggling of a bug in a web will send a spider down so it can immobilize it, and either eat the insect or save it for later.

Some loud sounds can imitate these vibrations, but when a spider realizes it has not caught a meal, it will run away and hide. These unnatural sounds and vibrations can make spiders want to go away, instead of coming closer, at least initially. 

While loud noises are a fantastic spider deterrent, they are not the only things you can use to scare away spiders!

Humans Remove Spider Webs

spider web on tree twig in morning dew

Whether they are outside among the flowers, inside the house in the top corner of your room, or hanging around the porch light, people don’t want spider webs on their property. Unless, of course, it’s nearing Halloween and we leave them up for creepy, natural decorations.

If we see spider webs on our garden plants or flower gardens, we often remove them because they don’t fit into what we see as attractive. Also, no one wants to be digging around in the flowerbeds and accidentally grab up a spider.

Cobwebs in the house make us feel like the house is dirty, plus those abandoned webs are unappealing. So, we take them down. While a spider has no problem making a new web on a nightly basis, sometimes this could make them move to a different location.

This relocation is probably by accident. Take orb-weaver spiders, for instance. These are the spiders that spin the recognizable shapes most of us think about when we imagine a spider web.

When this web is taken down, it could take the owner with it, so the spider is moved to a different location. Another possibility is when the web is destroyed, the spider, sensing its life is in danger, moves of its own accord.

Something big enough to remove a spider’s web is not something it wants to be near. For that reason alone, spiders will not come close to humans.

Humans Are Perceived As Predators To Spiders

People aren’t truly predators of spiders, we are more a destroyer of them. Although some cultures eat spiders and consider them a delicacy, this guy right here will not be trying them in this lifetime. I’m just not that adventurous.

Spiders don’t know that though. When they see something moving that is bigger than them, they don’t go to inspect it. They will run away because larger living creatures are usually predators.

Though spiders can eat most insects, whether they are bigger or smaller than them, these eight-legged creatures are often food for other animals. Birds, lizards, certain types of wasps, and even other spiders all will eat these web weavers.

Even though the vast majority of us will never taste a spider, they don’t know that we don’t want to consume them. For that reason, spiders most often stay away from humans.

That’s A Wrap!

While there may be a few minor reasons spiders get a little too close for comfort, once they realize we aren’t what they expected, they will typically try to get far, far away from us.

Spiders don’t truly want to be around humans, because, for the most part, we truly aren’t compatible. Humans are noisy, scary, and a select few might see them as food!

For these reasons and more, spiders truly fear us more than we do them and essentially are not attracted to humans.

Happy spider repelling!

References:

Walter A, Bechsgaard J, Scavenius C, et al. Characterisation of protein families in spider digestive fluids and their role in extra-oral digestion. BMC Genomics. 2017;18(1):600. Published 2017 Aug 10. doi:10.1186/s12864-017-3987-9

Marsh, Elizabeth J., Allison D. Cantor, and Nadia M. Brashier. “Believing that humans swallow spiders in their sleep: False beliefs as side effects of the processes that support accurate knowledge.” Psychology of learning and motivation. Vol. 64. Academic Press, 2016. 93-132.

Mullen, Gary R., and Richard S. Vetter. “Spiders (Araneae).” Medical and veterinary entomology. Academic Press, 2019. 507-531.

Zvaríková, Martina, et al. “What makes spiders frightening and disgusting to people?.” Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (2021): 424.

Nentwig, Wolfgang, et al. “Concerning a Tense Relationship: Of Humans and Spiders.” All You Need to Know About Spiders. Springer, Cham, 2022. 215-222.

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