Daddy long legs are known for a common myth that they are the most venomous spider known to man but are unable to penetrate this venom into humans, as they have no teeth or physical means to do so. While the various versions of this story are interesting, they are unfortunately not true. In fact, daddy long legs are not spiders at all; they are more closely related to harvestmen. They do, however, hunt and eat other spiders, such as the brown recluse and black widows, which are particularly venomous.
Webbing is a strong indication of daddy long legs in your home and may be more of a nuisance than the creature itself. The webs are large and irregular and are commonly found in many domestic dwellings. They are found in many countries in the world and like to like to live in moderate and hospitable climates. Most sightings can be controlled by removing the web and or daddy long legs when required.
Daddy Long Legs Identification
Daddy long legs are renowned for their disproportionately long legs that surround their body, which is much smaller than many other spiders or related arachnids. They are gray or light brown and do not usually grow more than two inches in length, even when their legs are fully extended. They use their height to create a much larger look when, in fact, they are very frail and fragile creatures.
You can also identify a daddy long legs by its webbing, which is usually sporadic, large in diameter and has no real structure. These are one of the most common webbings found in homes and can be washed away with soap and water. These creatures may choose to web in the corners or doorways of rooms, or around plants where other insects are likely to stumble or fall into them, creating an easy meal.
Daddy Long Legs Habitat
Daddy long legs may also be commonly known as cellar spiders. This is due to the frequent sightings of these in basements, attics or other dark areas in which they like to web and prey on small insects or files. Because of their trademark long legs, they may have difficulty walking. This means they are usually always in close proximity to their web and can be found by simply looking around the area.
If their continually growing legs become to long, daddy long legs are known to eat the ends of their feet to reduce their body weight. This is especially helpful, though rather disturbing, for males who must travel for mating. Once they are established, they vary rarely choose to leave an area unless there is no food source.
Life Cycle of Daddy Long Legs
Mating involves direct copulation between a male and female. Males often choose to protect their mates and the location of the eggs, but this is not always a given. For the males, this may also include multiple mates, but the females are monogamous, choosing only one mate per season. Male daddy long legs can inseminate several females at one time, which can lead to a fast colony of daddy long legs within weeks or months, all hatching within hours or days of one another.
Much like spiders, eggs are laid into the web to hep secure and protect them. The mother stays with them during this time. The length of time from copulation to the laying of the eggs can vary greatly, from a few days or weeks to a few months dependent on the conditions. Because daddy long legs cannot walk very well, they are opportunistic when mating and the female can decide when is appropriate to raise her young.
Once the eggs have hatched, they will become nymphs. During this time, they require many meals in order to shed and mature in size. Much like each of their phases, their longevity depends on their environment. Once they are mature, daddy long legs they can live for several years and may mate several times during this period.
Daddy Long Legs and Humans
Despite the incorrect notion that daddy long legs are dangerous and venomous, they are actually pretty harmless and their venom is ineffective to all but very small insect, in which case it can cause paralysis. The same applies for their bite, which is not known to affect humans or pets but may only be used to eat smaller insects or flies.
They can become a domestic pest, but their webbing is more likely to be a nuisance. This thick, irregular webbing may start to take over plants and walls if not quickly controlled. These creatures can web at an alarming rate and often produce a new web everyday to catch fresh food from. Webbing may also be found in plants, possibly indicating an infestation of other pests, such as spider mites. In this case, daddy long legs can provide efficient pest control.
Daddy Long Legs Control
Much like spiders, daddy long legs are pretty resilient to pesticides and insecticides. Chemical treatments may be applied in serious cases to help reduce population counts; these methods are not usually effective.
Cleaning: Removing webbing can help remove their food source and quite often, they will pick up and leave to find new grounds. Webs can be washed away with soap and water and is known to be one of the most effective ways of removing them from your home. This method can also be used on house plants.
Location: Ensuring all webbing from all locations in the home are removed is essential, as daddy long legs may choose to relocate within the home. Check basements, attics and other dark areas for signs of life and clean or monitor the area accordingly. This can also help you determine if there is enough of a population to consider chemical repellents.
Screening: Protective barriers on windows, doors and other entrances can help prevent these creatures from flying inside. You should check screening regularly for tears and replace when needed. Caulking can also help fill in small holes which is also be a preventive measure.
Electric zapper: Daddy long legs are attracted to bright lights and may be treated with the use of an electric zapper. This device electrocutes pests on impact and can also help relieve other flying insects. Regular cleaning is required for sanitation purposes.
Professional attention is not usually required when dealing with daddy long legs, but may be sought if you wish to have a professional analysis or cleaning service applied.
Daddy Long Legs Entomology
Daddy long legs belong to the animalia kingdom and are classed as arachnids due to their eight legs. They are also a member of the arthropoda phylum which is common to most insects. They may be placed in the dromopoda subclass and are specific to the opiiones order which categorizes this creature as a close resemblance to spiders which its own defining attributes.
Daddy long legs are considered web-weaving spider, though they are not a true spider by genetic categorization. They share many features as spiders but are their own species and share their genetic line with other opiiones creatures, which are similar to spiders also. This may be known as harvestmen.