Jumping Spider Scientific Name: Phidippus mystaceus
All about the Jumping Spider
One of the creepiest things about a spider is that they scuttle around on eight legs and seem to be able to get into any crevice in your house, but if you have ever come in contact with a jumping spider you have probably experienced the sensation akin to panic that these bounding arachnids impose.
Jumping Spider Identification
If it’s not creepy enough that these spiders jump, they also happen to look like something out of a science fiction movie. Add to that the fact that this family of spiders if the biggest among spider species, making up about 13% of them, and you may begin to get a little…jumpy.
Aside from the fact that jumping spiders jump, their most distinguishing characteristic is their eye pattern. Jumping spiders have four pairs of eyes with the anterior median pair being very large. This gives jumping spiders an excellent sense of vision.
Jumping spiders are typically smaller than 0.8 inches, with females larger than males. These are some of the most brightly colored and interestingly marked spiders that exist. They have stout bodies, short legs, and the characteristically large eyes in the front of their head.
Jumping Spider Habitat and Food Source
The jumping spider is found on every continent in the world besides Antarctica, and resides in a variety of habitats. Preferring tropical forests, the jumping spider may also be found in deserts, intertidal zones, temperate forests, scrublands, and have even been found in as high altitudes as the slopes of Mount Everest
Jumping spiders do not trap prey in a web, but may drop a silk thread line for protective or reproductive purposes. They are active hunters and rely on superior eyesight to locate, track, and attack prey. The jumping spider will pounce on its prey and inject its venom, which acts very quickly to immobilize and kill it. Jumping spiders can jump several times the length of their body. They will spin a silk line (sometimes called a lifeline or dragline) and attach it to whatever it’s standing on, using it to pull itself back up if shaken off by its prey or after jumping towards a potential food source. Sounds a little like something Ethan Hunt would do, doesn’t it?
Generally carnivorous, eating other spiders or insects, many species of jumping spiders also consume nectar.
Jumping Spider Life Cycle
Male jumping spiders are more colorful and display more vibrant and distinct patterns than females. These traits are meant to aid in courtship, sometimes even exhibiting a type of “dance” in order to entice a female to mate with him. After mating, the female spider lays her eggs in an area protected by plants or under rocks or wood. Females will guard her young and may become protective of her egg sac. Jumping spiders have a life span of two to three years with a reproduction cycle of one year.
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Are Jumping Spiders venomous?
Because the jumping spider jumps, it is tempting to envision that it is a dangerous species of spider. In reality, the jumping spider is neither poisonous nor aggressive to humans. Like other spiders, the jumping spider will not “attack” humans or animals, but may bite in the case of a stressful situation. If a human or animal approaches a female’s egg sac or the spider is squeezed against a human’s skin it may bite protectively.
Jumping Spider Bites
The bite of a jumping spider is harmless unless the victim has an allergy to the spider’s venom. In this case, it is very important to seek medical attention to have the spider positively identified and the bite properly treated. If a jumping spider bite does exhibit symptoms, they may include minor swelling, redness, and itchiness. Apply ice to the bite and keep the area elevated but below the heart. Use an antihistamine if itching is persistent and an over-the-counter pain medicine if pain is very uncomfortable.
Jumping Spider Control
It is most common to encounter the Jumping spider during spring and summer, but they may be jumping around your house at any time of year. Either way, a professional is ready to help you eliminate your spider infestation.
- Outdoors: Once preventative measures such as sealing cracks, getting rid of egg sacs and webs, and trimming back landscaping are properly employed, a professional will work to eradicate the spider problem by applying insecticides around the outside of your home. Spraying directly in and around tight crevices where spiders are sure to hide is more effective than a widespread application. Chloropyrifos or diazinon, liquid pesticides, may be used.
- Indoors: Because Jumping spiders do wander inside, there are some methods that can be applied there as well. Again, after removing nesting sites, egg sacs, clutter, and food supply, insecticide is applied in places where spiders have been positively seen. Indoor application in conjunction with outdoor measures ensures the most likely total eradication.
- Go Green: If you are wary about using toxic insecticides, consider contacting a “green shield certified” pest control company; they specialize in using natural and organic methods of treating spider infestations.
DIY and Green Solutions for Jumping Spider Control
Spiders can be controlled fairly easily with some easy steps you can do without the use of pesticides.
- Indoors: Get rid of all clutter in your home: boxes, clothes, shoes, garbage, bags, and papers. You just might disturb the nesting site of a Jumping spider enough that they will relocate. Plus you’re essentially removing their favorite places to hide inside. Look for and vacuum egg sacs in windows, corners, and other quiet places and sweep up or vacuum any webs. If infestation indoors is widespread, consider using a light application of insecticides around places where spiders have been seen.
- Outdoors: Some of the most important spider control is done outdoors around your home. If spiders are found inside, they’re clearly getting in to the house somehow. Remove clutter like bricks, lumber, leaves, soil, and branches away from the sides of your house. Such debris can become an instant nesting site for all kinds of spiders and bugs. Check your foundation, windows, and doors for cracks and seal them right away. Use caulking or urethane foam for any gaps that might be a causeway for the spiders. Replace screens on windows and doors as well as weather stripping.
- Landscaping: After clearing debris away from exterior walls, consider revising your landscape plan. If spiders have become a problem around your house, there are some shrubs that actually repel spiders (and other bugs, too!). You may consider planting green alder, sage, rosemary, or Artemisia. These types of shrubs produce certain oils that keep these pests away.
Although the Jumping spider has been known to make your blood pressure rise, there is nothing particularly dangerous about it. Infestations can happen inside or outside, but numbers can be easily controlled. Seek professional pest control help if numbers have become unmanageable. Or if you have a particular fear of leaping arachnids.