LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - They are creepy. They have too many legs, too many eyes, hide in dark spaces, and have captured our imaginations as things that we don't want. They also have hair on their bodies, even though they don't have skin. They just have hair. And that is deeply unsettling.

Spiders. Freaking spiders.

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But some of them have their purpose.

Spiders play several critical roles in our ecosystems, making them highly beneficial. One of their most important contributions is natural pest control. Spiders are natural predators of many insects that can harm crops and human health.

By feeding on pests such as mosquitoes, flies, and agricultural pests, spiders help control these populations, reducing the need for chemical pesticides. Additionally, the presence and diversity of spider species serve as indicators of ecosystem health. A diverse spider population often suggests a balanced and healthy environment, making them valuable biodiversity indicators.

Although not primary pollinators, some spiders contribute to pollination. By interacting with flowers, they may inadvertently assist in this process, supporting plant reproduction. Furthermore, spiders are integral to food webs, serving as both predators and prey.

Many birds, reptiles, and small mammals rely on spiders as a food source, highlighting their importance in sustaining biodiversity.

Burrowing spiders, such as tarantulas and wolf spiders, aid in soil aeration. Their burrowing activities improve soil structure and composition, promoting plant health. In scientific research, spiders are invaluable, especially in biology, ecology, and medicine. Spider silk, known for its unique properties, is being studied for potential applications in materials science and biotechnology.

Spiders also play a role in reducing disease vectors. By preying on insects like mosquitoes, they help mitigate the spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. Overall, spiders contribute significantly to maintaining ecological balance, promoting plant health, and supporting biodiversity. Their role in natural pest control is particularly valuable, offering an eco-friendly alternative to chemical pest management.

Here are some spiders you're likely to see out and about this summer and how they're helpful to your home.

Louisiana Spiders That Make Great Neighbors

Yes, spiders can be creepy, crawly, and sometimes downright scary. But, there are some benefits to our eight-legged neighbors. Here are some common ones in Louisiana that actually provide some benefit to homeowners!

Gallery Credit: Joe Cunningham

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