Are Spiders Nocturnal?
Spiders can be scary to many people. This is because they often move quickly, and we are naturally programmed to avoid most insects due to our ancestors having bad experiences with them. However, some insects, such as spiders, can help us keep other pests away from our homes and yards.
Spiders are very good at killing and eating insects like flies and ants, which can be a big nuisance to homeowners. This is common to most spider species, and they exist in the food chain to help control nuisance insects. If you are tired of flies and other nuisance bugs, allowing spiders to stay near your house will help attend to these pests.
Contrary to popular belief, not all spiders are nocturnal. Some spiders are active during the day, and many eat and hunt during the daytime.
Are Spiders More Active at Night?
Some spiders are only truly active at night, and these are often the poisonous spiders like the Black Widow. Friendly spiders like the Orb Weaver are very active at night and rarely come out during the day.
Common spider varieties will avoid being active during the day and will only come out to wrap up bugs that have been caught in their webs or to repair webs that animals or humans passing by them has damaged.
They are motivated to stay away from the light to protect their sight and ensure that their natural predators do not harm them. This preference for darkness is why spiders are much more commonly seen in garages, basements, under rocks, or caves. This is also why they prefer the dark corners of the rooms in your home.
What do Spiders Do During the Day?
While most spiders are nocturnal, some hunt during the day. Species such the wolf spider are active hunters who use their quick reflexes to rise and pounce prey. They often hunt in grassy and leaf-covered areas and can be seen either during the day or at night.
For nocturnal species, daytime is the time to hide in cooler locations like the deepest recesses under a rock or the farthest corner of the room behind their spider web. Orb Weaver spiders are so well camouflaged, you might not even know they're there. They spend most of the day out of sight in their nest, but they come out to hunt at night.
You might see a nocturnal spider emerge to wrap up and take a victim of their web into their lair, but you will be very unlikely to see them engaged in web building or any other kind of activity.
Do Spiders Sleep?
Spiders do not sleep in the way that we do, but they do have natural rest and activity cycles like most animals and insects. They cannot close their eyes because they do not have eyelids, but they retreat into dark spaces to hide and stay cool while they rest.
Spiders are not necessarily inactive during the day because they are sleeping. They are usually trying to avoid becoming a snack for their predators, and they are saving up energy at the same time by resting.
The Museum of New Zealand likens spider resting phases to a computer that has gone to sleep. As soon as something touches their web, they wake up and handle the need to collect their prey, then return to their resting state until it is nighttime, and they can be active safely.
Are Spiders Attracted to Light?
Some people think that spiders are attracted to the light because they will often see them in areas that have bright lights. They might build webs under porch lights or in areas where there are timed lights that come on at night.
The spiders in these locations are not drawn to the light. Instead, they are drawn to the insects that are attracted to the light. Many kinds of flying insects are attracted to lights, and spiders will build their webs in these locations to easily capture lots of food every time the lights come on. A 1999 study found that when comparing webs in lit environments to those in unlit environments, the percentage of insects was greater, and consequently, the webs captured more prey.
Many spiders are not light-sensitive, and they do not respond to light because they desire to be in the light. However, spiders are clever hunters, and they build their webs in places where they are sure to catch lots of food. These will often be locations with lots of light in the evening when insects are at their most active.
There is some evidence that spiders will move toward lights when it is dark out, but there is no indication that this is because of any actual preference of the spider. Instead, they are instinctually aware that bright lights mean bugs and move toward the light to hunt efficiently.
Spiders Can be Helpful to Your Home and Your Yard
If you have been worried about the spider living in your garage or are scared of spiders who are building webs near your porch lights, don't worry! There are very few poisonous spiders that you need to be concerned about. Most spiders are simply helping you to control your yard and home's insect population. So if you are scared of spiders, you can rest easy knowing that they will probably not show themselves until dark.
Sharing space with spiders in your home will mean that you will have fewer flies, mosquitoes, and other nuisance insects. If you allow spiders to stay in your garage or on the outside of your home, you will be able to have an effective partnership with them that will keep your home from being infested with flies and other unwanted pests.
Spiders might not always be nocturnal insects, but they are frequently at their most active during the nighttime hours. This makes it easy to coexist with them in total harmony.