Whilst the creepy cockroach can strike fear in the heart of the strongest individual, there are other insects which have the same effect such as flying moths, beetles and spiders. However spiders are in fact not insects at all. They are arachnids. Other members of the arachnid family include scorpions, ticks and mites. An easy way to identify whether a bug is an insect or arachnid is by the number of legs it has. All insects have six legs including the cockroach. Spiders have eight.
Whilst someone with a cockroach phobia could harbour the same emotions towards the humble spider, they in fact have very little in common with one another. Whilst cockroaches spread disease such as Salmonella, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, most spiders are pretty harmless to humans. There are of course a few species of spider such as the infamous Black Widow which can cause fatal bites. But even most Tarantula species pose no threat to human life. Deaths from spider bites are rare while illnesses spread by cockroaches remain rife. Those spiders that we find living in our homes are harmless.
Geographically cockroaches are mainly found in tropical and subtropical locations with the exception of the rule being German, American and Oriental which have evolved and adapted themselves to live within human habitats. But spiders are found all over the world in every continent except in Antarctica where there are none.
Why do we have such fear of creepy crawlies? Scientists have studied the phenomenon for years but simply it’s because we just don’t understand their behaviour. We are fearful of quick, unpredictable movements of which most exhibit. We are scared of dark creeping or fast moving objects and are socially conditioned as children to be fearful. We literally develop insect, or arachnid, phobia and fears from childhood – from our parents or siblings. In contrast whilst we are conditioned to be fearful of dark creeping insects we do not attach those same negative conations with colourful butterflies and ladybirds – even though they are also insects.
There are further studies into the fact that our children have become detached from the natural world – spending more time inside on their Playstation than outside in the garden. It has a name ‘nature deficit disorder’ and the detachment from the natural world literally increases our fear – including that of insects and arachnids.
However there are a few reasons to really like spiders. If you find a spider in your home this is a good sign because there would be thousands of other bugs that you would not want in your home if the spider wasn’t there. The spider is keeping your house clean which is why people often think of the spider as a ‘clean’ creature. The same applies to your garden where they will keep the pest population reduced for you. Lastly, spiders are a sign of good luck in many cultures all over the world.