The Fear of the 8 Legged Creepy-Crawlies

With over 35, 000 species of creepy-crawly spiders in the world (about 500 in Wisconsin), it’s not really a surprise that there is a common fear of them. It is said that 2 out of 10 males and 6 out of 10 females suffer from Arachnophobia.

The definition of Arachnophobia is, “the extreme or irrational fear of spiders and other arachnids”. Symptoms include excessive sweating, rapid breathing, a quickened heartbeat, nausea and dizziness.

Scientists differ on the reasons and origin of the fear; some believing that it is an innate fear, a primal instinct that is not learned. In fact, according to one study in 2010, baby crickets were seemingly born fearing spiders, if their mothers were exposed to them during gestation. Other scientists believe the phobia is mostly developed from a trauma or frightening experience that occurred during early childhood. Either way, Arachnophobia can be easily triggered by those who suffer from the phobia, even by a photo, someone mentioning a spider, or just visualizing a spider.

Historically and culturally speaking, the fear of spiders in the Dark Ages was commonly associated to be due to the belief that they were a source of contamination of food and water. They were even mistakenly believed to be the cause of the Bubonic Plague (though rat-fleas were in fact the true culprits).

To be medically diagnosed with Arachnophobia, it must interfere with your daily life and prevent you from performing your daily activities normally.

Treatment options have grown over the years, including:

  • Hypnotherapy
  • Systematic Desensitization: Involving a therapist exposing a patient to first photos of a spider, and then slowly working up to holding a live spider.
  • Virtual Reality Treatments: Following the same line of treatment as above, but by using a VR helmet and glove, and a computer generated spider.
  • And yes, there’s even an APP for that!

Arachnophobia aside, most spiders are mere annoyances, but the brown recluse (extremely rare in Wisconsin) and the black widow do pose a danger to humans. Both species tend to bite when threatened. The bites can be painful, cause allergic reactions and be fatal to small children.

To prevent spiders from nesting, keep garages, attics and basements clean and clutter free.

If you have a spider problem, we can help!

Call Safeway Pest Management at 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800 or visit us at


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