7 Super Important Things Spiders Do For Us

They might be creepy critters, but spiders play a vital role in the ecosystem.

From helping us live healthier lives to contributing to medical research, there are certainly more benefits than drawbacks to having these eight-legged crawlers around!

We have put together a list of 7 super important things spiders do for us, including:

  • Providing pest control.
  • Contributing to medical treatments.
  • Feeding helpful wildlife.
  • Contributing to research on life in space.
  • Contributing to engineering research.
  • Contributing to research on global warming.
  • Providing us with healthier food options.

1. Spiders Are a Natural Form of Pest Control

Spiders feast on insects that include flies, cockroaches, and mosquitoes. As a natural form of pest control, spiders help keep us safe from the diseases and unpleasantries that these other pests spread.


Flies spend a lot of time landing on, feasting on, and laying eggs on rotting substances, manure, dead animals, and trash.

The thought of this alone is enough to turn your stomach, but when they land on these things, they can also pick up diseases that they can spread to us.

Flies can spread diseases including:

  • Typhoid
  • Cholera
  • Shigellosis
  • Dysentery
  • Tularemia
  • Leprosy
  • Poliomyelitis


Cockroaches can spread diseases including:

  • Dysentery
  • Cholera
  • Typhoid fever
  • Staphylococcus infection
  • Salmonella infection
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Leprosy
  • Plague


Mosquitoes are more than bothersome biters; they are also a significant vector of disease for humans.

Mosquitoes can spread diseases including:

  • West Nile Virus
  • Zika
  • Dengue Fever
  • Malaria
  • Yellow Fever

2. Spiders Provide Multiple Medical Benefits

Both spider venom and spider silk have valuable medicinal applications!

A 2014 study at the University of Queensland found that the modified venom of the Chinese bird spider created a pain-killing protein.

Scientists believe that this substance is a step towards remedying the local opioid crisis by providing a less addictive pain killer.

Scientists have also studied the application of spider venom in cancer research and its benefits in delaying the effects of a stroke.

For centuries spider silk has been used to dress wounds because it is a protein-based biocompatible material.

By drawing on this spider silk tradition of the ancient Greeks and Romans, researchers have even developed a synthetic spider silk bandage.

Researchers are also hopeful that spider silk can prove valuable for wound repair. By acting as a scaffold, spider silk aids in repairing damaged tissue, promoting faster, more efficient wound reparation.

Researchers have also found that spider silk has gram-positive antibacterial properties.

In an experiment, they exposed spider silk to gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. The silk had little effect on the gram-negative bacteria but did show to inhibit the growth of gram-positive bacteria!

Additionally, researchers say that spider silk holds promise as a drug delivery medium.

Researchers believe that they can use silk to sense biomarkers and, with the application of an antimicrobial coating, can deliver antimicrobial medications in a more efficient yet biocompatible way.

3. Spiders Feed Helpful Critters in Our Ecosystem

It seems an odd “benefit,” but spiders are a great source of nourishment for various beneficial wildlife species in our environment – talk about the circle of life!

Animals that feed on spiders include:

  • Other spiders.
  • Birds.
  • Wasps.
  • Small mammals.
  • Lizards.

These spider-eating animals have a valuable role in ecology, but not just because they keep spider populations in check!


Birds play a vital role in our ecosystem by:

  • Dispersing seeds from plants.
  • Controlling other insect populations.
  • Pollinating plants.

In fact, birds are so vital to our biome that the extinction of bird species has led to the obliteration of symbiotic organisms.

For example, the extinction of the dodo led to the loss of a fruit tree that depended on the dodo for seed dispersal!


Wasps play a vital role in our bionetwork by:

  • Pollinating plants.
  • Dispersing plant seeds.
  • Controlling pests.
  • Providing venom for medical uses.

Small Mammals

Small mammals that eat spiders include monkeys, mice, possums, and raccoons.

Monkeys play a vital role in our environment by:

  • Dispersing plant seeds.
  • Controlling pests.
  • Teaching us about our history.

Mice play a vital role in our ecosphere by:

  • Providing a food source for many other animals.
  • Spreading fungi.
  • Dispersing plant seeds.
  • Being valuable in scientific research.

Possums play a vital role in our habitat by:

  • Performing extreme pest control (including snakes.)
  • Providing cleanup of animal carcasses.
  • Eating fallen, rotting fruits and preventing them from damaging your landscaping.

Raccoons play a vital role in our world by:

  • Controlling pests.
  • Dispersing plant seeds.
  • Protecting bees by eating the wasps that predate bees.


Lizards play a vital role in our ecology by:

  • Controlling pests.
  • Providing lizard venom for medical and scientific research and advances.
  • Sourcing blood for scientific and medical research that can treat many human diseases.

4. Spiders Have Proven Valuable in the Study of Life in Space  

NASA has conducted various experiments with spiders in space!

Specifically, NASA has proven that orb-weaving spiders can adapt to life on the ISS, and jumping spiders can survive in an environment without gravity!

Researching the effects of living in space on various species can provide us with valuable information about life in microgravity in general.

NASA’s experiments have also taught us a great deal about the adaptability of spiders and how gravity and light play into web building.

NASA’s experiments showed that spiders use light to orient themselves when building webs if gravity is absent.

NASA’s experiments also revealed these other findings relating to spiders:

  • Like humans, spiders have an adjustment period when they first get to space.
  • Spiders are resourceful and will adapt to web building in a new environment by changing their building approach.
  • While developing new web-building methods, spiders will try (and fail) repeatedly until they find a way to achieve their goal.

5. Spider Silk is An Engineering Marvel

Spider silk is not just valuable to medicine as it also has engineering applications.

Despite being lightweight, spider silk is also quite strong, and engineers realized how valuable a similar material could be in military applications (specifically bullet-proof clothing and parachutes.)

Further research into synthetic spider silk has found that it also has applications in robotics to keep machinery clean.

Other applications of synthetic spider silk include:

  • More durable clothing.
  • Surgical thread.
  • Rust-free material for vehicle panels.
  • Artificial ligaments and tendons.
  • Biodegradable containers (bottles.)

One producer of synthetic spider silk, Kraig Labs, compares natural spider silk to Kevlar and steel. They find that:

  • Dragline spider silk has a material toughness of 120,000-160,000 J/kg compared to Kevlar (30,000-50,000 J/kg) and steel (2,000-6,000 J/kg)
  • Dragline spider silk has a tensile strength of 1,100-2,900 million pascals compared to Kevlar (2,600-4,100 million pascals) and steel (300-2,000 million pascals.)
  • Dragline spider silk weighs 1.18-1.36 grams per cubic centimeter of material compared to Kevlar (1.44 grams per cubic centimeter of material) and steel (7.84 grams per cubic centimeter of material.)

6. Spiders and Climate Change

We are also learning a lot from spiders about the effects of climate change and can use that knowledge to make predictions based on those effects.

One study found that warmer Arctic climates caused by global warming have led to bigger spiders. The same study also found that these spiders are mating more frequently.

Researchers predict that the change in spider populations will influence food supplies in the Arctic, creating longer growing seasons.

Longer growing seasons mean that farmers can grow more diverse crops, and plants actively grow for longer – as a result, local food crops will change.

7. Providing Us With Healthier Food Options

As we mentioned above, spiders play a valuable role in pest control, and this means that they are a great solution to pest management in farming.

Relying on natural pest control like spiders means that farmers can use less toxic pesticides in food production.

According to the World Health Organization, we use thousands of pesticides worldwide to keep crops safe from pests.

Unfortunately, these pesticides leach into our food, soil, water, and air, and over time, they can build up in the human body and cause serious illness.

Approximately one million people a year are poisoned by pesticides, ten thousand of whom die.

Through eliminating pesticides and increasing natural pest control methods is a viable solution to creating a healthier population, and it can even save lives.

Final Thoughts

Spiders may give you the heebie-jeebies, but the truth is that these creepy crawlers are doing more for us than we realize.

Because of spiders, we:

  • Are exposed to fewer diseases.
  • Have furthered research into cancer treatments.
  • May have a means of addressing the opioid crisis.
  • Have a healthy, well-balanced ecosystem.
  • Have advanced our research of life in microgravity.
  • Have created a strong, lightweight, biodegradable material with engineering and medical uses.
  • Can make more accurate predictions about the effects of global warming and climate change.
  • Have healthier food choices that are pesticide-free.

Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:

Why Do Spiders Have 8 Eyes? The Curious Answer

How Spiders Move and How it differs to Human


Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

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