Spiders Eat How Many Insects a Year?!Have you ever seen that stereotypical person at “all you can eat” buffets that pig out like Homer Simpson in a donut factory? Well, no matter how much you’ve seen a human shovel away, it doesn’t even come close to the massive amounts of insects that spiders swallow up each year. They take full advantage of the “all you can eat” insect buffet they are surrounded by, with the average spider eating between 400 and 800 million metric tons of insects every single year.
A recent study published in the journal The Science of Nature broke down just how much more spiders eat compared to us humans. We have an estimated consumption of 400 million tons of meat and fish per year. Those spiders have us beat by a mile with their consumption per year reaching almost twice as much as us. The researchers in charge of the project, Martin Nyffeler and Klaus Birkhofer, went to extensive lengths to get the most accurate results possible, using data from 65 previous studies to estimate just how many spiders there are out in the world.
Figuring out just how much spiders eat per year was no easy task either. They aren’t the easiest creatures to study, as they tend to be secretive and many are nocturnal. They found that more than 95 percent of the spiders out there eating 400 to 800 million metric tons of insects per year don’t dwell within our homes, but rather in the country where there are forests and grasslands. While most of their prey are insects, some spiders dine on larger prey such as snakes and even birds.
The researchers behind the study hope that informing more people about just how much help a hungry spider can be for keeping the number of other insect pests down in our homes and yards. So, next time you see a spider, rather than kill it, you might want to try catching it and escorting it outside so it can keep eating up all those unwanted insect pests.
What do you usually do when you find a spider in your home?