So I'm laying in bed while talking on the phone and I notice a spider walking on the ceiling several feet above my face. That of course got me wondering (or maybe worrying?) if the spider would fall on my face during the night. Not being a fan of spiders, that's a mildly disturbing thought.

But then I realized that spiders are really good at not falling. In fact, I've only seen spiders fall in very specific circumstances.

  1. When one of my cats swats one on of them off the wall to play with it before ultimately eating it or letting it run away.
  2. When one is hanging from a thread of a web and something breaks it, such as when I nearly walk into one before realizing what's going on.
  3. When I get pissed at a spider and put a small flame (think of a grill lighter) under it. (Don't worry. I only did this in my old apartment where I didn't care about the paint.)

Other than that, spiders seem to be very good at remaining stuck to the walls and ceiling. So my fear is probably unfounded.

Posted by jzawodn at May 03, 2004 11:22 PM

Reader Comments
# Steve Spencer said:

I was watching a spider walk across my ceiling a few mornings ago. Since the bedroom has high ceilings, I was going to let it be. Suddenly, the spider dropped down into the bed where my wife, daughter and I were all lounging. I quickly folded the comforter over so it wouldn't crawl to our faces, rolled out of bed, grabbed a magazine and squashed it.

No more spider. But your fear is not unfounded.

on May 4, 2004 12:08 AM
# Adam said:

I think these things may eat spiders. Or maybe it's visa versa. Hmm.

But I have a lot to spare in case you're interested! :)

on May 4, 2004 12:59 AM
# Manuzhai said:

The average person eats about 2 to 5 spiders in his sleep, per year.

But may be that's just because they walk in. :P

on May 4, 2004 01:10 AM
# Wee said:


If you want to get rid of spiders the easy, non-hurt-the-cats way, try this: Get a cheap plastic spray bottle and fill it with isopropyl alcohol. Keep it in your bathroom area. (It's good to have anyway. A couple squirts after shaving, and your razor blades will last longer than if they air-dried. It's also nice to be able to do a quick disinfect here and there.) Next time you see a spider, give him two or three squirts with the spray bottle. It'll be dead in seconds, and the alcohol will evaporate quickly without a trace. Just wipe up the dead, wet spider with a paper towel and it's gone.

You don't need to worry about house paint; it will be unaffected. Leather, wood, most stuff around the house is fine as well. And this also works on flying insects, too. They fall right out of the air after hitting the alcohol mist.

Obviously, watch it around flame/heat/ignition sources. And don't spray anything which might be soluble in alcohol. It might sound slightly unorthodox, but it's better than spraying pesticide all over the inside of your house right before you go to sleep or eat or whatever...

on May 4, 2004 02:08 AM
# Maarten Spreij said:

Am I the only one who would just let the poor spider be, so it can clean the house of the really bothersome bugs like mosquitos and flies?


on May 4, 2004 04:15 AM
# Alden Bates said:

It's the suicidal cockroaches you have to watch out for. Hopefully you don't have any of those there though.

Manuzhai: there's an item at Straight Dope about eating spiders in your sleep...

on May 4, 2004 04:15 AM
# kasia said:


You don't want to kill spiders (shudder). If there are spiders there are other (possibly worse, eek) bugs.

I pick them up on a piece of paper and run to throw then out the door/window.. but then, I can never kill anything. (eww)

Spiders are really creepy, crawly and scare me out of my wits, but they are useful.

on May 4, 2004 04:38 AM
# Josh Woodward said:

I think a spider bit me yesterday. I felt something on my neck so I brushed it away with my thumb. Almost instantly, I felt a strange pain in my thumb. At first, I thought it was a bee sting or something, but there weren't any flying pests around. For a few hours, my thumb was sore and strange-feeling. It's much better now, though.

on May 4, 2004 06:00 AM
# said:

You didn't care about the *paint* ?! Sick sick person. Spider's are animals just like you and me!

on May 4, 2004 06:17 AM
# rb said:

You didn't care about the *paint* ?! Spiders are animals just like you and me!

on May 4, 2004 06:17 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

I never said I killed spiders often, only when the pissed me off.

What is this, /.?

on May 4, 2004 08:10 AM
# Jim Davis said:

Imagine a beowulf cluster of those...

Seriously, though, GISsing for spider pics has given me the heebie-jeebies.

on May 4, 2004 12:39 PM
# Jay said:

If you lived in Australia (like yours truly) you might have different perspective on spiders. The ones which won't kill you will give you a nasty festering bite and infection. I'm sorry to say that I give a spider only one chance (I give it a nudge towards the door) to go before it dissapears in a spray of insecticide.

on May 4, 2004 05:27 PM
# david said:

All this time, I thought I was alone in hating spiders..must be a geek aura thing. My cousins swat them with their hands against the wall.

It disturbs me to say the least that they can do that without a flicker of a thought.

on May 4, 2004 07:50 PM
# Doug L. said:

In our neighborhood (Santa Cruz Mountains), some of the spiders fly. Just the right time of year or the right weather, they'll start way up in the pines and redwoods, drop down from the branch so that there's a long thread above 'em, and then wait for the wind to blow them into the sky.

on May 6, 2004 03:51 PM
# wee said:

I grew up in Arizona. I knew someone bitten by a Brown Recluse (that wasn't in AZ). They lived, but they're missing some flesh. I've known two people bitten by Black Widows (one while he was sleeping). Those were in AZ. Just about everything in AZ will kill you.

Every time the little white "spiders are people too... don't kill it..." angel sits on my shoulder while I'm poised to dispatch one of the beasties, I remember how loudly one tends to scream when arterial blood is taken without the benefit of anesthetic. Anyone who's seen someone taken to the ER 10-12 hours after a bite can tell you that it's not pretty. An no spectator sport, either. I've certainly got no urge to experience it first-hand. Scorpions get the bug killer, too, BTW. I've been bitten by them and it sucks.

And yes, the only long-term solution for spider removal is to remove their food source (along with keeping things tidy). Removing the spiders while you're at it is just an added benefit. They can live outside all they want. My house is for fish and mammals only. And yes, I do care about the paint. More than I care about spiders. No, I'm not sick. I'm a pragmatist, not an idealist.

on May 6, 2004 08:32 PM
# said:

oh i HATE spiders. i;m a 2w3 years old grown man and i am scared of them. they give me the heebie jeebies! a HUGE spider, the king of all spiders was in my house tonight. i ran away, came back, threw a magazine at it and it died, thank god. taht thing was HUGE, HUGE!! and dont be nice to them thinking they are people too. they would kill you if they could. Spiders are the insect equivalent of sharks. they are predators, and they are horrible looking things! keep them away from me!!!

on September 1, 2004 06:36 PM
# Ryan From An Infested AZ said:

Im a 21 year old male and I am with the 23 year old grown man, spiders would eat us if they were big enough, and they wouldnt be polite about it (if there was a polite way to be devoured). They can be outside if they want but if one enters my house, ill run fanatically (yes fanatically because chickens live longer) to the closest bottle of raid and spray till it drowns.


on September 15, 2004 04:54 AM
# said:

I got a snake, mang!

on June 25, 2005 08:54 AM
# Stephen said:

Spiders are animals like us? You are right they will attack for no reason. Before you say something stupid like we should not kill spiders that get in the house do a little search for Brown Recluse. Be sure to take a look at the pictures of what this LITTLE spider will do if it bites you. If you are unlucky enough to get bitten on the hand, well hope you like only having one hand. Humans are much to large to be eaten by a spider and yet they still attack not only humans but just any other animal they can. Spiders are good when they stay out of the living areas, but a spider in the living area should and needs to be put to death as quickly as possible. If you are "oh i can't kill it" just remember that it will have no problem bitting you and sending you to the ER.

on October 5, 2005 07:48 AM
# beaner taberbie said:

Peter Parker doesn't approve of this...

on October 5, 2005 12:55 PM
# said:

This is ridiculous...eating spiders during sleep only beffudles my lovely one and amuzes our guests with her impossible stories.

on October 9, 2005 01:23 AM
# Steph said:

I had to kill a HUGE spider this morning when I got to work. I work with 20 guys and I the only girl had to kill the spider! They think I'm mean and would just let it be! I don't have a problem killing them but when they are so big you hear the pop it makes me shudder!

on October 10, 2005 06:41 PM
# CholeRaider said:

You spider haters suck.Spiders are awesome!

on October 27, 2005 04:23 PM
# said:

Spiders are really scary. I'm sure I would just run away. I don't want anything to do with them. I don't want them in the same house as me. Cause, now I'm really freaked out and scared, by learning something the other day, that humans sometimes when sleeping eat spiders. Sometimes I'm scared when going to bed. Spiders SCARY. I have never been bitten by a spider yet, hope it won't happen. There is 1 good thing about spiders they eat other bugs. I agree with people who are scared of them, I also understand who people kill bugs. Heres something you can do besides killing them, but you might be to scared to do it: get a cup try to catch the spider and try to keep it in then, when you get outside GET IT OUT OF THERE AND OUT OF THE HOUSE AWAY FROM YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I guess sparying would help.

on October 29, 2005 10:22 PM
# Andrew said:

Spiders are amazing, I love watching them build their webs and catch their food, but then we don't really have any dangerous ones in New Zealand. Maybe I'd have a different opinion if i lived in Australia or USA, but probably not. Its the mosquitos and ticks I hate, they don't need to be provoked to attack you like spiders do.

on November 8, 2005 01:01 PM
# Kaitlin said:

Everyone tells me that being afraid of spiders is an irrational fear....I disagree. I live in Colorado as does the brown recluse (the bite of a recluse spider can result in an ulcer/lesion that can be as big as your hand and take 8 weeks to heal) The black widow is also found in Colorado. I had an incident straight out of the arachnaphobia shower scene. I felt something in my hair then I saw a black widow slide down my body and swirl around my feet. I FREAKED OUT! And just yesterday, I found one in my kitchen next to the doorknob. Their bite is intense and affects the nervous system causing cramping.

I have no intentions of ever letting a spider live in my house if I see it. They literally make me gag and throw up just seeing them.

on November 10, 2005 10:15 AM
# amy said:

The brown recluse is not generally found in Colorado, it's found in the midwest; and black widows will not bite unless you threaten them.

on February 20, 2006 10:02 PM
# Andy said:

With over 35,000 species of spiders and only a handful that are dangerous to humans killing all spiders hardly makes sense. All spiders are not the Brown Recluse.

on February 26, 2006 10:04 AM
# Jennie said:

Okay...Some people can handle spiders, good for them. As for the rest of us, kill at will. I have been bitten 3 times by spiders, one was brown recluse. I went to the emergency room twice. That was two summers ago, I'm still paying for it...

on May 11, 2006 11:54 AM
# Laura said:

As one who is battling a house infested with Brown Recluse spiders, I am excited to see any spider other than it. I understand that all spiders are not dangerous and there are only a handful that are, but I have no desire to have one of any kind in my home. I have no problem taking my foot, shoe or whatever to smash, squash, totally without a doubt kill a spider! I'm a mother of three and their protection comes first. I'm certainly NOT going to put the feelings of any spider above the understanding and intelligence and safety of a human. So unless you've lived among them and the fear of being bitten or your children disfigured from a bite, I just can't understand your "precious spider act". This comes from one who KNOWS!

on June 5, 2006 01:08 PM
# becka said:

spiders to fall for no reason. i watched one crawl across my ceiling and fall on my pillow. i have had an intense fear/creepies of any insect since i was a kid, the 2 biggest are bees and their relations and spiders. ALL kinds of spiders. they are ugly and creepy. i don't particularly care what bugs they eat b/c i don't have those bugs in my house. the spiders can live outside. they don't pay rent to me. i was about to hop into bed tonite and i a huge spider caught my eye on the ceiling. GROSS! since my husband is not here i had to kill it myself. since i am completely terrified of them i grabbed a spray bottle with bleach/water and sprayed it a few times. it dropped like a boulder and i scooped it up with a fly swatter. i don't use anything shorter than that to remove them. i do not use tissues or anything that might allow it to touch me in any way. i HATE the popping noises. if i have to use a shoe to kill one, i smack it, drop the shoe and run away. and, jeremy, i think i will do the isopropyl alcohol in a bottle. the bleach STILL stinks in there. haha! thanks for the tip!

on June 14, 2006 10:01 PM
# Allison said:

My 2 y.o. keeps getting little bites on him, and its not ant bites or stings, and Im sure it is spiders. We live in North Georgia. I have seen a few black widows and heard all of the horror stories of the recluse. I am terrified of spiders. I often have little trantualas crawling all around my house.
The bites dont seem to bother my son, I keep putting hydrocortizone cream on them. I have searched top and bottom o fhis room and cant seem to find anything. I am pretty sure they are spiders. Are there traps you can set out to kill them? The bites swell slightly and dont have any puss or anything. A few months ago when he got bit, the bites turned hard, but they didnt seem to bother him. The doctor could really tell me anything.
Please help. Thanks, Allison

on June 16, 2006 07:18 AM
# Albert said:

Ok, I am kind of ashamed to write this "out loud." I am a 37 year old male and I freaken hate spiders! I live in San Francisco in a building that is about 100 years old. I love my place, but you can expect there to be small areas where the spiders can come inside. For some reason, the area between my nightstand and the wall seems to attract spiders. Two days ago I killed a smallish spider that had spun a web. Tonight, I find that another one is there and has spun its own web. Yuck! I think the wortst part is that in my imagination, the spider takes a stroll to my bed while I am sleeping and bites me. Worst yet, it is a poisonous one. In my back/utlilty room, they also seem to gather. Once I sprayed ants spray on a couple and before I knew it, like 7 came out running away. Gross! Maybe what I have is a phobia, not simply "being scared."

Ok, I think I have sufficiently emasculated myself now.

on June 29, 2006 12:02 AM
# Kate said:

I believe that spiders are no good. Regardless if they remove unwanted pests, they themselves are unwanted. I will never touch a spider, because I get far to grossed out. I have true Arachnophobia and it is not all in my mind. I am terrified of spiders and find them on my walls ever so often. Instead of squishing it like a normal person would in about 2 seconds, I stand as far back as possible, and spray it with anything in reach until it dies. Usually it is successful, may take longer but it is also sort of relieving when I am in control. And if all else fails, I have to recruit someone else in to do away with the disgusting tresspassor. Call me crazy but I know I'm not.

ps, i like you're flame idea jeremy! haha

on July 18, 2006 08:23 AM
# alana said:

I agree with you CholeRaider I love spiders to. Spiders are cool. Once there was a spider in my house I picked it up but my mom said Alana put that thing down so I put him outside. Poor poor spider. Pluse I am writing this and I am still a girl. Well little girl that is.

on July 18, 2006 09:03 PM
# Lisa said:

Jeremy, I thought I was the ony person in the world that is scared of Spiders! I am seventeen years old and I still don't like them! I reamber on night I was asleep and I felt something walking on my face! Then it was gone! And I woke up and it was a Spider! Then anouth time I was feeding my pet hamster and I saw her head go up and then I looked up! It was the largust Spider in the world! I told lot of people at school and even a TEacther didn't belive me! We got anouther one now who gose walks to the bathroom and back to bed!

on August 8, 2006 08:59 AM
# terry said:

If you detest spiders as much as I do, but are afraid to get near them to kill them, it helps to growl, "spawn of the devil, DIE!" before crushing them to lifelessness.

on August 15, 2006 11:51 PM
# Bek said:

I feel sorry for the people who have bad experiences with spiders- eg/ falling on them /infested houses etc.

However, killing spiders indiscriminatly is counter productive. Many relatively harmless spiders eat other more dangerous spiders along with annoying flies and mozzies. Life, I find, can be more harmonious when you let the natural eco system take care of itself.

I live in Australia and spiders are a part of life- you just take necessary precautions eg/ check shoes/ clothing, but I have never been bitten by anything dangerous. The risk of being badly hurt, let alone dying from a spider is very low- unless one crawls on you while you are driving and you freak out!

Get good spider karma & I reckon they will leave you alone.

By the way, I am sorry, but you blokes are a bunch of pussies.

on September 30, 2006 12:10 AM
# Momo said:

I thought the spiders and I had a deal...
I don't kill them, they don't bite me. But lately all bets are off. I am covered in spider bites all over my legs. Is October spider season in San Francisco? I don't want to kill them, but I am in serious pain here, and swelling, and itching. Any thoughts?

on October 4, 2006 11:01 AM
# It said:

What is strait dope

on October 4, 2006 07:19 PM
# Donna said:


I am from Ireland and we only have little spiders in our country but I am still terrified of them. If there is anyone in the world who has true Arachnophobia then its me. Every night, I look all around my room2see if there r any spiders, I cannot look at one let alone kill one!Iv a serious phobia. I really need someone to back to me on this situation tho, I am going over to sydney in september for a yr with my mates. I dont if il survive tho because of my phobia? Iv been lookin up websites but nothing has helped me. no-one seems to understand whats its like to have this fear. The main thing I am concerned about in Australia is going to sleep at night..........I know weird but the thoughts of thinking about spiders and whether they will come into my apartment freaks me out big time. Iv looked up pictures and the size the weirdos!what will I do? Im def going to Australia, will I just have to get over my fear? or is sydney not too bad for spiders.....I just dont know.......please advise me!

on February 14, 2007 09:30 AM
# abi said:

I woke up feeling something strange inside my long sleeve shirt. i took it off with my hand, first thought it was some cotton from my shirt... then i realized it was a spider.
so... this lovely creature slept with me all night without asking first if i wanted to. some insects really love us... i killed the spider with my hand and had no bites... strange, huh? i also though it was strange that they come so near to humans... to find to my surprise i was wrong.

on April 3, 2007 04:26 AM
# Dngloz said:
on April 8, 2007 05:35 AM
# Lois said:

Half inch black spiders suck my blood at night. They like upper chest area right below shirt line. I caught one so I know it was a black spider.
I know it is NOT a female Black Widow. I stay up all night. Sometimes I see them circle my room on ceiling, checking old spider webs in corners from Daddy Long Legs, which I don't mind being there. We also have brown recluse. The brown recluse suddenly drop down from ceiling on a silk strand that they make usually right over my bed. It seems like they come out of nowhere. If I see one on wall near me I spray it with this lemon bathroom cleaner and all around my bed, like was suggested. I hate the smell, but is better then raid. I have a bed net that hangs from the ceiling over my bed. Can't use computer when it is closed. Usually spiders seem to hide when sun comes up. Spend a lot of time cleaning dust off of stuff. Dirt and mold from windows sweating in winter. I live in city area. It has been very hot lately and have bronchial asthma. These Spiders seem to like where I am. Why don't they live outside? There are no other bugs usually in the house except ants. They seem to come in when there is too much water outside or not enough water outside. They like the sink in kitchen and bathroom area.

on June 14, 2010 02:52 AM
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