Yes, spiders do eat bed bugs. But not all species of spider will eat bed bugs. If you have a severe bed bug infestation in your home, it is safe to assume that any house spiders you might have, will become the bed bugs’ natural predator. But remember that having spiders will not actually affect the bed bug population, as they multiply at a much faster rate.
Do bed bugs have natural enemies?
Yes, bed bugs have natural enemies. The most notable being the masked bed bug hunter. The masked bed bug hunter usually comes out at night and actually feeds on several insects, like carpet beetles, bat bugs, and of course, bed bugs.
Masked bed bug hunters got their name because they will usually disguise themselves by covering their bodies with dust and dirt. Their bodies are covered with a sticky substance that makes the dust and dirt stay in place.
Masked bed bug hunters can also bite animals and people, so they are not advisable as a means of bed bug eradication.
Do spiders eat bed bugs?
Yes, some species of spider can eat bed bugs. But the majority of house spiders are too small to eat bed bugs. Your average house spider is roughly around the same size as an adult bed bug, so you cannot expect a creature to eat something as big as they are. And if these spiders do eat bed bugs, they will likely only eat one every so often.
The larger species of spider are the ones that are capable of catching bed bugs. These spiders do not spin webs and prefer sneaking up and jumping on their prey. These include the wolf spider, jumping spider, yellow sac spider, and the running crab spider.
How do these spiders hunt bed bugs?
Crab spiders look like crabs, hence the name. Their bodies look very similar to a crab’s shell, while their legs look similar to the claws of a crab. They also have the habit of moving from side to side the way a crab might.
This species of spider is found almost all over the world. They can acclimate to whatever part of the globe because they are resilient and are able to survive near people’s homes. You may be able to spot one in your yard, but you might find it difficult to spot one in your home. It is possible, but these spiders prefer the outdoors. For shelter, they might live in sheds, barns, or in the middle of some undergrowth.
They normally feed on the usual household pests such as flies and mosquitoes.
Crab spiders do not use their webs to catch prey the way most spiders do, they prefer stalking their prey and jumping on them for the kill. Bed bugs may be able to crawl three feet in one minute, but crab spiders are still quicker and more nimble than they are.
Crab spiders inject venom into the bed bug when they catch it and then they will drag it back to their hiding spot to eat.
Jumping spiders are a common species of spider to see around your home, both inside and outside your house. There are thousands of jumping spider species and they can be found all over the world in all kinds of climates.
They have two eyes that are larger than their other six that make them an instantly recognizable type of spider. This gives them a very advanced sense of sight that can help them hunt easily in the daytime.
These spiders are not flashy at all and prefer to stay in their safe nooks and crannies, staying as invisible as possible.
Compared to crab spiders, jumping spiders are slower and that can also be observed in the way they hunt. But, just like their name, they can jump long distances and are still able to catch their prey very effectively
These spiders eat whatever insects are available to them, also depending on whether they live inside or outside the house. Jumping spiders that live outside will live on a diet consisting of grasshoppers, crickets, and other outdoor insects. Jumping spiders that live inside the house will eat insects that are normally inside the house such as flies, mosquitoes, and bed bugs.
Jumping spiders inject a paralyzing venom before taking their prey into their hiding spot to feast.
Tangle-web spiders are one of the most common spiders in people’s homes. These spiders are the ones that are responsible for the cobwebs you see in areas of your house that do not have a lot of human traffic. These webs are also their way of catching their prey. When the prey is entangled in the web, they will immobilize it and save it to eat for later.
Tangle-web spiders may eat bed bugs but it may be highly improbable. This is because bed bugs do not normally venture out into areas where these spiders make their webs, which is up high in the corners or ceilings. But if a bed bug finds itself in those parts, then a spider that is big enough might eat it.
Will my pet dog or cat eat bed bugs?
Dogs and cats do not normally have insects in their natural diet. But when these animals see an insect crawl or fly by, it will catch their attention and they will try to chase it. This is their leftover prey drive that they inherited from their wild dog and cat ancestors.
So, do not be surprised if you find your dog or cat chasing after something crawling on the floor. They might even try to eat it, while some may just want to kill it.
Should I be worried if my pet dog or cat eats a bed bug?
Even though the thought of your pet eating bugs is gross, there is no need to worry if you see your pet eat a bed bug. Bed bugs are not toxic and they do not carry any known communicable diseases.
What may be a concern for pet owners is if they had used an insecticide on the bed bugs that contains the ingredient permethrin. Permethrin is a component of some bed bug sprays.
But if you have had no chemical treatments done for the bed bugs in your home, then it is fine for your cat to have eaten a bed bug or two.
Yes, spiders can eat bed bugs. But not all spider species eat bed bugs. It depends on their size and their method of hunting. Most house spiders that spin webs are too small to eat a bed bug, but if they could, they would probably just eat one, since they are roughly the same size.
Bigger spiders that can also be found around the house are jumping spiders and crab spiders. These spiders eat any insect that crosses their path, including bed bugs.
Even if there are some spider species that eat bed bugs, do not assume that they are doing enough to kill all of the bed bugs in your home. No, they are not, and you should still hire professional help regarding exterminating these pests.
Image: istockphoto.com / CBCK-Christine