White-tail spiders - Friend or Foe?

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

It was a slow start to summer in December. But now that the sun is out, so are the insects. An influx of white-tail spiders have been reported in Auckland, but much of the information in the public about the spiders aren't entirely true.

Insect Specialist John Early says, “Spiders like all other insects and cold-blooded creatures come out during the day and hot temperatures, they become more active.”

The white-tail spiders are native insects from southern and western Australia, however they have made their home here for a number of centuries.

“There was a huge amount of shipping across the Tasman, and they would be transported easily in cargo in the ballast in the old ships. But I think they have been around for an awful amount of time,” says Early.

Insect specialist from Auckland Museum, John Early says white-tails aren't harmful to humans, and a lot is misunderstood about them.

Early says, “They feed mostly on other spiders. They don't make a web of their own. They are interesting, they will walk into another spiders web."

So if you see any of these spiders around your whare this summer, it is best to leave them alone as they will clear your home of other creepy crawlies.

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