Keeping a pet tarantula in your home may sometimes lead to some unexpected consequences.
Many people will wonder how owning a tarantula will affect the behavior of other bugs and spiders.
For example, some people may be looking to find out if a tarantula will deter other bugs and spiders from living in their homes (as a kind of reverse pest control, if you will), while others may want to ensure that owning a tarantula will not attract more bugs and spiders.
Do pet tarantulas keep other bugs and spiders away? There is no scientific proof that tarantulas keep bugs and other spiders away. Some tarantula owners have reported that there are fewer spiders in their home after they got a pet tarantula. At the same time, others have not seen any difference in the number of bugs and spiders in their home.
Some people that have arachnophobia (the fear of spiders) or entomophobia (the fear of insects and bugs) may be willing to care for a single tarantula if that means that other spiders will keep away from their home. So their question will be whether a pet tarantula will keep other spiders and bugs away.
And this is a tricky topic because there are no hard and fast rules here. Below I go into more detail. So let’s take a look.
Do Pet Tarantulas Keep Other Spiders Away?
So far, there is no evidence that a pet tarantula will keep other spiders away. After talking to several tarantula owners and in accordance with my experience, it doesn’t seem that a tarantula will deter other spiders from staying in your home.
Conversely, some owners did report that the mere presence of a tarantula seemed to scare and chase away some spiders that were previously living in their homes.
Nonetheless, there is no guarantee that the mere presence of a tarantula will keep other bugs and spiders away. There is also no scientific or any other research data backing up or even suggesting anything like that could happen.
This means that your mileage may vary. In some instances and as a result of a number of different factors, your tarantula may cause other spiders and bugs to stay away, while in other cases, no particular outcome may be observed.
In other words, you cannot and should not rely on a tarantula to keep other spiders and bugs away.
Although tarantulas will not be able to chase away spiders and bugs outside of their enclosure, they can eat them if they enter the tarantula’s enclosure. It is also worth understanding the risks of having a tarantula eat wild spiders and bugs. Those spiders and bugs can carry various diseases, parasites, and even pesticides, which could harm your tarantula.
Do Pet Tarantulas Keep Bugs Away?
There is a wide variety of bugs and insects that we can stumble upon in our homes, like ants, bed bugs, ticks, termites, mosquitoes, flies, and so much more.
Many spiders will eat mosquitos, flies, butterflies, and other bugs. This also applies to tarantulas; however, a tarantula will not actively seek out to capture a bug that may have entered your home.
Ants are another insect that can be of particular interest here. But looks can be deceiving. Despite their relatively small and seemingly harmless size, ants can be more dangerous to a pet tarantula than vice versa.
In fact, ants can be so problematic that in the wild, tarantulas have developed a very special relationship with frogs. Ants are known to eat spider eggs and can also be very dangerous to tarantulas because of the formic acid found in their venom. This is why tarantulas will often keep frogs near their burrows as frogs can eat ants.
Even a seemingly small ant colony can quickly kill several tarantulas—this can happen literally overnight. Tarantulas and ants simply do not mix well.
In a certain way, tarantulas and frogs offer each other the protection they need to survive in the wild. (That being said, there are some ant-eating spiders.)
Spiders are also known to eat bed bugs when they encounter them. However, spiders may not be able to eat enough of them to be considered an effective countermeasure against bed bugs. (This also applies to tarantulas.)
Spiders and tarantulas can eat ticks too if they encounter them; however, they will not keep them away from your home.
Spiders also eat termites. Spiders will eat flying termites that are caught in their web, but if there is a lack of food, they can also leave their web searching for food, and if they come across termites, they will eat them. However, since tarantulas are kept in specifically designed enclosures, it is highly unlikely that they will keep termites away.
What Bugs and Spiders Can Tarantulas Keep Away?
Although there is no clear evidence that tarantulas will necessarily keep other spiders and bugs away, it is also worth considering what tarantulas eat.
The reasoning here is simple. Any animal that can be considered tarantula’s natural prey should be aware of the dangers associated with getting too close to tarantulas. And no animal will, under normal circumstances, directly attack their natural predator. As a result, we can expect them to actively avoid getting too close to tarantulas.
Tarantulas are carnivores. They usually eat crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, roaches, mealworms, silkworms, king worms, hornworms, sowbugs, cicadas, caterpillars. Sometimes tarantulas also eat other smaller types of spiders and even pinky mice.
However, it also comes down to size. If the other spiders are of a similar size to your tarantula, they may end up biting or even killing it. For example, although fairly small compared to a tarantula, wolf spiders do have venom strong enough to kill a tarantula. Sometimes tarantulas may not even attack or chase away other spiders that are just a little smaller than them.
Can Pet Tarantulas Attract Other Spiders and Bugs?
Some tarantula owners may wonder if their tarantula can be attracting other spiders or bugs in their house. However, as mentioned earlier, tarantulas can be considered the natural prey of the vast majority of house spiders and bugs. Thus, it is highly unlikely for other spiders and bugs to be attracted to tarantulas.
That being said, rooms, where tarantulas are kept can attract other spiders and bugs. This is not because of the tarantula but rather because rooms where tarantulas are kept usually have good humidity levels and temperature ranges that other spiders will also find favorable.
These rooms can also be not too bright, and food may be readily available.
Which brings us to the next point that it is also possible for some spiders to set up webs even inside a tarantula’s enclosure if they believe they will catch more food.
And let’s not forget that the outside temperatures and time of the year can also play an important role. As it gets colder, more spiders will seek shelter indoors.
What Keeps Spiders and Bugs Away?
There are plenty of ways to keep spiders and bugs away that do not involve owning a tarantula. In fact, you now know that tarantulas are not an effective way to keep bugs and other spiders away from your home.
Some methods of keeping spiders and bugs away are:
- Cleaning more often and ensuring there is less food available (including keeping bugs to a minimum) will also make your home less attractive to spiders.
- Spraying a solution of vinegar or citrus and water in corners where spiders and bugs may be found.
- Using essential oils that are known for their repellent properties like peppermint, rose, eucalyptus, cedar, lavender, tea-tree, and cinnamon.
- Making sure doors and windows fit tightly.
- Chestnuts are a popular old wives’ tale that is believed to deter spiders and bugs.
If you are looking to get a pet that can keep spiders and bugs away, there are certainly better choices than a tarantula. For example, cats are an excellent choice of a pet that can keep your home spider and bug-free. (Nonetheless, some spiders and bugs may be dangerous and even poisonous to cats.)