Spiders are especially popular on Halloween, but if you’re not a fan, there’s a lab in a basement at Simon Fraser University that you’ll definitely want to avoid.

Master's student Andreas Fischer has hundreds of spiders, from wolf spiders to the dreaded Black Widow, whose venom is 15 times more poisonous than a rattlesnake’s.

In several years of studying the arachnids, Fischer has never been bitten. And he’s the first to say that they’re not the risk some people think they are.

“As a teenager, I was quite afraid of them,” he says. “Studying a bit about them I realized there’s no good reason to fear spiders.”

Almost all of the spiders native to B.C. are harmless, he says. In fact, their webs capture insects that bug us like mosquitoes.

Some spiders, like the jumping spider, can jump 10 times its own length. And spider silk is as strong as Kevlar. If you made a vest with it, it would be bulletproof, Fischer says.

Even the black widow spider generally only bites when it’s been squeezed, according to Fischer.

It’s an important message to hear, when fear of spiders drove a California man this month to try and kill several with a blowtorch – inside his house.

His house burned down. And he was just one of at least four similar fires caused by arachnophobes in the past few years.

Among them, a Detroit man in 2012 who was trying to burn a spider with a lighter, while filling his gas tank. The blaze nearly took out the gas station.

“I think education would help,” Fischer says. “Knowing more about spiders would prevent people from burning down their houses.”

Fischer’s research is on pest control. He’s finding a way to trap spiders, using pheromones the arachnids give off to find mates. He’s looking for ways to make a trap similar to one that SFU scientists have already developed for bedbugs.

“Insecticides are quite dangerous and I want to decrease the amount of pesticide use and offer a more green option to get rid of black widows,” he says.

Killing them with kindness—surely, that’s safer than burning it all down.