Finding a spider inside your house can be an unnerving experience. Often seen using their long spindly legs to skitter across the floor or up the wall, spiders incite a lot of fear, however, despite their fearsome appearance, spiders are quite beneficial.
Spiders prey on common household pests such as mosquitoes and flies, making them an important part of your in-house pest control strategy. Most spiders are also quite small, meaning they pose little danger to humans.
Overall, finding a spider in your home is an indication of a healthy ecosystem. It's best to leave spiders be when possible, but how do you know if the spiders you're seeing are dangerous, and what can you do to keep them outside where they belong?
What Do Spiders in the House Look Like?
Whether it's hanging out in the corners of walls or hiding in dark, well-hidden areas, spiders prefer to stay away from humans when possible. It doesn't always seem this way, though, especially when spiders keep popping up inside.
Spiders (also known as arachnids) have eight long legs and a two-segmented body. Some of them are large, some of them are small, some of them appear smooth and others hairy. There is a wide variance in the size and appearance of spiders.
It's hard to mistake a spider for another pest, given their distinct appearance, but you may notice that spiders tend to pop up when other pests (like fruit flies) are already present inside. What are the best ways to keep spiders out of your house without the use of harsh chemicals?
6 Natural Ways To Get Rid of Spiders
Chemical applications should never be a first resort when it comes to pest control. When it comes to spider control, the best treatment options are all-natural anyways, so read on for some easy, totally natural solutions to your annoying spider issue.
Use the Vacuum
A vacuum is an invaluable tool when it comes to interior pest control. If you have issues with an occasional spider invasion, using the vacuum is going to be the quickest, easiest way to get rid of them without getting too close—and will avoid the nasty mess that comes with the "shoe-squish" method. Simply use your vacuum to suck the spider up and out of view.
Turn Off Exterior Lights
Spiders love the opportunity to snack on some insects, and if you're leaving your lights on at night, you're inviting the spiders to come and enjoy an easy nighttime meal. Flying insects such as various flies, moths, and beetles will swarm exterior lights that are left on at night, and spiders will often build webs close by in hopes of catching something to eat.
If you have a porch light over your back door or string lights over your patio, these will attract flying insects that will in turn bring spiders in around your home. Avoid attracting more spiders than necessary by turning these lights off when not in use, especially at night.
Spiders love a good hiding place. If you want to keep spiders out of your house, look to reduce the areas where they can safely hide. Inside, spiders like cluttered spaces that are rarely disturbed. Think storage areas, cellars, attics, and garages.
If you're clearing these spaces out, be sure to wear gloves and other protective clothing. While most spiders aren't dangerous, the ones that are love to stay hidden. You don't want to encounter one with your bare hand accidentally.
Outside, clutter up against the foundation is an excellent opportunity for spiders to make their way under your siding. Try to keep your foundation clear of clutter and debris to discourage the presence of spiders up against the house.
In terms of long-term, all-natural spider control, spider sweeping will be your best friend. Professional pest control companies will often offer a spider sweep as part of their recurring maintenance services because it's very effective when done on a regular basis.
To perform a spider sweep, use a broom or cobweb brush to sweep off the exterior of your home, focusing especially on the areas where spiders hang out most, like:
- Along gutters
- Around window and door frames
- On the corners of the home
- Surrounding exterior lighting
Your main focus with a spider sweep should be not only removing adult spiders and their webs, but also disturbing and removing their egg sacs, which will reduce the number of spiders hatching in the future.
Just remember: when it comes to spider sweeping, consistency is key. If you're not regularly removing egg sacs and webs, the spiders will be back. No interest in performing a spider sweep yourself? That's okay—a professional pest control company can help, just look for a company that specializes in IPM. They'll know the importance of spider sweeping and won't over-utilize chemical treatments.
Trim Back Landscaping
If you're hoping to keep spiders and other pests out of your home, try to keep the area around your foundation free of dense vegetation and overgrown plants.
If there are trees, shrubs, and other plants close to the exterior of your home, spiders hiding in the landscaping can use these plants to easily access the side of your house. From there, they might set up camp around the outside, leaving sticky webs for you to walk through, or they could make their way inside.
To avoid spiders using the plants around your home like bridges and highways, keep your plants, trees and shrubs trimmed back from your siding and foundation. A good rule of thumb? Try to leave at least 18" around the outside of your house.
Seal Cracks and Crevices
An important step in any natural pest control program, make sure your home is adequately sealed. Spiders are small, so no need to go crazy with the caulking; there's no way to fully spider-proof a house using this method. You can, however, target specific problem areas.
Make sure there are no large gaps around your doors and windows, ensure that exterior doors have adequate sweeps that seal well, and make sure that your window screens are in good repair.
If you're one of the many people that have a "creepy spider basement", consider caulking the baseboards to block spiders from entering underneath them.
Signs of a Spider Infestation
If you're bothered by spiders, it will be hard to miss the signs of an interior spider issue. You'll see spiders around here and there, and you'll notice their webs popping up in the corners of walls and other places.
If you leave exterior lighting on at night, the signs of spiders around your home may be that much more obvious, as flying insects are attracted to the lights, thus attracting spiders. While spiders are overall very beneficial, the signs of a recurring spider issue can be frustrating, especially if spiders are leaving their icky-sticky webs everywhere.
What Causes Spiders in the House
Spiders are present in various environments, meaning they will be around here and there. They should be left alone to perform their beneficial functions whenever possible, but the question becomes how to manage populations when they become too high.
Spiders will be drawn to environments that provide them with food and shelter. They will also be more prevalent in heavily wooded areas. These are all things to consider when attempting to manage spiders.
Also, keep in mind that seeing spiders inside isn't always a bad thing! You may not like them, but if the spiders are there, they're likely eating nuisance insects like fruit flies or fungus gnats that would cause other issues if the spiders weren't there to consume them.
How to Prevent a Spider Infestation in Your Home
Spiders, while primarily beneficial, can be a big nuisance when they won't go away.
Spiders may be creepy, but they aren't a cause for panic. You can take many simple, all-natural steps to avoid ongoing spider issues in your home, so don't be afraid to grab your vacuum and get to work.
To prevent spiders inside your home, you can do the following:
- Use your vacuum to handle the occasional spider invader
- Keep exterior lights turned off when not in use to reduce spider food sources
- Clear clutter to reduce spider hiding spots
- Regularly spider sweep the outside of your home to reduce spiders, webs, and egg sacs that will lead to more spiders in the future
- Trim back vegetation to limit easy spider access to your home
- Seal cracks and crevices the spiders could enter through
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Natural Compounds as Spider Repellents: Fact or Myth? National Library of Medicine.