Spotting a spider in your home is a less-than-ideal situation. After all, theyre creepy and crawly, and a spider sighting can spark fears that there are more where that one came from.
Just know this: Its actually not a bad thing to have a stray spider around. Most spiders arent harmful, says entomologist Roberto M. Pereira, Ph.D., an insect research scientist with the University of Florida. Not only will they usually leave you alone, spiders can also help get rid of other pesky insects in your house, he says.
There are several species of spiders that can invade your home, including the American house spider, daddy longlegs, orb weaver spiders, and grass spiders. Again, while most arent interested in interacting with (read: biting) you, there are the few that can be problematiclike the black widow or brown recluse.
If a spider (or spiders, if youre really unlucky) has taken up residence at your place, its only natural to want it gone. Heres how to get rid of spiders in your homeand how to prevent them from coming back.
It depends on the type of spider youre dealing with, says Ben Hottel, Ph.D., Technical Services Manager at Orkin. Spiders that make webs are commonly found in undisturbed areas such as attics, garages, furnace rooms, window sills, storage closets, or eaves on the outside of homes, he says. Spiders that dont build webs and actively huntsuch as brown recluse spiderscan be found in wall voids, cardboard boxes, and unused furniture.
Spiders prefer warm, dark spaces, adds board-certified entomologist Nancy Troyano, Ph.D., Director of Operations Education and Training for Ehrlich Pest Control. And, since the spiders that tend to lurk around your home mostly feed on small insects, you can also find them hanging out in gardens or rock piles, she says.
You could squash a spider and call it a day, but experts say there are other methods that can help eliminate them if that doesnt sound like fun to you.
Yup, you can just suck up spiders, Troyano says. This hack also gets rid of their webs and egg sacs, she points out, so be sure to vacuum around corners regularly.
If you know theres a spider lurking about, but couldnt kill it upon sight, try setting up a simple traplike this one from Terro. Its non-toxic and uses glue to immobilize the spider (or any bug) and prevent it from escaping.
That means consistently removing webs and cleaning out your attic, garage, closets, and other dark spaces.
Some spiders like to hide in objects (think: cardboard boxes, old baseball gloves, etc.). The more hiding spots these spiders have, the more difficult it will be to get rid of them, Hottel says, so try doing a mini purge each season to keep clutter at bay.
In a perfect world, youd get rid of spiders and never, ever have to deal with them again. In reality, more can find their way inside. Thats where prevention methods come into play:
A loose screen, or one that has a hole in it, can be a possible way for a spider (or any insect, really) to enter your home, Hottel points out. You can also place screens over vents and crawl spaces.
Its the same deal as loose screensyou want to eliminate any possible entryways for spiders, Hottel says. Seal up any tiny crevices or openings around utility boxes, windows, or vents using caulk or foam sealant. You can also get a door sweep or stoppers for entrances that lead outside.
Excessive moisture attracts many insects, which in turn will attract spiders, Troyano says. Stay on top of any leaks that may crop up and consider adding a dehumidifier to your basement, she says.
Spiders are drawn to hiding spaces outside of your home, too. Be sure to trim the grass near the foundation, keep firewood further away, and rake away piles of leaves.
The presence of insects and other prey in homes is a common reason for spiders to come inside, Hottel says. (Check out our full guides on how to get rid of ants, stink bugs, cockroaches, fruit flies, ticks, and bed bugs.)
If youve tried these tricks and youre still seeing spiders in your home, Dr. Hottel says its time to call in a professional exterminator. Thats definitely true if you happen to spot brown recluse spiders in your house (theyre hairy and tend to be gray, black, or brown). These spiders can be very difficult to eliminate on your own, Dr. Hottel says.
And, of course, theres your mental health to consider if youre afraid of spiders. You might seek out a professional for your own peace of mind, Troyano says. The thought of living with spiders can be unnerving to most people.
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