How to Get Rid of Spiders
What’s In This Guide
Spiders are among the most commonly feared animals in America. While they can be beneficial for mitigating household pests like ants, flies, and mosquitoes; many types of spiders can pose significant health risks to humans.
In most cases, even a nonvenomous spider bite will be worse than a standard mosquito or ant bite. A bite from a venomous spider can potentially cause serious health problems and even fatality in some extreme instances. To help protect yourself, it’s important to act quickly once you notice spiders in or around your home.
While removing more severe infestations may require professional assistance, there are a variety of different ways that you can get rid of spiders inside and outside your home, as well as several best practices that can help you prevent them from returning.
There are about 40,000 species of spiders worldwide, and North America is home to around 3,000 of them. These spider species can vary widely in appearance. They can be as small as common household insects, or grow as large as the palm of your hand.
Correctly identifying the types of spiders that you find on your property can help you assess the risk they pose and determine an effective treatment strategy. There are several common spider species that homeowners should be familiar with:
American House Spider: True to its name, the American house spider, also known as the common house spider, is the species that you’ll usually be dealing with inside your home. These spiders can range in color from off-white, to yellow-brown, to black, and typically have dark spots around their abdomen and legs. They are generally about ⅛” in size. This spider is not poisonous, so its bite will usually only yield common side effects such as mild pain, redness, and swelling.
Black Widow: Black widows are one of the more infamous types of spiders because of their venomous bites. While males rarely bite and aren’t toxic, females contain venom that is highly poisonous to humans and their bites will require medical attention. Adult black widow spiders can reach 1.5” in length. They are identifiable by their black, hairless bodies and the bright red hourglass shape on their abdomens.
Brown Recluse: The brown recluse is another spider known for its venomous bite. These spiders won’t bite unless they feel threatened, but this can be a common problem once they venture inside of homes. While it does tend to have a reclusive nature, it can be especially dangerous inside because it tends to hide under furniture, within piles of clothing, or inside shoes. Its bite can cause a variety of different reactions in humans, but will usually present with soreness, pain, and intense itching around the site, leading to flulike nausea and fatigue. Brown recluse spiders are typically ⅜” to ½” in size, and their color can range from light to dark brown.
Cellar Spider: The cellar spider, also known as Daddy Longlegs, is one of the species commonly found inside homes. While their legs are characteristically long and spindly, their bodies are so small that their jaws can’t bite onto human skin. Even though they’re venomous spiders, they pose no threat to humans. Cellar spiders can range from light to dark brown in color. Their bodies are usually about 7⁄16”, but their legs can extend 3-4 times that length.
Wolf Spider: While they aren’t venomous to humans, wolf spiders can grow bigger than most other household spiders and tend to be more frightening because of that. Fortunately, they do their hunting at night and tend to hide during the day. It’s rare for people to come in contact with wolf spiders inside their homes. Wolf spiders are usually between 1/8” and 1” in length, and can range from light tan to brown in color.
Getting Rid of Spiders Inside Your House
Removing spiders indoors can sometimes be tricky, as they can multiply quickly and often find their way into the hard-to-reach areas of your home. There are also important safety considerations that must be made, as some chemical repellants can be hazardous if used inside. Fortunately, several effective tools can help you get rid of spiders inside your home:
Traps allow you to catch and release harmless spiders outside and can help you control the occasional spider. They lure spiders in with an aroma that is pleasant to them and allow you to empty the trap later. Most traps are simply made with the chemical aroma that attracts the spiders as well as a type of glue that traps them inside.
Traps are a good place to start if you’ve seen more than a few spiders because you’ll be able to check them periodically and monitor how large the infestation might be. We’ve outlined some of the best spider traps on the market so you know what to purchase to get the job done on your own.
Spider poisons are a good option if you have seen more than one or two spiders around your home. Leaving the poisons around the places that spiders hide will lure them in, similar to the way that traps lure them with an aroma. The spiders will then take the poison back to their hiding places thinking that it’s food, hopefully spreading it around to any other spiders in your home.
The only downside of this method is that it may be hard to find some of the dead spiders later on. If you decide to use poison, make it a routine to continually check the small spaces around your house and clean up all carcasses as soon as possible.
Spider repellents can be used to prevent spider infestations and to keep additional spiders away while you’re addressing existing infestations. These products usually contain ingredients that smell foul to spiders, and will work to repel them for several days after application. They can be used around the perimeter of your home or in the secluded areas of your house where spiders might congregate.
You can find spider repellant sprays that are rated for both indoor and outdoor use. Indoor sprays typically contain fewer toxic chemicals and are formulated to produce fewer fumes than their outdoor counterparts. Even if you’re using an indoor-approved spray, it’s still important to follow the label instructions carefully and ventilate your home after treatment.
A spider catcher is a hand-operated tool designed to help people catch spiders and other small pests without getting too close to them. These devices have long handles that allow you to reach difficult areas and keep a safe distance from potentially hazardous spiders.They use flexible bristles to securely trap spiders without killing them, enabling you to take them outside and release them. While they can be highly effective for removing individual spiders, other methods may be needed to treat larger infestations.
Getting Rid of Spiders Outside
In many cases, it may not be necessary to remove spiders that are outside your home. Outdoor spiders can eat other pests and prevent insects like squash bugs from harming your plants. However, outdoor spiders should still be dealt with quickly if they are especially venomous and/or at risk of entering your home. There are several effective ways that you can get rid of outdoor spiders on your property:
Just as some plants can attract spiders, other types of plants can be used to keep them away. Certain plants have odors that are innately unpleasant to spiders and other pests. Placing these at strategic points around your home will help drive spiders away from your property. Fortunately, many spider deterrent plants are common and fairly easy to grow, such as lavender, mint, rosemary, basil, and lemon balm.
In addition to boosting the curb appeal of your home, diligent lawn maintenance can also help you get rid of spiders. Any cool, dark area in your yard can be an attractive source of shelter for spiders. Keeping your property tidy can help eliminate potential hiding places and force spiders out of your yard.
Some of the most common outdoor hiding places for spiders include compost heaps, wood piles, overgrown brush, fallen trees, abandoned sheds, and the undersides of rocks.
Turn Off Outdoor Lighting
Many of the insects that spiders feed on, such as flies and moths, are highly attracted to light. The regular presence of these insects around your home can serve as an open invitation to spiders, who tend to be more active at night. When feasible, turning off all the outdoor lighting around your home at night can help you keep these bugs away from your property, depriving spiders of a vital food source.
Natural Ways To Get Rid of Spiders
For many people, the health risks of using insecticides outweigh the pest-control benefits they offer. Fortunately, this is not the only option. If you want to get rid of spiders, but would like to avoid using potentially harmful chemicals in or around your home, there are several effective natural methods to consider.
Similar to certain plants, peppermint oil has a strong, distinct odor that is believed to be inherently repulsive to spiders. Because of this, it can be an effective natural alternative to store-bought insecticide. Regularly applying peppermint oil to any areas where spiders might like to hide can help drive them away and keep them from coming back without leaving any hazardous chemical residue around your home.
It’s important to remember that while peppermint oil is safe for humans, it can be harmful to animals in larger quantities, so households with pets such as cats or dogs may want to consider other methods.
Vinegar is another common substance that can be used as a natural spider repellent. It contains acetic acid, which can kill spiders on contact by burning them. To try it, combine equal parts white vinegar and water, then add the solution to a spray bottle and spray it directly on any spiders you see around your house. Unlike peppermint oil, vinegar is non-toxic to both humans and pets, making it one of the safest ways to get rid of spiders.
Diatomaceous earth is white dust made up of the fossils of microscopic aquatic creatures. The particles of this dust have sharp edges that cut into the exoskeleton of spiders as they walk over it. As the spiders encounter more diatomaceous earth and continue to develop cuts, it will eventually cause spiders to dehydrate and die.
To use diatomaceous earth, you can sprinkle a small amount near windows and entryways as well as inside cupboards, behind and under furniture, and underneath small spaces around your home. When using this substance, just be sure you’re buying the type of diatomaceous earth that is safe for ingesting (food-grade). Otherwise, it can be toxic to your family or any pets you might have.
How Do Pest Control Professionals Get Rid of Spiders?
The DIY treatment methods we’ve discussed can help you get rid of a couple of spiders around the house, but they will not be able to mitigate large numbers, especially if they are breeding on your property. If spiders continue to appear in the corners of your home no matter how often you sweep the areas down, you most likely have an infestation.
Dealing with an infestation on your own is often extremely difficult, and can be very dangerous if the spiders in your home are venomous. In many cases, the safest and most effective solution is to enlist the help of a pest control professional in your area. A professional service will know how to get rid of the spiders quickly and mitigate the infestation so that you can be safe inside your home. There are several important steps that most pest control professionals will use to eliminate spiders:
Most pest control professionals will want to evaluate the nature and severity of your infestation before beginning treatment. This is commonly done by placing sticky glue traps around the house to bait spiders, and observing their activity over time. While this won’t eliminate all the spiders in your home, it will help exterminators identify the areas where they have concentrated and any entry points they may be using. This insight will enable them to treat your infestation more effectively.
Another important step for exterminators is to remove any webs that spiders have made in or around your home. In addition to the aesthetic benefits it offers, removing these webs can also help prevent spiders from feeding and reproducing. In some cases, exterminators will apply residual treatments to the affected areas that will help deter spiders from making webs there in the future.
Along with setting traps to identify the source of an infestation and removing webs to prevent reproduction, pest control professionals will also use insecticide treatments to eliminate the spiders already living in your home. Most exterminators do this by using liquid concentrate sprays to kill spiders on contact, and placing wettable insecticide powders around your house to provide residual protection.
In some cases, exterminators will drill small holes in your walls that allow them to apply treatments to the hard-to-reach areas of your home. Once they’ve eradicated the spiders, they will seek to seal off any potential entry points using caulk, including cracks in the foundation, siding, windows, and doors.
How To Keep Spiders Away From Your Home
Given the sheer number of spider species in the United States, keeping them away in the first place requires a concerted effort. Fortunately, several proactive measures can help you prevent both indoor and outdoor infestations.
Preventing Spiders Inside
Here are some strategies that can help you prevent spider infestations from occurring inside your home:
- Regularly mop, sweep, and vacuum thoroughly inside your home, including cracks and crevices.
- Remove spider webs from walls and ceilings whenever you spot them.
- Frequently clean your kitchen to prevent the buildup of food waste.
- Keep your floors clear of boxes and other clutter where spiders might like to hide,
- Make sure to seal and store all food properly,
- Take out your indoor trash often, especially if you’ve thrown away something with a strong odor,
- If you kill a spider, be sure to quickly and properly dispose of that carcass so that it won’t attract more spiders or bugs.
Preventing Spiders Outside
The following suggestions can help you prevent spider infestations from occurring in your yard or around your home.
- Rake your leaves whenever they’re covering your lawn. Leaf piles can retain moisture and provide the perfect breeding ground for arachnids.
- Situate wood stacks, tree branches, leaves, and other clutter well away from your home. They should be in a covered area where they aren’t going to be able to absorb rainwater.
- Mow your lawn regularly so that spiders can’t hide in the overgrown grass.
- Trim your trees and bushes if they’re leaning up against the side of your house. Make sure they aren’t so overgrown that they offer shady, moist areas for other bugs to harbor, which then attract spiders.
- Wash your outdoor trash cans regularly, and keep them tightly sealed so that they don’t trap any water.