Believe it or not, spiders can be quite beneficial to our homes and gardens, considering that they snack on the other insects —like roaches, flies, mosquitoes, and millipedes— that could otherwise go unchecked. This understanding doesn’t, however, make our encounters with spiders any more pleasant… especially when they’re found within our own homes. Fortunately, there are many simple methods that you can use to clear up an infestation of spiders and keep them out for good.
What attracts spiders to your home?
Weather: Spiders are attracted to dark and comfortable locations and require specific environments to survive in. If the temperatures outside are cold, spiders will be eager to make their way indoors where they can be warm and cozy. Similarly, spiders will navigate to the indoors in effort to cool off when the temperatures outside are too hot.
Habitat: Most species of spiders prefer to live in dark and secluded locations such as basements, crawl spaces, garages, and attics. These areas can offer shelter from the elements and an ideal habitat for building webs and finding prey.
Food Sources: Spiders often make their way inside because they’re following other pests such as moths, flies, or ants. Like other pests, spiders also eat what whatever food sources we’ve left out for them. Crumbs, food scraps, juice residue are all potential sources for spiders to persist.
Mating: The mating season for spiders begins in the late summer and early fall. This is when many spiders will leave their webs and search for a mate. One spider may attract others when it is time to mate so it is important that you act quickly following an indoor spider sighting.
Gaps and Openings: Spiders commonly enter through tiny cracks, crevices, holes, and gaps in areas near doors, windows, and vents. Sometimes spiders enter through openings created by other pests such as mice. At other times, they may hitch a ride on the things we bring into our homes such as furniture, food, plants, and pets.
Where in the home are spiders typically found?
Spiders prefer to live in various areas in the home depending on the type of climate a particular species finds suitable. Generally, spiders are attracted to quiet rooms and nesting in undisturbed clutter with easy access to insects. Spiders that prefer moisture will be found in bathrooms, basements, crawl spaces and other damp parts of building ideal for hiding, reproducing, and pouncing on their next meal. Others that are more keen to dry climates may live in attics, air vents, and high corners of rooms where they can catch other insects that pass by. Egg sacs left from female spiders are commonly found in low traffic areas in the basement. In two weeks time, these eggs hatch into young spiders. When left unchecked, this cycle can manifest into an infestation.
How to prevent spiders from entering your home?
Reduce Exterior Lighting: Outside light turned on throughout the night can attract a plethora of insects such as moths, mosquitoes, and beetles. This activity can also draw in spiders. Keep outdoor lighting near doors and windows to a minimum or consider switching your bulbs to sodium vapor, halogen, or dichromium yellow bulbs which insects find less attractive than bright white and bluish lights.
Eliminate Exterior Shelter: Because spiders are often seeking out to shelter and warmth, things like stacks of firewood and piles of leaves can attract them to your home. Make sure your yard is clear of areas where spiders can find shelter or, at the very least, store these items a minimum of 10 feet away from your home. Break up any webs that you can see near your house to encourage the spiders to go somewhere else.
Seal Entry Points: Seal any cracks or small gaps in your foundation, siding, and weather stripping around doors and windows. You should also pay attention to areas where exterior pipes and conduits enter the building and make sure these locations are properly sealed. Any windows or door screens that have become loose or torn should be repaired and new screens should be installed where missing.
Use Homemade Repellents. Spiders are repelled by a number of natural scents that we often find pleasing. These include vanilla, lemon, citronella, peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, chestnut, marigold, cedar, cinnamon, and tea tree. You can apply a few drops of essential oil in strategic locations at the exterior of your home, your garage, and even your car.
Use Store-Bought Insecticide. These insecticides can provide a chemical barrier that repels or kills spiders. Insecticides can be an effective means of addressing a serious spider infestation. A downside to this approach is that many insecticides contain toxins or chemicals that are hazardous to children and pets. It is important that you carefully read the labels and directions.
How to get rid of spiders in your home?
Remove Webs: In addition to being unsightly, these webs harbour spiders while allowing them to feed and reproduce. You can either dust walls and ceilings where the webs have been built or use a vacuum with a hose attachment to remove spider webs from your home. It’s best that you do this upon spotting any webs in your home.
Keep a Tidy Home: Regularly clean your home and remove as much clutter as you can. Leftover food and crumbs may attract spiders and other insects so stay on top of maintaining a clean kitchen. Don’t forget about low traffic areas such as corners and closets and clear out any piles of cloths. Also consider transferring stored belongings from cardboard boxes over to airtight containers. Doing so will make it more difficult for spiders to find areas that they perceive as well sheltered and comfortable.
Get a Spider Catcher: If you’re interested in a way to remove spiders from your home without necessarily harming them, look into getting a spider catcher. It is a hand-operated wand that works by surrounding the spider with bristles that close around the spider so that you can gently pick it up and release it outside.
Use Essential Oils and Vinegar: Essential oils can be an effective deterrent both inside and outside of the home. If your aim is to get rid of spiders without killing them and without insecticides, vinegar is also an effective natural spider repellent. You can fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 white vinegar and water solution and spray the mixture into the corners of your home, around window frames, and gaps near the entrance doors to repel spiders. It will likely take some experimenting to determine which solutions and ratios are most effective, how often you should spray, and which locations are ideal.
Place Spider Traps: Traps with a sticky glue designed to catch and kill spiders can be effective if you place them in areas where spiders are likely to be. These are often laced with a pheromone or aroma that attracts spiders to the trap. As with store-bought insecticides, you should carefully read the instructions and make sure they are placed out of reach of children and pets.
Use Store-Bought Insecticides: When used indoors, these treatments are usually intended to be used, in the corners of your home, beneath furniture, and along the baseboards. As described earlier, make sure you understand the instructions and potential hazards.