No matter how diligently we watch for spiders, they seem to be in our homes before we know it. Nobody wants to be overrun by eight-eyed lurkers hiding in closets or sticky webs decorating your corners, so how do we stop it and keep spiders from coming inside?
Spiders come inside our homes looking for their next meal, to avoid the weather, and because our houses provide the ideal environment for them. To keep spiders away from your home, make sure to clean regularly, remove clutter, and seal up areas of entry around the outside of your home.
There are some measures you need to take if you are trying to handle a spider issue. While there might not be a foolproof way to keep spiders from your home, there are some pretty effective tactics you can employ to keep the spider numbers as low as possible! Keep reading for some suggestions and solutions and let’s get to it!
What Kind Of Spider Is Inside My House?
Whether it’s arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, or a dislike of cleaning up all those webs that have you fighting the good fight against these arachnids, knowing what kind of spider you are dealing with can help you figure out which steps should be taken first.
Spiders can be identified by their colorations, the markings on their body, how large they are, where they are in your house, and what part of the country you live in.
One you find a spider in your house, there are some things you should do to protect yourself and repel them. Check out our article on the 8 things to do if you see spiders in your house once you’re finished up with this one!
There are over 49,000 species of spiders known, and at least 4,000 of those reside in North America, according to the Princeton Field Guide, so it’s impossible to know all of them. But some of the most common spiders that are likely to make it into your home are these eight:
|How To Identify||Size*||Where Found In Home||Region|
|Brown Recluse||Small and brown with 6 eyes color ranges from tan to gray and a violin marking on its head||Females up to ¼” body with males being smaller||In seldom disturbed closets, drawers, or attics||Most of the mid to lower United States and up the Eastern Regions|
|Black Widow||Black spider with red hourglass shape on its shiny back||⅜” body for females and ⅛” for males||They hid in dark, dusty places such as corners and under tables||Warmer Southern Parts of the United States|
|Green Crab Spider||Crablike in shape with legs extending outward and walking in any directions||¼ inch body for females with males being smaller||On any wildflowers or other plants you’ve brought inside||Several Species can be found throughout the United States|
|Jumping Spider / Bold Jumper||Four eyes facing forward and four eyes facing backwards, furry looking with jerky movements||¼” to ¾” body for females with males being smaller||By windows or other places with good lightening||Through the United States especially in the Warmer southern regions|
|Wolf Spider||Large brown, black, or gray spider on the ground with black or brown markings||Up to 1” body for females with males being smaller||On the ground, under furniture||Throughout the United States especially in the northern regions|
|Tarantula||Large with black or brown long hairs on thick legs and body||Body size up to 3” and a leg span of 5” with the males slightly smaller||Dark, undisturbed places and prefer to come out at night||Primarily found in southwestern United States|
|Cellar Spiders (Daddy Long Legs)||Tiny body with long, thin legs in gray or tan colors||1/4” body length and legs that can extend 2”||Cool and Damp Places with messy webs in corners or out of way crevices||Found throughout all 48 contiguous states|
|Common House Spider||More than 230 species normally in neutral colors such as tan, gray, or browns with darker markings||Body ⅛ to ⅜ inch for females, males ⅛ inch body||Most commonly found sitting in webs anywhere in homes or buildings||Found in every state in the United States|
Now that you have an idea of what kind of spider you are dealing with find out what you can do about it. Here are seven reasons you could have visitors and steps to take when dealing with your not-so-friendly neighborhood spiders.
Spiders Will Follow Food Sources Inside
All spiders search for their prey, including insects, other spiders, and some larger species can even eat frogs or lizards. They are a predatory, meat-eating species that require the nutrients they get from their prey to survive.
Spiders can be identified by their eight legs, and two body sections called the cephalothorax, the head, and the abdomen.
Spiders all have six or eight eyes, depending on the species. They also have silk glands in their abdomen, which allows them to produce webs.
While all spiders spin silk, not all spiders make webs.
Spider silk is produced by proteins located in the spider’s abdomen. The spider’s spinnerets use these proteins to produce the silk stands that can be a nuisance in our homes.
One of the biggest nuisances that spiders provide is leaving their prey catchings tools all around our homes, their webs.
Spiders string their silk into different web patterns, and once these webs are hung, spiders will wait until vibrations from prey struggling in the sticky web tell them to go and secure their dinner.
Some of a spiders favorite prey include butterflies, flies, and mosquitoes.
Some species of spiders also drop a silk string like a fishing line and wait for something to hit it.
Larger species of spiders, such as a wolf spider, are known not to use a web for hunting but instead lay in wait and pounce on their intended prey.
Spiders will even eat frogs, crickets, or grasshoppers.
Spiders inject their venom into caught prey, which paralyzes them. Then because they digest their food externally, digestive fluids are used to dissolve their prey’s tissue and then suck their prey’s liquified tissue out, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
No wonder these arachnids are something we don’t want to share our homes with.
How To Fix It
Decreasing the food source for spiders will decrease the spider population. Without quarry to hunt, the predatory spiders will look elsewhere and be discouraged from hanging around or having young.
One way to decrease the flying insect population in your home is to change light bulbs to yellow instead of white light, which makes them less attractive to insects. The insects can’t see the wavelengths of yellow light.
Using fly strips such as Sticky Fly Paper Fly Trap will help capture many of the flying insects that spiders use for a food source.
Also, having someone come professionally spray your home is always an option.
Spiders Will Come Inside If Their Eggs Are Safe To Hatch
Spiders can be found everywhere, and they travel very easily. Small spiders can even be seen using their webs as parachutes to travel over long distances in search of a welcoming home.
They increase their population and thrive with their egg sacs which hatch spiderlings or baby spiders.
These sacs can contain hundreds of baby spiders, all waiting to hatch.
The Common House Spiders’ egg sacs are in varying shades of gray or brown in a spherical shape. These tiny egg sacs contain up to 400 spiderlings. They live about one year and can produce up to fifteen egg sacs during their life.
That is a lot of spiderlings roaming around your house!
How To Fix It
Vacuuming or dusting regularly to remove spiderwebs and their inhabitants can help reduce the spider population inside your home.
Letting areas in your home collect spider webs hide these small egg sacs.
Watching for webs gives you a good indicator of where egg sacs might be.
Although not all spiders regularly spin webs, they all have the capability and will often use the web for securing their eggs sacs somewhere they think is safe.
If you see any indication of webs, especially in corners or crevices, immediately dust the area.
Or, in cases of extreme web buildup, use a handheld vacuum cleaner. It is a great way to remove the egg sacs and the webbing. Try a Black and Decker Cordless Handheld vacuum for a portable option.
Messy Yards Will Attract Spiders Inside Your House
Having wood piles or landscaping rocks around your home can lead to an increase in the spider population.
Any clutter around your home can also provide a dark and seemingly safe place for spiders to hide right outside.
Black widows are notorious for staying under these rocks or in wood piles.
Black widows are one of two common venomous spiders in North America, the other being the brown recluse. Black widows hunt by finding somewhere still and dark, then weaving a funnel-style web.
They do not travel well, so it’s easier to wait for prey to come to them. The University of California tells us they are primarily nocturnal, coming out at night to do their hunting.
Inclement weather can cause these spiders to come inside your home.
Black widows especially will come inside if it gets too dry because they prefer a humid climate.
Once it gets closer to winter and the temperatures drop, spiders are more likely to come inside, searching for a more abundant food source and warmth.
How To Fix It
To help prevent black widow spiders and other species from hanging out around your house and making that easy trip in, put an end to areas around your house they might be hiding.
Cleaning up the outside around your home and removing hiding places such as lumber, scrap, rock piles, and leaf buildup will leave no place for spiders to make a home.
Relocating any wood piles or rocks will decrease the likelihood of a spider perching outside your home.
Pressure washing any natural stone around your home regularly will disturb the spiders. The black widow especially will flee if they are unsettled.
Adding a High-Pressure Nozzle to your hose is an easy way to quickly remove any webs. A regular rinse to keep webs from becoming established will make most spiders move elsewhere.
Cracks In Your House Can Bring Spiders Inside
While cleaning up and maintaining your home will help eliminate spiders, it’s impossible to get rid of all of them. Leaving easy access for spiders to get into your home can be one reason you have them crawling around.
A lot of times, when there is bad weather, spiders will try to find a way inside.
Heavy rains can bring spiders in, according to North Carolina State University. Rain and snow can cause spiders to want inside as their prey sources decrease outside.
Wolf Spiders commonly come inside as temperatures drop, says The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. They produce egg sacs that can carry 100 spiderlings, making it important to remove them quickly.
Since the wolf spider carries their egg sacs between its spinnerets, keeping the adult wolf spider out will also keep out the young.
How To Fix It
Spiders come into your home through cracks in windows, space under doors, cable entrances, and unsecured vents.
Check all your windows, and if any of your screens have rips or don’t fit securely, fixing them will keep spiders from entering.
Doors that don’t meet the frame snuggly can be helped with door sweeps that eliminate gaps at the bottom, and door seals can be added to the edge of doors to create a flush connection.
According to Clemson Entomology Extension, using these options or weather stripping will limit access for spiders like the wolf spider.
A simple door sweep like this Holikme Door Draft Stopper can help keep spiders and their prey out, as well as help control the temperature in your home.
If you have any cables running into your home, check that the holes are snug or add insulation around them.
Cover any exterior vents with a screen to prevent spiders from entering the openings.
Spiders are less likely to show up unexpectedly without an easy access point into your house.
Dark And Humid Places Can Attract Spiders
Spiders don’t like being in heavy traffic or well-lit areas, but keeping up with every inch of your home is hard.
As the name implies, brown recluses look to be in out-of-the-way places where they won’t encounter people and will take advantage of these dark, humid places.
Closets that don’t get cleaned out except during spring cleaning are great places for spiders like the brown recluse to hang out.
Seasonal clothes only worn a couple of times a year can harbor spiders.
Brown recluses like to hide in clothing because they are not very good climbers; they like a textured surface to hang out on. You’ll see brown recluses in places like your bathtub, attracted by the moisture and unable to escape the smooth walls.
Be sure to shake out any clothes, towels, or blankets stashed away for an extended period.
Boxes that haven’t been completely sealed provide a good home for brown recluses.
Attics that only get opened to pull out the holiday decorations are dark and still for most of the year and create a welcoming environment for spiders to breed and live.
Lastly, for spiders in general, they tend to love showers and bathrooms!
How To Fix It
Opening up your closets regularly and rotating the things in them can disrupt the spiders; make sure to vacuum up any insects you see.
All boxes stored for any length of time should be properly sealed to keep insects from entering, including spiders. If a box is ripped or torn, replace it with a new, fully intact box.
Make sure to dust and vacuum underneath your furniture as well. Those dark, quiet places under never moved furniture are another excellent hiding place for spiders.
Check your bed, dresser, sofa, and chairs for any signs of webs, dead insects, or egg sacs.
Running a dehumidifier removes moisture from the air, while most spider species prefer high humidity. The dry air can convince spiders to look elsewhere for refuge. Any rooms which are not frequently used can benefit from the dryer air. Try adding a dehumidifier like this HOmelabs Dehumidifier.
Bathrooms and shower drains can easily attract spiders due to their warmth and moisture level. Check out our blog to learn some simple tricks to keep spiders out of your shower drain!
Specific Scents Can Attract (And Repel) Spiders
After spending all that time changing light bulbs, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning up your yard, checking screens, organizing closets, and cleaning under furniture, there is still one more preventive measure you can take to deter spiders.
Spraying room sprays or air fresheners as a final touch when cleaning won’t encourage spiders, but they won’t discourage them either.
Using the correct smells can take your war on spiders one step further.
How To Use Scents To Repel Spiders
Instead of a store-bought spray, try using a homemade spray.
Spraying your kitchen, bathroom, and anywhere else you have seen spiders with vinegar repels spiders.
Mix half and half with water and keep in a spray bottle whenever you need to spray down an area.
The vinegar smell isn’t ideal for bedrooms, living rooms, or closets. In those areas, try using a mint spray to give the room a nice scent that spiders hate.
Even better, coffee grounds can also repel spiders along with a variety of other pests and insects!
If you’d like more options, take a peak at our full list of scents that spiders hate.
A Lack Of Spider Traps Can Allow Spiders To Come In
It is impossible to monitor every square inch of your home daily. Spiders will prefer to hang out in areas that are less frequented.
Without anyone to stop them, spiders will often make themselves at home and have webs everywhere before you know it.
Attics are notorious for being a great home for spiders, along with closets, garages, basements, and crawl spaces.
Any of these areas might need a little extra help.
Now, a quick note. Personally, I like to leave as many spiders alone in my home as possible. They really naturally repel other insects in your home! So, only use spider traps when necessary.
How To Fix It
In any of those problem areas, using spider traps to catch any creeping through is one of the most effective elimination methods.
Most glue traps are pieces of cardboard with a sticky substance on one side.
When dealing with smaller spiders, a tunnel-like shape can be effective. Place it running alongside a wall so the spider will run straight through and get stuck.
For larger spiders, or if you are unsure what you are dealing with, a piece of plastic with glue on top is the best.
An all-purpose Catchmaster Glue Board can do wonders in population control.
In any area of your home that you can’t regularly monitor and vacuum, use the sticky traps and make sure to change them regularly.
Typically once a month is often enough to change them out, but check them, and if they fill up, go ahead and put a new one in place.
You can also use outdoor spider sprays if needed to compliment the indoor prevention methods!
|Spiders Following Food Sources||Change Bulbs and Reduce Bugs|
|Allowing Spiders To Hatch||Vacuum and Dust Often|
|Providing Habitat Around Your Home||Clean Up Debris and Trash|
|Easy Access||Check All Screens and Seal Cracks|
|Dark, Humid Places||Cleaning of Closets and Under Furniture|
|Not Using Smells Effectively||Add Mint or Chestnut Oil to Sprays|
|Not Enough Spider Traps||Use Specially Designed Spider Traps|
Taking these steps will eliminate spiders if used regularly and consistently.
While spiders are undoubtedly creepy crawlers and can make a huge mess leaving webs everywhere, they have some benefits. Spiders eat flies and mosquitoes as well as other pest insects.
Make sure you consider how many spiders are a problem before you eliminate the spiders from your home.
Most spiders will avoid human interaction at all costs, so following these tips will create a more threatening environment than they’ll be comfortable with.
In addition to basic things, you can read up more more specific things that scare spiders here!
If you continue to have spider problems, you can contact a professional pest control service for a little extra help.
Bradley, Richard A. Common Spiders of North America. Univ of California Press, 2012.
Lifton, Bernice. “Bugbusters: getting rid of household pests without dangerous chemicals.” (1985).
Gertsch, Willis John. American spiders. No. Ed. 2. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1979.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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