How to get rid of spiders and keep them from coming back

  • Spiders usually enter homes because they are attracted to other insects inside.
  • Vacuuming spiders and their webs is the best and easiest way to get rid of spiders.
  • Keep spiders outside by sealing a house, limiting the number of lights used, and cleaning up spills.
  • Visit Insider’s Home and Kitchen Reference Library for more stories.

While spiders are generally good for the environment, it’s not really fun to catch those eight-legged critters that crawl on the walls of our homes. Especially since some can be dangerous for humans.

According to Doug Webb, a manager of technical services at Terminix, spiders are most often attracted to homes by a potential food source, especially small insects that are already in a home and are easy prey to capture. So, one of the best ways to get rid of spiders is to eliminate the bugs and cut off the spider’s food source.

However, there are a number of short and long term spider removal methods to help you get rid of spiders already in a home and keep you from attracting more of them.

How to get rid of spiders

A top view of a man using a vacuum hose to suck up spider webs

The best way to get rid of spiders is to vacuum them with their webs.

Ivan-balvan / Getty Images

The best way to get rid of spiders is to take preventative measures to prevent them from getting inside, and large-scale infestations usually need to be treated by professionals. But Webb points out a few removal methods to use after you’ve taken the most important steps to keep eight-legged friends out of your home.

Vacuum thoroughly

It may sound deceptively simple, but Webb says it’s the best and easiest way to get rid of spiders. Simply physically remove the spiders and their webs. “[The vacuum] go suck [the spider] in and [it] will not survive the ride in the [vacuum] bag, ”says Webb.

Vacuum an area as you normally would, paying close attention to any spots where you have noticed spiders or cobwebs, then discard the contents of the bag. This method is especially useful when dealing with potentially dangerous spiders, as it limits the number of direct contact you might have with them.

Stress the environment

Sometimes all it takes to get rid of an unwanted guest is to make their living situation as uncomfortable as possible so that they don’t feel inclined to hang around. In the case of spiders, that means removing webs as soon as you see them and making sure you take steps to keep insects, the spider’s food source, from getting inside.

Glue traps

Webb explains that glue traps, which are leaves or tubes covered with a sticky substance that spiders are then trapped on, are the most effective at catching hunter spiders because they crawl more on the ground than spiders that build canvases. While glue traps shouldn’t be relied upon to get rid of all spiders, Webb says they can help diagnose the extent of a spider invasion and determine what type of spider you are. might have.

How to prevent spiders from getting inside

A spider web on the corner of a door frame

Make sure the weatherstripping is intact to keep insects out.

Photo by Joel Sharpe / Getty Images

Long-term tactics are often the best line of defense in eliminating spiders for good. Often times, many of these tactics are aimed not only at getting rid of the spiders themselves, but also their insect food sources, which helps prevent the spiders from being attracted to a home in the first place.

  • Close your house. One of the easiest ways for insects and spiders to invade a space is to enter through small entry points. Fill in any holes or cracks in the foundation of a house and also add weatherstripping at the bottom of doors and windows.
  • Limit the lights. According to Webb, insects are often drawn to homes by light, so it’s important to limit the amount of light you use in your home at night to minimize the risk of insects. You don’t need to be on and use weatherstripping to drown out any light entering under a door. Also, be aware of any outdoor lights you own and where they are located near a door or window as there may be flies and other insects hanging around them.
  • Clean up food and spills. One of the most common reasons critters enter a home is because of food damage. Make sure you keep the house clean, clean up any spills, throw away food, and don’t leave anything on the counter for too long. Webb says it’s important to pay special attention to the edges of the floor and otherwise neglected areas under counters or furniture when cleaning.

Common house spiders

Types of spider graphics including: common house spiders (American house spiders), black widow spiders, brown recluse, daddy's long legs, cellar spiders, and wolf spiders

Rachel Mendelson / Insider

There are a few things to know to identify spiders, the most important being whether they are poisonous or dangerous.

Most spiders are poisonous because injecting venom is how they hunt their prey. Not all of them are considered dangerous, however, according to Webb, because they either don’t have fangs large enough to penetrate and inject venom into humans, or they don’t interact with people enough.

On the contrary, the main problems with spider bites come from secondary infections, like a staph infection, which can occur in part from the bite, but not necessarily from the venom itself.

“It’s extremely rare for someone to die from a spider bite,” says Webb. “It happens from time to time, [but that’s more because of] the person’s susceptibility to the bite whether it is the bite or the venom itself. “

The second thing to keep in mind is whether a spider is building a web or hunting. This helps to inform certain preventative measures you are taking, as hunter spiders tend to spend more time on the ground and therefore can be caught using traps.

Black Widow (Website Creation): Perhaps one of the most notorious spiders, black widows are both distinct and dangerous. While Webb says it’s rare for someone to die from a black widow bite, it’s the most menacing bite of all common house spiders and can lead to painful muscle cramps and hospitalization in extreme cases. . He states that there are a few different species of black widows which have slight variations in appearances. The most common species is a glossy jet black with a recognizable red hourglass shape on the back, but other species can also have indescribable reddish shapes or will instead have a brown appearance with orange markings.

Brown recluse (hunting): Also called a fiddleback spider, the best way to identify a brown recluse spider is if it has a violin shape on its back. As the name suggests, brown recluses generally tend to be beige in color, and while most other lists of Webb spiders can be found across the country, brown recluses are mostly restricted to the central region of the United States. Due to its necrotic venom, which can damage the skin and muscle tissue around the bite, Webb says brown recluse spiders are also considered dangerous.

Wolf Spider (hunting): The wolf spider is one of the most common spiders, but it is often confused with a brown recluse. Both are brownish or dark beige in color, but where the brown recluse has the unique shape of a violin on its back and is considered dangerous, the wolf spider has only black stripes and poses a threat.

Cave spider (web construction): Described by Webb as appearing “light,” cellar spiders have particularly slender bodies and long, slender legs, and are not dangerous to humans.

Common spider (web construction): Another incredibly common and non-dangerous spider, the house spider is a brownish orb-weaver spider, which means it builds webs in the shape of a wheel. Like the black widow, it has a large, bulbous back and a smaller cephalothorax, or front part of the body made up of the head and thorax. Webb says you will often find their canvases on ceilings and in corners.

Insider’s takeaway

Spiders are often attracted to homes because their insect food source has already entered, so it’s important to deal with both when thinking about removal methods. In the long run, be sure to seal a house well, limit the number of lights used at night, and clean up food messes well. To treat spiders that have already entered a house, simply vacuum them up or use glue traps.

While most spiders are poisonous, most house spiders are not a threat to humans. But it’s important to recognize the few that do exist, such as black widows and brown recluse spiders, and to proceed very carefully when handling them.

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