Finding a spider in your home can be an unpleasant experience, especially if it takes you by surprise. They tend to hide in concealed places like the corners of your house or garage. Many spiders are harmless to humans, and can even help keep other insects at bay. But, there are still some with a dangerous venomous bite, and if you don’t want spiders in your home, harmful or not, there are several ways to get rid of them.
The Good Housekeeping Health, Beauty & Sustainability Lab spoke with Michael Bentley, an entomologist and the director of training and education for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA); Josh Matta, Entomologist and Senior Biologist for Spectrum Garden Brands and Rick Vetter, Entomologist at the University of California, who focuses on spiders. Follow our guide below on how to get rid of spiders and keep them from coming back.
How to get rid of spiders at home
Whether you’re trying to get rid of spiders in the bathroom, bedroom, basement or anywhere else in the house, you’ll want to do the following:
✔️ Remove the spider. If you spot a spider, there are a few ways to remove it. Trapping it in a container with a lid and placing it back outside is an effective and humane option. But, if don’t prefer that method or the spider is on the run you may want to consider using a spray. We like GH Seal star Zevo Ant, Roach & Spider Insect Spray. This spray is effective and when used as directed, it’s safe around children and pets.
✔️ Get rid of webs. Remove spider webs either by wiping them away or using a vacuum, especially in hard-to-reach places like ceiling corners or behind objects.
✔️ Remove clutter that spiders like to hide in. If you find spider webs amongst some clutter, clear the area so the spider does not have a place to hide.
✔️ Clean up food and empty trash. Spiders aren’t attracted to human food, but other insects certainly are, leading spiders to set up cam near that food source. Keep bugs to a minimum indoors by cleaning up leftover food, throwing out trash and removing any other food remnants that could attract them.
What attracts spiders in the house?
Spiders come into the house if they’re in search of either shelter or food. They like quiet secluded places like basements, attics, garages or cluttered corners, so keep areas free of clutter and get rid of flies or other insects they may want to feed on.
What keeps spiders away from the house?
The best way to keep spiders away from the house is to prevent them from getting inside in the first place. Seal off any areas where they can sneak inside from the outdoors. Bentley suggests repairing damaged window screens, installing or replacing thresholds or door sweeps and weather stripping around doors and windows. In addition, seal cracks or crevices around the foundation of the home that may provide easy entry.
Matta also says, “creating a strong barrier is key.” Out of the Spectrum Brands product portfolio, he advises using Spectracide Bug Stop to create a chemical barrier. The product is sprayed on the outside surfaces of screens, doors, window frames and wherever else insects may enter. Please note that the product contains gamma-cyhalothrin, a potent broad-spectrum pyrethroid pesticide that will also kill other insects such as ants, fleas and roaches. Due to its potential dangers to fish and aquatic life and its toxic nature, our Health, Beauty and Sustainability lab experts suggest using it with utmost care and only when other methods prove insufficient to control your bug problem indoors.
How to get rid of spiders in the garage
Spiders are attracted to quiet secluded spots with places to hide, which makes the garage a prime location. According to Vetter, “Black Widows are rarely found inside homes — more likely in garages, stone piles and wood stacks so you need to be careful putting on gardening gloves and baseball mitts stored in the garage.” It’s best to clear any clutter where possible, but for storage areas, use airtight storage containers so spiders can’t get in, eliminating a place to hide. When bringing out storage items from the attic, closet or basement, be sure to inspect them carefully for spider stow-aways.
Matta also recommends using an insecticide in the garage, like Spectracide Bug Stop from the Spectrum Brands portfolio. According to the brand, it not only kills spiders and other insects that attract spiders on contact, but also acts as a barrier to keep them away. Matta says to spray in the garage, around light fixtures and on porches where insects may congregate. Our Health, Beauty and Sustainability lab experts say to strictly adhere to use directions when handling these powerful pesticides and to make sure humans and pets are not allowed into the garage until after the applied product has fully dried and the area has been well-aerated.
How to get rid of spiders outside
While you may not want to get rid of too many spiders outside since they can help keep insects under control, there may be instances in which you want to remove them — like a big web building up on your porch. Patio and porch lights attract insects, creating a prime hunting ground for spiders, so consider turning off your lights. Also, Bentley recommends switching out traditional incandescent light bulbs for warm-colored LED lights, as these are less attractive to insects which will help keep spiders away.
Common types of spiders
All spiders are venomous, but not all are harmful to humans. Read below for common spider types in the U.S. and whether or not they are harmful.
- House, wolf, jumping, and long-bodied cellar (daddy-long-leg) spiders. Bentley says: “These species are not considered to be a threat to human health. These spiders all prefer undisturbed, quiet areas to remain hidden and away from human activity. Web-building spiders such as the house and long-bodied cellar spiders will look for undisturbed areas aboveground such as basements, cellars or windowsills to construct webs. Ground-hunting spiders such as wolf and jumping spiders are more commonly found in low-traffic areas at ground level including under furniture and along baseboards.”
- Black widow and brown recluse spiders. According to Vetter, black widow and brown recluse are the only toxic spiders found in the U.S. Black widows are found throughout the U.S., and brown recluse spiders are mainly found in the central midwest from Ohio to Nebraska and southward through Texas and Georgia. While bites from these spiders are rare, they will bite if they feel threatened. Bentley says can be fatal and should be treated as a medical emergency, so be sure to be extra careful around places where they may live.
Black widows are rarely found inside and are likely to be found in dry, dark locations close to the ground such as wood, stone or debris piles. They can also be found in undisturbed items in the garage like baseball mitts or gardening gloves so take care when using items like these. Brown recluse spiders prefer debris and woodpiles, though they may also be found inside in places like closets, under furniture or near baseboards.
When to contact a professional
Bentley advises contacting a pest control professional at the first signs of pest activity and advises, “While proper prevention will usually keep these creepy crawlers out, a licensed pest control professional will help identify the species in your home and solve the problem.” If you suspect you have brown recluses or black widows, you should immediately contact a pest control professional.
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