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March 3, 2014
Spiders are found in 2 out of every 3 American homes, making them among the most prevalent of household pests. Unfortunately, arachnophobia (fear of spiders) is the most common creature-based phobia in the world. Even if you do not fear spiders, odds are your houseguests might.
It is always best to avoid touching spiders, as they can carry bacteria and other germs on their bodies. While spiders never actively seek human contact, they will bite if they feel endangered or threatened. Venom from a spider bite can cause reactions ranging from a stinging red mark and localized swelling to hospitalization in rare cases.
The best way to fight spiders is to prevent them from ever entering your home. Patch up cracks and holes leading from the outside in to keep them from finding their way indoors. Use caulk to seal up cracks and holes inside and outside your home. Some species of spiders build their webs in tall grasses and plants, so we also recommend regular landscape maintenance around your house. Spiders like to live woodpiles, so stacking wood against a wall is almost guaranteed to draw spiders inside. Turning off your outdoor lights or using a bug bulb at night can also help prevent spider infestations. While outdoor lights will not attract spiders, they can attract other pests that serve as a food source for spiders.
Clean homes give spiders fewer places to hide, making them less likely to stay even if they do slip inside. Keep your kitchen clean and food sealed in airtight containers. Spiders are attracted to dark quiet places, which is why they are often found in basement corners. Store cardboard boxes up off the floor to avoid creating convenient hiding places for spiders and other pests.
Although it is almost impossible to entirely get rid of a spider problem, you can reduce their numbers by destroying spider eggs before they hatch. To prevent spider eggs from hatching in your home, thoroughly vacuum your home. Because spiders hatch in the spring, it is best to vacuum in the early spring. For this strategy to work, you must vacuum every nook and cranny of your house, including the undersides of all furniture. This can be especially time-consuming if you have a large home and often requires two people to lift the heavy furniture. Also, vacuum up any cobwebs near the floor or ceiling to help eliminate full-grown spiders. Afterward, immediately dispose of the vacuum bag or contents outside to prevent spiders from escaping back into your home.
In addition to vacuuming, glue traps and pest control treatment products may also be effective, although these generally require expert application for full effectiveness. Glue traps are especially effective in basements and work by trapping spiders – or anything other pests - that run across them. Glue traps will stick to anything that comes into contact with them, so they cannot be placed anywhere that a human or pet might come in contact. Traps are ineffective against spider eggs and webs and should be used in conjunction with other techniques. Spider control products are also effective, but only work when spiders come in direct contact with the spray. If a spider manages to avoid the spray, the product will have no effect on it.
Especially if you have a big home or significant spider infestation, we recommend contacting a professional pest control company. Ensure that the pest control company uses environmentally responsible products to get rid of spiders, and addresses the pests that attracted the spiders in the first place. Also, ask your pest control professional about exclusion techniques to eliminate entryways and harborages.