As pest control professionals with years of experience in the field killing spiders and bugs of all kinds, we know that spiders are beneficial.
They’re natural predators and kill most other bugs that enter your home.
That said, most people don't want spiders in their home, either.
They give most people the creeps. Arachnophobia is a very real fear for most people. Fortunately, most spiders aren't dangerous. (And most of the dangerous spiders can be found in Australia.)
If you're one of those people who wants to keep spiders far, far from your home, continue reading to find out how.
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What Attracts Spiders in the First Place?
Spiders, scientifically known as arachnids, are predators. They attack and eat insects and each other. While they generally don’t eat other spiders of their own species, it has been known to happen.
Carnivores aren’t known to be picky about their food, often eating each other, and spiders are no exception to the rule.
You can’t really say that spiders are attracted to anything per sé because they live everywhere in the world except for the very coldest climates. The rare exception is the brown recluse spider, which is known to hide in dark areas where they can’t be seen. They are very withdrawn and reclusive, hence their name.
Aside from that, spiders will go wherever their prey is. Since insects are their prey, and insects live in every environment in the world, except the Arctic and Antarctic, both inside and outside, spiders live everywhere too.
Spiders are solitary hunters, living alone except when they mate. The black widow spider is famous for killing her mate but she’s just speeding up what is going to happen anyway. The males generally die soon after mating. It’s only the female that lives any longer than a few weeks or months.
The females will lay dozens or hundreds of eggs in an egg sack after mating, then live for as much as a year. In a few rare species, the female might live for two or three years.
Although spiders are famous for trapping their prey in their spider web, an equal number of them will actively hunt their prey, stalking it or laying in wait for it. When they catch their prey they will jump out and bite it, then wrap it in their web for transportation back to their lair.
Four Ideas To Keep Spiders Away
Spiders are outdoor critters but don't discriminate when they encounter cracks and crevices that gain them entry into your home. There are numerous entry points around the perimeter of your home and you need to address all of them.
So then, how do you keep spiders away from your house? It's fairly straightforward but not without effort.
Let’s take a look at how to deter spiders from coming in and how to get rid of spiders who are already in your house.
1. Pesticides to Keep Spiders Away
Most people don’t want to hear about pesticides, insecticides, bug spray, whatever you want to call it. There's a common misunderstanding that chemicals are harmful and unnatural.
In fact, just the opposite is true. Chemicals are natural and make up everything on Earth. Most pesticides are synthetic copies of natural chemicals found in plants.
However, plenty of chemicals are toxic; cyanide, arsenic, etc. Combinations of chemicals can also be harmful.
One of the most common active ingredients in pesticides and insecticides are pyrethrins. They’re a mix of six different chemicals that are toxic to insects and all of them are naturally found in chrysanthemum flowers.
Naturally occurring chemicals were too sporadic in their quality and consistency, so scientists found a way to synthesize them in the lab to ensure consistent quality. Pyrethrins have been registered as insecticides since the 1950s.
Since then, other naturally occurring chemicals that repel or kill insects and spiders have been isolated and duplicated in the lab as well.
There are dozens of effective spider pesticides available on the market today. The premixed ones in the spray cans are generally too weak or diluted to be very effective. They’ll kill some spiders and insects but you’ll have to keep applying them so often that it won’t be cost-effective.
How to Use Pesticides
To use these pesticides you’ll need a 1-gallon sprayer that is pumped up and sprayed by hand. An ounce or less of the pesticide concentrate mixed with a gallon of tap water will give you a gallon of finished product to spray around all the doors and window sills in the house (inside and out), around all the baseboards and up in the corners.
Spray it around all the bushes next to the house and along the soffit under the eaves of the house. Spray any wood piles too. Spiders love those!
Be sure to spray behind the refrigerator, washer, drier, around the heater and A/C, and the water heater. Spray behind all the toilets, under the sinks, behind the furniture, and under all the beds. Use the entire gallon.
Pesticides are heavily regulated by the EPA as to their strength, residual impact, and a whole host of other things. The residual impact is how long they remain in the environment.
According to regulations, all pesticides (except termiticides) have to biodegrade down to zero within 90 days. After 90 days, the pesticides are gone and the bugs can come back in.
That 90 day period is far longer than any other residual impact from any other method. That means, if you choose to use a non-pesticide method of spider control, you’ll have to reapply it more frequently than every 90 days.
2. Natural Remedies for Getting Rid of Spiders
There are a number of effective natural remedies to keep spiders out of your house. Chief among those natural spider repellents is essential oils.
Essential oils aren’t really oils at all. They’re called that because they contain chemicals that dissolve in oil. There can be 100-200 different chemicals in every essential oil, and it is that complex chemistry that gives essential oils their various properties and benefits. This is also why essential oils have overlapping effects from one to the next.
There are three different ways essential oils are extracted from plants.
- In steam distillation, steam is forced through the plant. The result is essential oils and a few byproducts.
- Expression is the mechanical process of extracting fluids from the peels of citrus fruit by scraping, grating, or squeezing the peels. Scraping or grating the peel allows the oils to be captured. These essentials oils are in their raw form.
- Supercritical CO2 extraction uses carbon dioxide to produce a very high-grade oil extract. CO2 extracts like this have more chemicals in them than the other two methods.
There are a number of essential oils that are useful to repel spiders:
Spiders avoid the smell of these oils as much as possible.
If you are a DIY enthusiast, using essential oils is simple. Put an ounce or two of the essential oil in a spray bottle and fill it with water. Add a few drops of dish soap to make the mixture stick when you spray it.
Here's a step-by-step video to show you how to make DIY spray.
After the mixture is made, shake it well for a minute or so. Then start spraying. Spray it in all the same areas as we mentioned above in the pesticide section.
Essential oils biodegrade very quickly so you’ll have to reapply the spray once a week, more often if it rains. After the rain is over, wait until the bushes and outside of the house are completely dry before spraying.
Exclusion is a fancy word for putting up a barrier to keep spiders out. Exclusion requires you to replace any screens on the windows that have any gaps in them or seal any existing gaps.
How small are the cracks and crevices you need to seal? Here’s a simple test. If you can slip the edge of a piece of notebook paper into the crack, it is big enough for a baby spider to go through it. Seal it.
Silicone sealant is a readily available product to seal gaps. Gaps around window screens are a major entry point for spiders and other creepy crawlies.
Replace any old or worn weather stripping around the doors and screen doors too. Then use the silicone sealant or caulk around the bottom of the threshold. Do the same thing around the outside of your home.
4. Spider Removal
Keeping spiders away also means getting rid of the ones already in your house. To remove spiders and spider eggs from your home, simply go through and do a thorough cleaning.
Go through the house with a vacuum cleaner. Vacuum up the cobwebs in the corners up by the ceiling, behind the appliances, under the sinks and cabinets, under the toe kick under the kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
Vacuum around the window sills, curtains, curtain rods, and blinds. Once you’re done, take the vacuum cleaner outside and empty it into the trash. That will ensure that any spider egg sacs you vacuumed up will be deposited outside.
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Final Thoughts on Effectively Keeping Spiders Away
Ridding spiders from your home and preventing them from creeping in isn’t complicated, but it’s not effortless either. You’ll have to put some work into it, and life being what it is, you’ll have to repeat that work on a regular basis.
The good news is, you can succeed. If you’re serious about getting rid of spiders and you follow the recommendations we’ve outlined, you’ll be able to stop any spider infestations dead in their tracks before they even begin. That really is good news!
Other Spiders Guides
Curious about spiders related articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.