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Spiders in the House

A Fine Mess

Spiders tend to be more problematic in homes sited in wooded areas or that have naturalized landscaping, which are both ideal spider habitats.

A beneficial predator, spiders are some of the most feared household intruders, primarily due to such notorious species as the brown recluse and the black widow. While it's true that bites from these spiders can cause serious problems, most spiders, even ones that bite, are harmless.

Most spiders are accidental invaders that enter your home through cracks around doors, windows, or other openings. They play a big role in keeping flies, crickets,mites, and other pesky insects in check.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Controls

The following are effective IPM controls for spiders:

  • Dust and/or vacuum areas where spiders like to hang out, such as the corners of walls and structural timber in basements and crawl spaces, on a regular basis. This will remove webs and egg sacs. Outdoors, knock down webs with a broom or spray with a hose.

  • Capture and release. One way is to trap the spider under a cup, then slide apiece of paper under the spider. Release outdoors.

  • Eliminate other household pests such as ants, cockroaches, and flies. They're all spider bait.

  • Keep leaf debris and vegetation away from the foundation as much as possible.

  • Eliminate indoor clutter. Doing so gives spiders fewer places to hide out.

Peaceful coexistence with spiders also means avoiding situations where you could get bitten. Wear gloves when handling firewood and lumber. Shake out shoes and clothing before donning. Inspect towels and bedding before use. Be careful when opening cardboard boxes—a favorite spider hideout—especially boxes stored under beds.(Better yet, don't store them there.) Don't handle spiders with your bare hands.

Chemical Controls

Chemical control is not recommended due to the beneficial aspects of these bugs. If necessary, individual spiders can be controlled with nonresidual aerosol sprays containing pyretherin, resmethrin, or sumithrin. Dust formulations can be used in crawl spaces or to treat cracks and crevices.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Common Household Disasters © 2005 by Paul Hayman and Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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