If you want to scare a child, have him or her watch a creepy spider movie. Even adults can get chills when seeing a big, hairy spider. Most horror and sci-fi shows would show biologically enhanced killer spiders attacking humans and cities. In reality, spiders can be both dangerous and beneficial. Urban areas do not encounter a large spider infestation unless abandoned. There are many ways on how to get rid of spiders in the house. Before trying to get rid of spiders, make sure you know what you are dealing with. Spiders can get rid of other pesky insects in your house so make sure you know which ones are threats.
Spider Life Cycle
Spider belongs to the class of Arachnids. They have eight legs and mouthpart called chelicerae which injects the venom to their prey. There are spiders worldwide and have at least 109 families identified by taxonomists. Antarctica is the only known continent with no registered spider on site.
Female spiders would lay their eggs in an egg sac. You can distinguish the type of spider based on how their egg sac would look like. These eggs would only take a few weeks to develop and hatch. Once hatch, spiderlings would disperse. Some would follow the process of ballooning in which the spiderling would climb up a grass blade or branch to be release a wisp of silk. The wind will pick up the silk and carry the spider across. Spiderlings can be carried within few feet to hundreds of miles. Therefore, spiders can colonize a remote area without prior generations. Spiderlings molt to reach their adult phase. Some spiders molt throughout their lives. Both male and female spiders have spinnerets that are responsible for their web spinning.
Female spiders are fertilized when male spiders deposit into the female’s reproductive opening. Male spiders release their sperm in a sperm web and hold it in their palps before depositing to the female spider. Male courtship varies across species. Courtship rituals exist to avoid being eaten by the females. Once sperm has been deposited, eggs are fertilized in just a few weeks then laid into the egg sacs. The amount of egg sacs laid by the female spider depends on their species.
Common House Spiders
While there are numerous spiders found across the globe, only a few would be found in urban setting. However, note that spiders are resilient and adaptable so they can thrive once introduced to a certain environment. Here are the common reported spiders found in houses.
Brown Recluse Spider
One of the most common spiders found in American homes is the brown recluse spider. It is also known as the violin spider because of its distinguishing mark shaped like a violin on its neck. This spider can be between 6-20 mm in size, but may also be bigger. Other names of the brown recluse spider include fiddleback spider or brown fiddler. Another distinguishing feature of this spider is having six eyes arranged in pairs compared to most spiders with eight eyes. There will appear to be soft fur if you magnify their abdomens that are covered with fine short hairs.
The brown recluse spider is considered as one of the dangerous spiders in the United States. They are native to southern states such as central Texas and western Georgia. They are also known to be inhabitants in southeastern Nebraska. They build irregular webs as habitat. Their webs can be found in closets, garages, woodpiles, and sheds. They prefer dry and undisturbed places. Therefore, there have been encounters with the brown recluse spider in stocked shoes and stored clothes. Even bed sheets of unused beds can be inhabited by these spiders. These spiders are nocturnal hunters. Their diet consists of crickets, cockroaches, ants, and other soft-bodied insects. Make sure you avoid being infested by these spiders. There had been a case back in 2001 where one Kansas home has spider infestation of 2,000 brown recluse spiders. Imagine seeing all those spiders during spider extermination.
These spiders can bite you however they are rarely aggressive. They have tiny fangs which cannot penetrate majority of human fabric. Cases of spider bites from the brown recluse spider are reported when wearing clothes that have been left on the floor for days. However, a brown recluse spider bite can be painful and lead to life-threatening complications. It has hemotoxic venom that can be fatal. Some bites have shown to lead to skin necrosis and some rare cases had lead to bursting of red blood cells. Most bites would not show symptoms but will become painful and itchy within the next 2 to 8 hours. It is important to have this diagnosed as 80% of reported brown recluse bites have been misdiagnosed. Better if you are able to capture the spider for identification.
Brown Widow Spider
The brown widow spider also goes by grey widow, house button spider or geometric button spider. It is considered as a “cousin” of the infamous black widow as they share the same genus. They are originally from South Africa but had been found in many areas in the United States since 1935. They have lighter color compared to the black widow species. Their color can be from tan to dark brown and has a distinguishing glass-shaped marking on their abdomen. The hourglass would usually be vivid orange or yellow. Their legs are usually stripe. Brown widow spiders would usually measure around 38mm.
Egg sacs of brown widows can easily be found and identified. These sacs appear to be tan and spiked. These eggs would hatch within 20 days and has around 120-150 eggs. A female brown widow can produce 20 egg sacs in her lifetime.
The brown widow spider can be considered as an urban dweller. You can find them living in wood piles, storage sheds, cabinets, furniture, and even abandoned vehicles. They can also be found hiding behind your window shutters and inside your shoes.
The venom of brown widows is comparable to the black widow but brown widow bites are not as dangerous as that of a black widow. Brown widow bites do not deliver as much venom as the black widow. They prey on flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, caterpillars, centipedes, beetles, and other spiders. Brown widow spider bites can be removed from your system naturally without having serious effect. However, it can be more critical for infants and older adults. There can be numbing and abdominal muscle cramps within 24 hours.
Next to the brown recluse spider, the black widow can be a threat to your area. The term black widow refers to several spiders known to devour the male of the species after copulation. Compared to the brown widow spiders, black widows have red hourglass-shaped mark on their abdomen.
A black widow’s bite can cause muscle aches, nausea, and difficulty in breathing. However, black widow bites are not fatal to humans. Black widows will suspend a spun cocoon that contains hundreds of eggs. Spiderlings will leave the cocoon but the web will remain. The spun web is also used to catch their prey such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles and flies.
The Hobo Spider is not a native of America but had been introduced through transportation from Europe. They have V-shaped patterns on their abdomen and a light stripe running down the middle of their sternum. These spiders are known to create funnel-shaped webs. They hunt for their prey by staying at the small end of the funnel and wait for insects to enter. The hobo spider would usually run away at the sight of humans but can be aggressive when their egg sacs are threatened. They are considered as a dangerous species based on their venom. Some bites attributed to brown recluse spiders are actually caused by hobo spiders. They are both known to cause necrosis in humans but more confirmed cases are needed for scientific study.
American Grass Spider
The American grass spiders build non-sticky webs with funnel shelter at one edge. They are relatively rapid spiders that make up for their non-sticky webs. The American grass spiders have eights eyes arranged in three rows. These spiders produce agatoxins that leads to rapid paralysis on their prey when bitten. However, their mouthparts are too small to insert venom in a human skin.
Spider Control Methods
Getting rid of spiders can be a tricky task. It can also be a scary one. Before considering different ways to get rid of spiders, make sure you take action in keeping spiders away in the first place. Here are the different methods on how to get rid of spiders in your house.
So, how to repel spiders? There are many natural spider repellents you can use for your house. These repellents can be purchased in your local supermarket. Spiders taste through their feet so having natural repellents in your surfaces would drive them away.
Peppermint is a natural spider repellent. Make your own peppermint solution at home to spray around your house. Get some peppermint essential oil then place some drops on a liter of water. Place the solution in a spray bottle. You can spray the mixture in your doors and windows. Spray it on any surface you think spiders will be crawling around. Not only does it repel spiders, it also gives your house a nice scent.
Similarly, having a eucalyptus plant can guard your house from spiders. Consider placing the plant around your house, especially in your kitchen. You can also purchase eucalyptus oil for your rooms. Some room sprays now come in peppermint or eucalyptus scent. Just make sure you don’t purchase products made of synthetic oils as this will have no effect on spiders.
If you do not like the peppermint smell, consider citrus fruits. Purchase citrus oils such as lemon, lime, and orange. Make the same mixture of oil and water in your spray bottle.
Another natural repellent is the combination of a coconut oil and vinegar. However, be careful as this mixture can cause stain in your countertops and spots in your upholstery. Make sure you use white vinegar. You can spray this mixture in hidden areas around the house or in abandoned places around your yard.
If you prefer to spice things up, then get a half cup of vinegar and two tablespoons of chili powder of hot chili sauce. Mix this with a liter of water to have a spicy solution. Shake well before spraying. Spray the blend in all visible webs and undisturbed places. This will avoid spiders from building their webs. Just protect your eyes when spraying this mixture.
Whatever natural spider spray you chose, remember to re-apply every week. You can incorporate this process in your usual cleaning habits. Focus on hidden areas. Include your storage boxes and packed clothes.
If you want some useful decorative items, consider placing a basket of chestnuts around your place. Chestnuts have been known to be an excellent natural spider repellent. You can also toss a couple in your attics or storage sheds. Cedar chips have a similar effect also.
If you’ve spotted one or two creepy crawlers inside your house, start installing spider traps. A spider trap is most useful for people who are scared of spiders.
If you want your spider trap to be a natural spider killer, then use sticky glue traps. You can purchase ready-made sticky glue traps. You can also make your own by buying the glue and using cardboard as your base. Consider adding some peanut butter on the side of the trap to attract spiders quickly. Spider traps have been effective in getting rid of brown recluse spiders and other common house spiders. It is also used to identify the type of spider inhabiting your house. This is important if you want further spider extermination.
Place your traps along walls or under your furniture. You can also place them under cabinets and chairs. Spider traps tend to trick spiders into a false hiding place. Most spider traps are safe for children and pets. Make sure there are no harsh chemicals in the glue used to avoid poisoning your pets unintentionally. Spider traps are relatively cheap and can be used all over your house.
Before using any chemical spider spray, make sure it is not toxic to your children and pets. Most chemicals may not be harmful for your kids but can cause irritation to certain animals. The first rule would be reading the labels before purchasing any spider spray.
So, how to kill spiders with a spider spray? A spider killer spray may be composed of synthetic pyrethrin ingredients that will act as neurotoxins. It can be mineral oil based that offers a residual effect in killing those spiders. Some can be effective for up to 12 weeks. All you need is to spray the chemical on the webs and potential spider habitats.
Some spider sprays also have dual purpose. They will not only get kill spiders but also other pests such as scorpions or mosquitoes. These types can be more expensive than your average spider killer spray. However, most spider sprays will only cost you a couple of dollars.
If we do not want a future of spider killers, do we know what kills spiders? In ecology, there are certain birds and wasps that feed on spider. Some small mammals are also known to eat spiders as part of their diet.
Most natural spider repellents are also natural spider killers. Even soap mixed with essential oils can be used as a spider killer spray. But if you want to be sure, you can purchase a commercially-made spider killer in the market. There are different brands to choose from depending on your budget and needs.
For example, there are mixtures that can be used like a regular cleanser for your house. Just apply the concentration to your cracks, doors, entry points and window pains to kill any spider attempting to enter your house. Some concentration can only be used for indoor or outdoor so check the label. You can check the available brands in Amazon and check out the reviews.
The only time to call an exterminator is when the spiders have completely occupied a part of your house. This will only happen if you have not taken any measure to stop their reproduction. Make sure you regularly clean every part of your house. Get rid of wood piles and unused cardboard boxes. Make your house unattractive to spiders. Think that they are more afraid of you than you are of them.
Another pest that may be infesting your home is the spider mite. These are technically not spiders but do belong to the same class of arachnids. Spider mites got their name by their ability to spin silk webs for protection. They feed various species of plants by puncturing the plant cells. This causes damage on the plants.
Spider mites are really small. They are less than 1mm and have different colors. Female spider mites can lay 20 eggs per day. They would live for up to 4 weeks resulting to hundreds of eggs. One single mature female in your place can lead to million spider mites in just a month. Spider mites would attack the underside of leaves. An obvious sign of infestation would be finding holes through the leaves. Leaves may also have distortion, spotting, discoloration and wilting. Leaves may also start to fall off. Check for webbings around the stems and leaves.
Since spider mites are really tiny, you would need a magnifying lens to spot them. Try shaking your plants into a white paper. If you see red, yellow, brown, or green specks then your plants are infested by spider mites. It is time to take spider mite control.
Spider Mites Control
Spider mites control is as important as spider extermination. As they can grow exponentially, make sure you are able to keep everything under control. Before getting chemical insecticides, consider some natural ways to control spider mites in your garden. This can be most crucial for greenhouse owners and crop farmers. Spider mite infestation can decrease the economic value of any harvest. Here are some ways on how to kills spider mites.
a. If you have houseplants, you can wet a sponge and wipe each leaf to remove the spider mites. You can also wipe the stems to make sure no eggs are left in your plants.
b. For your garden plants, you can use a spray nozzle on your garden hose. The high-pressure stream of water will remove the spider mites from the leaves.
c. Get rid of heavily infested leaves. Remember these spider mites can spread through your whole garden. If a plant is completely infested, just get rid of the entire plant. Better to remove one plant than have your whole garden die.
d. Rosemary oil is a natural spider mite repellent. Combine water and rosemary oil then place in a spray bottle for small plants.
e. Make sure your plants are healthy. Unhealthy plants are more susceptible to spider mites. Dry environment can cause your spider mites to be hungrier than usual. This can cause more damage to your plants. Water your plants regularly.
f. You can insert natural predators of spider mites in your garden. You can commercially purchase ladybugs and predatory mites. These insects will not damage your plants and get rid of those pesky spider mites.
Spider mites are more damaging than spiders in the long run. Spider mites damage crops and plants. They can destroy your precious roses. They can make your garden unappealing. On the other hand, spiders have been beneficial for humans in the textile and medical industry. Their silk has contributed to the world of fashion. Their venom has been studied by scientists to create cures.
You definitely do not want spiders crawling all over you and spider mites feeding on your plants. Keep your house and family safe from these creepy crawlers by avoiding them early on. No need to wait until they are unwelcomed guests in your backyard.