How to keep spiders away

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    Just wondering what remedies people have for keeping spiders out of their homes.. It’s officially feeling like summer and last night I saw a huge spider in the hallway of our apartment complex and I’m wondering what to do to try and possibly keep them out of my apartment. Someone told me they heard spiders don’t like mint sprays, but who knows if that’s true. Any ideas/recommendations?



    The glue board spider traps are the most effective things I use. Sprays and chemicals work okay but nothing gets rid of them like the boards. I have them in pretty much every corner of every room in our house and change them out monthly.


    Might I suggest an alternative?

    Do nothing.

    Relocate them outside, if absolutely necessary. But avoid traps and sprays which kill them.

    We don’t have any species of spiders here which are remotely dangerous. Even recent research regarding the hobo spider seems to indicate that it is relatively harmless.

    Spiders eat a lot of the pests that come out during the warmer months. Think of them as your anti-insect bodyguards; your very own Secret Service protecting you from mosquitoes which could potentially the carry West Nile virus!



    Spiders do not like lemon juice. If you relocate them there not likely to come back



    They are SO totally dangerous! Consider this common scenario in my house:

    1. Wife sees spider in her bedroom

    2. Wife screams and runs wildly away

    3. Wife trips and falls down/up/near/into stairs

    4. Wife beats husband with lead pipe for allowing spider into her home.

    Total lose-lose scenario.

    Sorry, Spider. Outside is yours, inside is mine.



    Most house spiders are harmless and generally beneficial. But if you don’t want them crawling around in your house you may as well just kill them as you’re not doing them any favors by “relocating them outside.”

    It is a myth that the arachnids you find inside your house crawled in from outside. They most likely hatched inside your house from eggs that were attached to furniture or building materials, etc. In fact, most of the spider varieties you find inside are well-adapted to life indoors (sparse water and food supplies, relatively stable temperature) and don’t survive for very long outside.

    This link from the Burke museum has some excellent information about spiders (and spider myths):



    Militant Moderate is totally correct. In addition, spiders are like many other so-called “pests” in that they will immediately fill a vacuum. Killing them is like hanging out a big vacancy sign. Pest control companies make a bundle off of this type of paranoia, even though they know full well that there is no effective deterrent.

    Many spider species are mating now, and the ones you see are probably males in search of a mate. Nothing more sinister than that. I’ve heard from a reasonably reliable source (an arachnologist) that rubbing alcohol wiped around entry points may deter spiders – but I wouldn’t count on it.

    I just wish they’d eat more of the clothes moths taking over my house. I may need to bring extra spiders inside! Pholcus phalangiodes are good ones for unobtrusive ‘house cleaning’…


    “Most house spiders are harmless and generally beneficial.”

    There’s no “most” or “generally” to it. In the Seattle area, ALL house spiders are harmless and are ALWAYS beneficial.

    And while putting a house spider outside might more than likely kill them (if it’s indeed one of the gazillion species of house spiders, not one of gazillion other non-house spiders that wander in accidentally (Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places…), and we’re still talking about this time of the year where high temps are in the 70s and lows in the 50s), killing them will certainly result the spider’s death.

    There’s a lot of paranoia about spiders overall. About 15 years ago when I lived down South, I was bitten by an adolescent black widow. We’ve all heard how horrible black widows are, right? Well, it was nothing compared to a wasp or bee sting.

    And on top of that, it was kinda my own fault. I was washing the car one afternoon without a shirt, felt something crawling on my chest, immediately thought ‘gnat’ or ‘mosquito’, swatted it against my chest without looking, and she reflexively bit me.

    My point is that even the most badass of American spiders (which aren’t in Seattle) aren’t all that badass.



    Reread Charlotte’s Web. Also, if you have just a couple spiders in your house, 1. Name it (Webster is a decent name) 2. Watch it spin its web and capture the bad guys 3. If there’s a spider a-spinning on your bedroom ceiling, don’t sleep with your mouth open



    The term “house spider” could probably use some clarification. I also doubt that most people finding a spider in their home could identify it accurately enough to know the difference.

    Your house (all houses) are full of spiders, but lots of them aren’t sharing your actual living space. They’re inside walls, attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Many (like Tegenaria agrestis, the Hobo spider) are outdoor spiders that have adapted to live on houses (not in them) – generally under siding and around plants near the foundation. Many spiders (like some ants) accidentally find their way inside for just this reason – they just took a wrong turn and ended up in your kitchen. Putting out a “house spider” during mild weather will not kill it. They’ll just make their way back toward their preferred environment as quickly as possible. Spiders are highly adaptable.

    Jeannie, I like your approach!






    Gina, so true!

    I rarely find spiders in my house any more, but I do occasionally hear the cat making munching sounds.



    Would love it if my cats ate spiders. Best they’ll do is watch/follow them, which at least gets my attention and a slipper in hand. I’m so getting those glue boards! I’m sure that there are more than enough hidden spiders in my house to offset the few that make the mistake of being seen and killed.



    Militant Moderate:

    Venomous Black Widow and Yellow Sac spiders (among others) can be found in Western Washington and occasionally find their way inside. So all spiders you might encounter in your house are not harmless.



    Just to make you all shudder, I found a live black widow spider in a bunch of grapes I had been snacking on for quite a while one afternoon (they were sitting in a colander in my sink after being rinsed fresh from the store and I would grab a couple when I would walk by while doing chores). I still have trouble buying grapes after that incident! The big house spiders don’t bug me too much. I generally leave them alone unless I find one crawling on me. Then all bets are off, lol. Lizard brain takes over.



    Re: Yellow Sac spiders

    “A review of the international literature on 39 verified Cheiracanthium bites found only one case of mild necrosis in the European species C. punctorium.”

    And the only way someone’s going to find a black widow in the Seattle area is if it’s hitchhiking in produce or moving boxes from outside the region.

    What we do have here is members of the genus Steatoda, aka “False widows”, which can look a lot like the true widow spiders of genus Latrodectus. False widows do not have the distinctive ventral hour glass design, and … hold onto your hat … False widows will prey on true widows! As will cellar spiders (daddy long-legs).

    True fact: Some spiders are accomplished musicians …



    MM: Aren’t Salticids awesome?! Are you familiar with the genus Portia? So cool to meet someone on WSB who knows their spiders…!

    BTW, there is a small colony of Latrodectus on Whidbey Island, but none in the rest of Western Washington that I’m aware of. In the case of Cheiracantheum (a small, booger-colored spider with a dark clypeus) I suspect that the severity of bites has to do with individual sensitivity – just as with bee or wasp stings.


    anonyme – Jumping spiders are my spirit animal! ;)

    You might appreciate this …

    …I enjoyed the little guy in the bottom video chasing the laser pointer.

    Thanks for the heads up about the widows of Whidbey. I don’t know for certain, but as climate change continues, it seems likely that critters like these and recluses would also expand their territories up this way.

    kayo: That would freak me out also. There have been several press accounts of finding black widows in produce, so I’m wondering exactly how common this … ummmmm … SURPRISE is.

    I’m not scared of spiders, but I am scared of surprises. Widows and recluses try to avoid us; the problem is that they’re lousy guessers as to where a human might go. And, if they don’t think running is an option, that’s when a bite might occur. Not a big deal … unless a person has a sensitivity.

    Currently trying to talk the missus into letting me get a couple of tarantulas again. I used to have a Rosie years ago and daily visits to /r/Tarantulas has gotten me hooked again.



    MM, I used to raise them. Had 600 at one time (mostly baby curlies) as well as some widows, etc. Eventually I donated all of them to Sam Marshall, the tarantula professor/author.

    I suspect the Whidbey colony may be located in that microclimate on the west side, where you can also find cacti.



    According to the Washington State Department of Heath, Black Widow spiders CAN be found in Western Washington. Not just lookalikes:



    As I stated, there is a colony on Whidbey Island. Black widows are extremely rare in Western Washington.

    Medical professionals are notoriously ignorant about spiders and spider bites, as is evident on the link provided above. The photos are highly questionable for the species they supposedly represent, for one thing. (I’m going to check my reference material on the eye pattern for Cheiracantheum; I don’t see a dark clypeus in the photo provided, which is diagnostic.) For another, they parrot the common (but erroneous) so-called, other common name for the Hobo spider (T. agrestis) as “the Aggressive House Spider”, misinterpreting the word “agrestis” as “aggressive”. The word agrestis refers to agriculture; this was once a rural species, now urbanized. You’d think a supposedly authoritative website would check their facts a little more carefully.



    I’d like to underscore kayo’s comment that non-native spiders and other bugs can be brought into your house in fresh fruit and veggies, esp. things shipped from the southern US and Central and South America. They may be dormant from cold storage but may come alive as they warm up.

    Check your fruit, people! (miws, an appropriate meme, please …)



    I’ve even heard of Brazilian Wandering Spiders coming in on produce. Now THAT is a scary spider!



    I apologize for my previous statement. I had never seen the Whidbey Island info posted previously and it hadn’t come up on my searches.

    Still, these spiders are nothing to fret over. Obviously, someone can have a horrible reaction to a bite, and that could be very bad news for them. The same could be said for folks with peanut, shellfish, and other food allergies. But the vast majority of us, we’ll be fine.

    As I said previously, my experience was that wasp and bee stings hurt more. And horseflies. I HATE those guys! Latrodectus ain’t the boogeymen (boogeywomen?) that they’re made out to be.

    Widow spiders and recluses will not typically go on the offensive unless that’s their only option. When I got bit, it was a reflexive reaction to being swatted and crushed.

    And they hate that, as you can imagine.

    Online, you can find people who keep them, and YouTube has several videos of folks handling widows (and recluses) and letting them crawl over their hands and arms.

    (Not my idea of a fun-filled Friday night, but these videos do give you a sense of how docile these things really are.)



    whatever you do, DO NOT try to give your Brazilian Wandering Spider a bikini wax to make it feel at home; that should be left to professionals!

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