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Spiders give almost everyone the creeps. Spotting an eight-legged creature crawling around your house is enough to make some people panic and reach for the Raid. But while many people feel uncomfortable around spiders, almost all North American spiders are harmless. The only poisonous spiders that can hurt humans or pets with their bite are the brown recluse and the black widow—they make up less than 1% of the spider population.
Unlike some pests like fleas, moths, or termites, spiders will not bite unless threatened, they will not contaminate your food, and they won’t damage your house. In fact, spiders in your house can be beneficial—they help eat other pests like roaches, flies, and moths that can be more of a nuisance.
Spiders are solitary creatures, and one spider does not indicate an infestation. For these reasons, some people choose to either let spiders live in their houses or just trap them with a cup or broom and move them outside when they see them.
However, if spiders become an infestation—or if your house is playing host to dangerous spiders—you may choose to eradicate them.
Spiders like houses for the same reasons people do—they are warm and sheltered from the elements. To keep them outside where they belong, try these prevention tips:
If you want to avoid chemical sprays in your home, but still want to effectively get rid of spiders, there are several natural options to try.
To kill spiders naturally before they enter your house, sprinkle diatomaceous earth in places where you suspect spiders might be entering. Diatomaceous earth is a soft sedimentary rock made up of fossilized remains of diatoms. It comes as a fine powder and is non-toxic to humans and pets. However, when a spider walks over diatomaceous earth, it covers its sticky body and dehydrates it, eventually killing it.
To kill spiders on the spot naturally, spray them with water mixed with a few drops of lavender, citronella, cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, or tea tree oil. Once you have sprayed all the spiders you can find, vacuum up any webs or egg sacks they have left behind. An egg sack can hatch and the babies can survive without the mother spider, so it is important to be sure they are disposed of. Empty the vacuum immediately.
Another way to kill spiders naturally is to catch them with sticky traps. You can purchase sticky traps at a hardware store or make homemade sticky traps yourself. To make homemade sticky traps boil equal parts water and corn syrup together and spread the mixture on index cards. Set the traps around your home where spiders live. Keep in mind that many common house spiders don’t spend much time moving around or on the ground—they usually live on the ceiling or in corners—so the traps will only be helpful if you have a large infestation.
It is not recommended that anyone use a chemical insecticide to kill spiders. Spiders are usually harmless and removing them can easily be done by hand or with a vacuum. Releasing chemicals into your home to kill spiders is usually more dangerous than the spiders themselves.
However, if the infestation is beyond the point of relocating or killing individual spiders on the spot, you can spray a residual insecticide treatment such as D-fense SC around the perimeter of your house. Inside your house, use an insecticide aerosol like Zenprox Aerosol and spray it around all baseboards, windows and corners. Always keep children and pets away from chemical insecticides and areas where they have been sprayed.
If you’d rather leave the insecticides to the professionals, most pest control companies offer safe treatments that can rid your home of spiders. A trained technician may also be the right call if you’re seeing a large number of spiders or if the type of spider is dangerous.
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