The fear of spiders is so common that most people know the scientific name for it: arachnophobia. And millions of people throughout the world suffer from panic attacks when they see the little eight-legged insects. But the widespread dislike of spiders is undeserved. Spiders rarely bite people (except for black widow and brown recluse spiders) and they are beneficial to the environment. Spiders feed on flies, mites, mosquitos, and other insects to help reduce the number of pests found around in woodlands, fields, and gardens.
That being said, no one wants spider webs in their home. They are unsightly, collect dust, and harbor spider eggs waiting to hatch. By keeping your home sparkling clean, you’ll also likely avoid other pests that spiders like to feed on. Regular dusting will help identify webs, hopefully before eggs have had time to hatch.
Fortunately, it’s easy to deal with spider webs in the house using what experts call integrated pest management (IPM). This includes steps for preventing spider invasions, excluding them from the home, and reducing their local populations.
- Keep it clean: If spiders are numerous in your home, they are attracted to insects that serve as their food source. If your home has houseflies, fruit flies, moths, or other bugs, it’s time to make some adjustments. Start by repairing window screens and thoroughly clean the kitchen to eliminate grease, crumbs, and other food sources that attract bugs.
- Catch and release: Some people just whack spiders with a flip flop or fly swatter, but this is unnecessary. When you spot beneficial insects in my home, I trap them under a small glass (being careful not to break off any of their legs). I slide an envelope between the spider and the wall and release the critter in the back yard.
- Wipe away the web: Unless it’s Halloween, you don’t want cobwebs or spider webs in your house. Use a broom or vacuum to bring down the webs. Make sure to flush egg sacs found in webs down the drain.
- Outdoor actions: Spiders are prone to weave webs in the clutter around your home’s outer walls and foundation. Remove piles of firewood, bricks, and other debris. Trim back shrubs that are in direct contact with your house and reduce outdoor lighting which attracts moths and other spider prey. While you’re out there, make sure your window screens are tightly fitted and in good repair. Seal cracks around the foundation where spiders can wander into your home.