Understanding and Controlling Spiders
Spiders are helpful outdoors because they eat many insect pests. Some spiders use webs to catch their prey, others chase and capture it. Most spiders are shy and harmless to humans. Although all spiders have venom, most cannot bite through human skin. However, a few can deliver very painful, poisonous bites, usually when cornered or agitated. If someone has been bitten by a spider, keep the person calm and contact the Poison Control center at 1-800-222-1222. If you would like help identifying the spiders in or around your home, you may consider contacting your local Cooperative Extension Service.
Tips for controlling spiders:
Outside the home:
- Clean up wood piles and other debris that can create hiding places attractive to spiders.
- Keep shrubs and other items far enough from your home to allow sun and air to penetrate the space between the plants and the house.
- Remove webs from patio furniture, decks, and other items in your yard.
- Insect prey will attract spiders. Use yellow or sodium vapor bulbs for outdoor lighting to reduce the lights' attractiveness to insects.
- In the garden, spiders may be helpful in controlling plant-eating pests. Most spiders do not damage garden plants. Spraying plants with water from a hose is often sufficient to remove spiders from plants prior to harvest.
Inside the home:
- Avoid clutter and control humidity in attics, basements, and other dark areas. Seal stored boxes with tape.
- Vacuum up spiders, egg cases, and webs if you find them inside.
- Spiders typically enter homes through cracks and crevices around the foundation, or doors and windows. Seal or caulk these areas and make sure windows and doors fit tightly.
- Residual pesticides indoors may help control other pests that spiders eat, but they may not provide long-term spider control.
- Read the resources below to learn more about controlling spiders.
Information on Specific Spiders:
Black Widow Spiders
- Black Widow Spider - Ohio State University
- Black Widow and Other Widow Spiders - University of California Statewide IPM Program
- Widow Spiders - Virginia Cooperative Extension
Brown Recluse Spiders:
- Brown Recluse Spider - University of Kentucky
- Brown Recluse Spider - Ohio State University
- Brown Recluse and Other Recluse Spiders - University of California Statewide IPM Program
- Hobo Spiders - Utah State University
- Hobo Spider - University of California Statewide IPM Program
- Hobo Spiders Search for Mates in the Fall - Oregon State University
If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Pests of Homes, Structures, People, and Pets - University of California Statewide IPM Program
- Spiders In and Around the House - Ohio State University
- Spider Identification - Montana Field Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions About Spiders - Washington State University
- IPM for Spiders in Schools - University of Florida
- Spiders, The Helpful Hunters - Marin County Department of Agriculture