More species of spiders are native to Ohio than you might think, from the zebra jumper to the dreaded, venomous brown recluse. Especially in suburban and rural areas, spider sightings in your home can be unfortunately common.
Spiders are everywhere–only about 1 in 110 bedrooms and bathrooms are completely spider-free. House spiders make themselves at home in basements, attics, closets, and crawl spaces, but you might see them out and about just about anywhere in your house. And the only thing creepier than finding a spider or spider webs in your home is a full-blown spider infestation.
Regardless of their undeniable benefits for your local ecosystem, arachnophobes and nature buffs alike surely agree that a house full of spiders is a nuisance at best and a nightmare at worst (not to mention spider bites can be dangerous). If you’ve got a severe spider problem on your hands, it might be time to hire a pest control professional to handle it. But in the meantime, there are some steps you can take yourself to ward off those creepy crawlers.
- Spiders can enter your home through doors, windows, cracks, and crevices.
- A dirty or cluttered home is attractive to spiders looking for food, water, or a place to nest.
- A home that attracts other insects will in turn attract spiders looking for prey.
- A cozy home (warm in the winter, cool in the summer) is a draw for spiders seeking the same comforts you are.
- During mating or nesting seasons (especially September and October), spiders may seek a safe place to mate or lay their eggs in your house.
- Stowaway spiders may enter your home by clinging to clothing, outdoor gear, or secondhand items.
They Found a Not-So-Secret Passageway
If you’ve noticed one too many spiders in your home in recent weeks, it’s likely that they’ve found a secret (or not-so-secret) passageway inside. Spiders can squeeze through just about any crack or hole, and they won’t hesitate to do it if it means access to shelter.
If there are any cracks or holes in your walls, door and window screens, or piping, or if you’ve left a door or window open, you may have unknowingly created entry points and hiding places for spiders.
Air vents, plumbing lines, and cables are all fair game as well. Be sure to seal any open cracks or crevices you can find with spackle or caulk, and try to be more mindful about keeping doors and windows closed. The easiest way to prevent spiders from taking over your home is to shut the “door!”
Like most household pests, spiders are attracted to dirt, dust, and general household clutter. A dirty home means more opportunities to scavenge for food and water, plus more dusty corners to burrow and lay eggs.
Naturally creatures of the forest, spiders love dark, damp places. If you’ve noticed a few spiders in your home, it’s crucial to stick to a cleaning schedule. Sweep, mop, and vacuum your floors, and wipe down any surfaces like countertops regularly.
It’s paramount to keep your kitchen clean–don’t leave any food sources out (leftovers, crumbs, or even residue from spills). Avoid stagnant piles of clutter that might become homes for spiders (or places for them to lay eggs). The cleaner you can keep your home, the less likely spiders are to find it hospitable.
Your House Has Become an Insect Buffet
Along the same lines, if your home has become a hospitable place for other insects, spiders will naturally be drawn to it (as they prey on other bugs). Spiders will eat almost any insect of the right size: flies, mosquitoes, moths, and sometimes even other spiders and arthropods (like centipedes and millipedes). This is another reason to keep your home squeaky clean and to avoid attracting any insects that would in turn draw spiders.
For instance, centipedes are attracted to warmth, moisture, and humidity, so it’s essential to keep your home cool and ventilated and to close your drains when they’re not in use. Take extra care to seal produce in airtight containers so as not to attract fruit flies. Keep your clothes clean and packed away to prevent a moth infestation.
Your Home’s Cozy
Unfortunately, spiders are simply seeking many of the same comforts you are when they invade your home. A heated house in the winter or an air-conditioned one in the summer is a massive draw for spiders. There’s not much you can do about this short of sealing any potential entryways and being extra cautious about bugs during seasons of extreme weather.
It’s Mating Season
Spiders mate in early autumn, so if you’re noticing the onset of a spider infestation around the autumn equinox, mating season may be the explanation. Spiders leave their webs in September and October to seek out safe, dry spaces to mate. Once a spider lays her eggs, she’ll again be in search of a safe place to nest.
Female spiders store sperm in their ovaries and can decide when to fertilize their own eggs. Often, spiders will carry eggs in an egg sac over the winter, waiting until the more temperate spring to allow their spiderlings to emerge. Once the eggs are laid, they take about 2-3 weeks to hatch.
For this reason, it’s important to be extra cautious about preventing spiders in your home in early fall, and somewhat cautious in early spring as well. Allowing spiders into your home during mating and nesting seasons is one of the easiest ways to create an infestation (as spiders during these times are in the business of attracting and creating more spiders)!
You Brought in a Stowaway
If you’re noticing a spike in spider sightings around your home, it’s possible that you unknowingly brought a stowaway inside. Be careful to inspect any clothes you’ve worn outdoors for long periods of time (i.e., hiking), as well as camping gear and outdoor furniture before bringing it into your home.
Spiders are known to hitch rides on outdoor clothing and gear and make themselves at home inside. Also be cautious with any items you buy secondhand—spiders may be living inside or have laid eggs inside (as these antique items may have been safe, dry, and untouched before you purchased them).