Most spiders found in the house are not dangerous, but it is still preferable to keep them outside. Spiders are a great asset to the garden. Without spiders, we would be overrun by flies, various garden-eating insects, and other pests. |
No matter what we do to avoid spiders, we are bound to find an occasional spider trapped in the shower or bathtub, or lingering under the sink. Sometimes spiders get carried inside on clothing, pets, or in packaging materials.
If more than the occasional spider appears, it may be that your house has become an appealing habitat. Spiders like dusty, undisturbed quarters that seldom see a broom, dust mop or vacuum. The corners of ceilings and floors, underneath beds, behind furniture, the backs of closets, and rarely used cupboards are all prime areas for a spider to take up residence. Simply spraying these areas with insecticide will not provide a long-term solution and can create other potential problems.
The best way to keep spiders in the garden rather than the house is to make the house unappealing to spiders. Use a dust mop on ceiling corners and behind inner doors that are kept open, such as hallway and bedroom doors. Refrain from storing items under the bed or use plastic underbed storage containers that can easily slide out for an occasional vacuuming. Cardboard boxes attract spiders, so opt for plastic storage tubs from discount marts, excellent for storing virtually everything including clothes.
Undisturbed closets are a prime area for spiders, and the tendency to stockpile can make cleaning more difficult, causing it to be put off. Instead, donate old shoes and clothes to the Salvation Army or your favorite charity. Empty closets completely, give them a good cleaning, then dust off items before putting them back. Use a vacuum attachment to vacuum out the insides of shoes.
If there are toys in the closet, consider storing them in a plastic tub. This makes subsequent cleanings easier. Occasionally go through cupboards in the kitchen and bathroom to remove old items, and keep floors mopped. These steps will go a long way towards making your house unattractive to spiders.
Garages and sheds are also prime areas for spiders. The same basic rules apply. Don’t store unused items, and use plastic storage containers for items you do want to store. A leaf blower is a good cleaning tool for the shed and garage. Blow off shelves, blow out corners, and blow the floors clean. The more activity an area sees, the less likely it is to attract spiders.
When you come across a spider in your house, do your garden a favor and trap the spider in a glass or jar. Slide a letter or card under the jar to force the spider back into the glass, then lift the jar holding the card across the top as a lid. Take the spider outside and shake the jar out over a bush. White house spiders and other common varieties pose no threat.
That said, one potentially dangerous species that is sometimes found in homes is the brown recluse or fiddle-back spider. Many species look similar, but this spider features a dark brown or black “violin” shape on its back, giving it its name. These spiders often take up residence inside shoes that have not been recently worn. Consider storing seasonal shoes in a sealed plastic tub in the closet.
In the shed or garage one might also come across a black widow spider. Black widows are bulbous with a red hourglass design on the underside. To be safe avoid handling any spider directly, even when it does not appear to be a harmful species.
If bitten by a spider, call your local poison center or see your physician. When possible, bring the spider with you, even if mangled. In most cases, spider bites will heal on their own and pose no threat.
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