You have spiders in your house, everyone does.
If you or someone in your family suffers from arachnophobia, you are amongst the 50% of women and 10% of men who have a paralyzing fear of these usually harmless and often useful creatures. Even if the fear is not that strong, it is rare for anyone to want these eight-legged animals to take up residence in their home.
I am not going to try and convince you that spiders are your friends, you are reading this because you want to get rid of spiders in your house and not invite them round for dinner! Bearing this in mind, this short guide will take you through some of the background of why you have spiders in the first place before focussing on some very practical methods of how to get rid of the ones you already have (both actively and passively) and how to deter spiders from taking up residence in the future.
So, if you want to reclaim your home for you and your family and leave your house as spider free as possible read on.
Why is my house a haven for spiders?
Much like people, a spider needs food and shelter.
Spiders feed on insects and other spiders and, contrary to popular belief, don’t creep up on you in the night to take a bite. A place with an abundant food supply tends to have an abundant supply of predators, which in this case are spiders. Even with a glut of food, spiders still need somewhere to live. They usually prefer dark, undisturbed places to build their homes and webs as well as to lay their eggs for the next generation.
It is surprising to most people that, in general, spiders tend not to like houses as they are too dry and have too little food. There are obviously exceptions to this rule and a few species live nowhere else but human homes. For many, the spider issue only occurs at some points through the year. Winter is a quiet time as the cold tends to kill or force them into dormancy but there is often an influx of arachnids in autumn. This is most likely when the males that normally live outside become bolder as they start to search for a mate. They don’t set out to find a way in and torment you by their presence, they just randomly walk in through the cracks and crevices in your walls and floor whilst on the lookout for females.
This is all fascinating background material but let’s look at some practical ways to tackle your resident spider population.
How to get rid of spiders…prevention is better than cure!
You now know that spiders need food and undisturbed, dark crannies in which to make their homes and their future families. You will need to try and take that away from them! You wouldn’t live somewhere you didn’t have a house or a supermarket – and neither will they…
1 Tidy and Declutter. Spiders love hidden corners and nooks so try to eliminate as many of them as you can. As much as is possible (we aren’t looking to throw away all your possessions!), try to tidy up as much of your household clutter as possible, especially in the unused areas of the house where items are at floor or low level and pushed against a wall creating the ideal home for our eight-legged foes.
2 Spring Clean. Spiders eat insects and other spiders. If we deprive them of their food, they will likely move on and make home elsewhere. Find the most powerful vacuum you can and clean your house from top to bottom as regularly as possible. Use all the attachments to get into the corners, under skirting boards and behind all pieces of furniture. You will suck up some spiders, cobwebs, egg sacs and also insects and insect larvae – their food. Turn over your sofa and chairs and vacuum underneath as well as beneath the cushions. Clean up and keep clean the kitchen and anywhere you eat food as crumbs and other debris encourage insects, which subsequently encourages spiders. Remember to do your basement, garage and attic too if you can.
3 Seal Cracks. Keep new spiders from getting in by sealing up small cracks and openings in your walls and floors. This is clearly impractical in old buildings but in newer homes you can reduce the number of access points to a minimum fairly easily. Similarly, keep windows and doors closed or properly screened if at all possible.
4 Keep Walls Clear. Having plants climbing the walls around your windows or wood piles outside the back door has a certain visual charm, but provide the ideal habitats for a wide range of spider species. These are probably not trying to move in to your house as there is (after your cleaning) little food for them but they will inadvertently wander in from time to time if you are their immediate neighbor. Cut back the climbers and move the wood pile to the bottom of the garden to reduce the frequency of unwanted guests.
How to get rid of spiders…pro-active tools and techniques!
Once you’ve covered the basics of making your home less inviting to new spiders, you can start to deal with the ones you have and the odd walk-in that everyone gets.
There are four key techniques and tools that you need to have in your arsenal to keep your house as clear as possible of spiders.
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