How can I get a wolf spider out of my bathroom?
January 27, 2011 3:26 AM   Subscribe

How can I get a wolf spider out of my bathroom?

Normally I'm pretty laissez-faire about spiders because they generally keep to themselves, and as long as they're not redbacks or funnelwebs they can't do a whole lot of harm.

But there's a wolf spider in the bathroom now, and as their venom can supposedly kill a large dog within a few hours, it's not such a great mix with a baby in the house.

I tried to catch him under a jar, but he's really damn fast & now he's hanging out in a corner by the ceiling, out of reach.

Is there any handy way to encourage him to go back outside?
posted by UbuRoivas to Pets & Animals (33 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Saucepan with a long handle. Slide him down the wall. Then find something thin and flat and resonably rigid (I think we used a piece of cardboard), and slide that between the saucepan and the wall.

Then take saucepan and cardboard far away from house, tip sideways, and run away like a girl. Remember to take a torch to check that the spider has left the saucepan.

Good luck. Getting goosebumps just thinking about it.
posted by kjs4 at 3:49 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't kill spiders. Ever. I kill wolf spiders. When I lived in East Texas, we would regularly have 2-3 of them in our house. If I couldn't find something large, long, and heavy to smack and crush them with, I'd usually take any spray-able chemicle and just douse the thing until it was lethargic, and then I'd crush it. Handful of tissues later, and it was successfully flushed down the toilet.

With wolf spiders, I say no mercy.
posted by hasna at 3:52 AM on January 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


I let huntsman spiders and whatnot hang around for a day or so, until they figure out there's nothing to eat... but if they're venomous, it's a heavy coating of Mortein.

There's a baby in your house. Don't fuck around. Kill it. Apparently the heavy rain us Aussie's are getting are encouraging spiders to move indoors.

Sweet gentle spiders? They're more than welome in our house. Nasty ones? Nah. Fuck em. (I killed one today on my son's windowsill, just because it looked nasty. Better to be safe than sorry, I reckon.)
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:01 AM on January 27, 2011


Or Mortein. I fully condone the use of Mortein for spiders that are venomous, or even just significantly irritating.
posted by kjs4 at 4:06 AM on January 27, 2011


Hm, something with a handle. Wish I'd thought of that earlier. Only, I don't wanna risk damaging the tiles with a saucepan, so might tape a garden stake to a tupperware container, or something. In the morning.

For now, I've sealed the door with masking tape, so at least he can't get into the rest of the house, but the window's open so maybe he'll go back out a-hunting. It was raining earlier, so yeah, that'd be why he came inside in the first place.

If he's still there in the morning, I'll have a go at getting him back outside, then if that doesn't work, a rolled up saturday edition of the Sydney Morning Herald ought to sort him out - although I do have a general taboo against killing spiders so would prefer to leave that as a last resort.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:17 AM on January 27, 2011


Aerosol hairspray + lighter = crispy spider.
posted by claytonius maximus at 4:28 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, IAAAA (I Am An Australian Arachnologist). My research has focused upon the Australian funnel web spiders, trapdoor spiders and - most relevantly - the Lycosidae (wolf spiders). I've spent many, many hours running about catching wolf spiders, and have never been bitten.

Wolf spiders aren't venomous, just mildly toxic. Even the Australian Museum says so. I am not a medical doctor (though I am a doctor), but I just did a quick sweep of the scientific literature for and found nothing to suggest that a wolf spider bite is dangerous to children or adults.

Anyway, I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about the spider! Additionally, I'd encourage folks not to just kill random spiders. Yes, we've had a lot of rain and there are quite a few of them about, but them's the breaks of living on a biologically diverse continent. Also, spiders are cool!
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 4:32 AM on January 27, 2011 [66 favorites]


If you have a vacuum cleaner with an extension arm, that should work beautifully to suck the spider up.
posted by cior at 4:37 AM on January 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I use a broom to chase out Huntsmans. I can see myself turning the broom sideways and using the plastic/metal edge to beat the crap out of your spider, seeing as how he's up out of newspaper-reach.

If you have eucalyptus spray, I try that on damn near everything. It does seem to annoy cockroaches. If nothing else, it might scare the spider out of its little corner space and into the open, for easier whacking.

Aerosol hairspray + lighter = crispy spider.

Also works with aerosol cooking spray and cockroaches. Or so I've heard.

a rolled up saturday edition of the Sydney Morning Herald ought to sort him out

Best use for it, I say.
posted by jaynewould at 4:45 AM on January 27, 2011


Burnt cockroaches do not smell good. Trust me on this.
posted by TrinsicWS at 4:48 AM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about the spider

I have 2.

1. What's the best way to get non-venomous spiders out of the house without killing them? Just because I worry about them crawling over my face in the night. Is my broom-chasing trick okay? Do you have a secret arachnologist method?

2. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is "lots" and 10 is "a metric butt-load" how much enjoyment do you get out of telling people you're an arachnologist? Because, seriously. That's like Indiana-Jones-level awesome.
posted by jaynewould at 4:55 AM on January 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


So, IAAAA (I Am An Australian Arachnologist). […] Wolf spiders aren't venomous, just mildly toxic.

Well, I'm neither Australian nor an arachnologist, but this is flagrantly wrong. All true spiders are venomous.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:22 AM on January 27, 2011


And furthermore, of all the spiders I've encountered, wolf spiders have been the most likely to bite as they tend to spend most of their lives on the ground instead of up high in webs so you're more likely to get them in your sheets when you're sleeping.

My general rule-of-thumb: keep the orb-weavers, lose the ground-dwellers. Unless I find myself in Australia, where the rule is changed slightly to "kill everything with more than four legs."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:27 AM on January 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


From wolfspiders.org:

Wolf spiders are venomous and their venom is poisonous. Bites that penetrates the skin can cause serious pain, swelling and itchiness. Some people only experience the symptoms for a few minutes while others get a wound that takes a few days to heal. If the victim is either a child or elderly, medical treatment should be sought. The bite may in itself be infectious and potentially dangerous if proper actions are not taken.

I say you definitely get the thing out if you can, but if it looks to be too difficult, then you must kill it for the safety of your child.
posted by King Bee at 5:29 AM on January 27, 2011


Civil - they're venomous, but in this case the venom is not particularly dangerous to large mammals. I am not an Australian arachnologist but I almost did a postdoc with one.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 5:30 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


how about a broom handle with duct tape on the end? take a length of duct tape and pull it over the end, sticky side out, then take another length and wrap it around to keep it stuck to the handle. You have yourself a nice little "grabber"

I HATE spiders. Can't go near 'em and I pity any that enter my place of residence, because they are soon to die. Soooooo arachnophobic
posted by zombieApoc at 5:31 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wolf spiders are venomous and their venom is poisonous.

Venomous != poisonous.
Poisonous is for things you ingest.
Venomous is for things that bite you.

Unless you're saying that if you to somehow milk a million wolf spiders of their venom and then drink it in a shot glass that you wouldn't get sick… I don't think that's what you mean, though.

Civil - they're venomous, but in this case the venom is not particularly dangerous to large mammals

I don't disagree with any of the conclusions, only the premise that spiders aren't venomous, which is flat-out wrong. I'm not saying the venom will kill you or injure you or give you a rash or have any ill effect whatsoever… but (just about) all spiders have venom glands. Saying all spiders aren't venomous is like saying all mammals don't produce milk. It's just wrong.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:45 AM on January 27, 2011


I use the same method as zombieApoc, and it works like a charm without destroying anything or stinking up the place (I used to be a hairsprayer, but it's really too slow for something so skitteryfast, I think).

Wad of tape the size of a baseball at the end of a longass stick. Heartily seconded!
posted by heyho at 6:25 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love spiders and I hate spider misinformation. Keep fighting the good fight Alice!

As for me and removing spiders, I generally just put a cup in from of them, pat the ground behind them, and they run right in. Of course I just have to photograph them before I release them.
posted by sanka at 7:04 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


And furthermore, of all the spiders I've encountered, wolf spiders have been the most likely to bite as they tend to spend most of their lives on the ground instead of up high in webs so you're more likely to get them in your sheets when you're sleeping.... Unless I find myself in Australia...

No offence dude, but the spiders in Maine are probably not the same as the ones in Sydney. What you call a wolf spider is unlikely to be the same species as what we call a wolf spider. Same family , sure, but not the same species.

We have an actual Australia arachnologist talking about actual Australian spiders. I am also not an arachnologist, I just have the misfortune to have spent a good chunk of time growing up in a wilder area. The only spider I have ever been bitten by was a web spider, and a redback at that. There are plenty of Australian ground spiders that you really are better off having around the house. Huntsman spiders for example are affable fellows who rarely if ever bite people, and they are awesome at keeping out more aggressive spiders (white tail spiders especially) and eating up other pests. I've shared my home with many spiders, and I've never woken up with one in my bed.

In my experience wolf spiders are not particularly worrying, but I can understand wanting to evict if it you have a wee child in the house.

Get your vacuum cleaner. Detach the hose from the tube that connects it to the head. Put a stocking over the tube, reattach everything. You can suck the spider into the vac now without it going into the bag, and if you hang the...

Dammit, this is hard to explain so I drew you a picture. The mysterious orange blob is a pantyhose leg or stocking threaded onto the hose before the pipe goes back on.
posted by Jilder at 7:54 AM on January 27, 2011 [29 favorites]


I'm not an arachnologist, but I do love spiders. My technique with wolf spiders, and I am being 100% serious when I say this, is that I gently reach over with my bare hands and pick them up (my wife has a problem with them, or I'd probably just let them stay in the bathroom). Then I carry them outside and release them. I have done this in Oklahoma, in Oregon, and now in Minnesota. In the winter I take them to the basement and let them go there. I have never been bitten, and until this thread I never even considered that a possibility. Has anyone ever been actually bitten by one of these things, or is this completely theoretical/fear speaking?

I'd certainly rather have the spider than what they're eating, I assure you. I'll stick with my method.
posted by norm at 8:48 AM on January 27, 2011


o hey, I'm an arachnologist too

Do you have a secret arachnologist method?

My method is to get a vial or a jar, preferably transparent. Put it on the spider. Slide a card to block the jar. invert. Take it outside and fling it into the bushes. For really fast spiders, either I get a larger jar, (tupperware), or I just use a stick or something to chase it in the direction I want it to go.

And also don't worry about wolf spiders.
posted by dhruva at 8:54 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


norm: Not advisable to pick up Australian spiders. Especially living in Sydney.
posted by Jilder at 10:08 AM on January 27, 2011


I think buying something would be silly, but I remembered reading about a spider catcher on cooltools once so I did a search for you.

Bugzooka

It is a tube thing that sucks up the bug for you and then you let it go outside.

If you google "spider" and "catchers" you will find more things like that. There are ones that have graspy tendril things that close up around the spider after you grab it.
posted by bleary at 10:11 AM on January 27, 2011


Are you kidding? I'm not even GOING to Australia for that reason. Spiders, snakes, jellyfish, hell, even the MAMMALS have venom there. I was just responding to the scaredy-cat Americans (which is why I listed off states I lived in).
posted by norm at 10:36 AM on January 27, 2011


I know you said you dont want to kill it. But i beg you to reconsider. It's a spider. A creepy crawly spider. It has 8 legs!! EIGHT! Oh dear Jesus! Kill it dead. then flush it down the toilet.
posted by ramix at 10:49 AM on January 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


For really fast spiders, either I get a larger jar, (tupperware), or I just use a stick or something to chase it in the direction I want it to go.

Definitely recommend the latter over over the former for the large, extremely fast buggers. (Video warning: AAAAAAH!)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:55 AM on January 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Good morning, all. Just having a coffee to wake up, then I'll see if our friend is still hanging out in the bathroom.

And thanks to our two resident arachnologists for their expertise. Seems like there's a lot of misinformation out there. Here's the spider identification page that started to get me worried ("venomous but non-aggressive") but in hindsight, it's from a from a pest control company, so they've got an interest in talking up the danger (and in making animated spider gifs).
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:14 PM on January 27, 2011


Hey Jaynewould!

1. What's the best way to get non-venomous spiders out of the house without killing them?

What dhruva said. My personal method is just to scoop them up with my hands, but I know that ain't for everyone! For the folks out there at home I recommend using a plastic container with a lid - then you can look at how pretty the spider is before you let it go!

2. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is "lots" and 10 is "a metric butt-load" how much enjoyment do you get out of telling people you're an arachnologist?


Awww, look, I rank it all the way up to 11! In all seriousness though, it is fascinating work and I love it. The crazy thing is that I have lost the ability to be observant of big things - instead I only notice small things below and above my line of sight. I'll be driving along with Mr Russel-Wallace and he'll be all "Woah that was one hilarious billboard" and I'll be "What billboard? But did you see that crazy ass spider webbing on the fence next to the road". Rinse. Repeat!

And hi UbuRoivas!

Good luck with your spider - you're right that there is a LOT of misinformation out there. If you want good information on spiders in the future, I'd recommend looking up museum websites. The big arachnology collections are at the Queensland Museum and the Western Australian Museum. The Museum of Australia also has some awesome information on spiders. OR memail me!

In this case though, I wouldn't worry too much... did I mention that I catch wolf spiders by sucking them up a piece of transparent tubing using only the power of my lungs? Really, they're pretty shy beasties and I wouldn't worry too much about them!
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 12:34 PM on January 27, 2011 [31 favorites]


Alright, here goes. I've got my redbacks on, just to be safe.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:35 PM on January 27, 2011


Hm, he seems to have gone back outside. Unless he's hiding in the pile of towels on the floor that I shook out last night when I momentarily couldn't find him. *goes to shake out towels again*
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:40 PM on January 27, 2011


No, he's not in the towels, either.

For what it's worth, I had left the light on & the window open, and gave the bathroom door a bang or two before going to bed. After having been chased around by a big scary monster with only two eyes, four legs & a glass foot for a while earlier, I guess that might've been enough for him, and he decided to return to his own element.

*No spiders were harmed in the making of this AskMe question*
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:50 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The other cool thing about wolf spiders is that their eyes light up when you shine a torch at night, so if you want to do one final sweep, you might want to turn off the lights and use a flashlight to look through the room. No telling what else you might find though :)
posted by dhruva at 6:31 PM on January 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


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