Baby spiders all over my house - I want them GONE!
July 17, 2013 9:37 PM   Subscribe

Some baby spiders were hatched in my house about a week or two ago. Every night before bed, after they have come out in the kitchen, I vacuum up about 10-20 of them. I have been doing this almost every night but they aren't stopping. They are just constant. It's mostly in the kitchen, but they gravitate to the upstairs bathroom as well. I have found at least one in just about every room in the house though. I don't know how fast house spiders grow, so maybe even more hatched. Just a few minutes ago, I felt what I thought was just a stray hair on my shoulder and it was a freaking baby spider (it might have fallen on me minutes earlier when I was trying to vaccum it up). I cannot take this anymore. It's disgusting and I am afraid they will get in my food (which I do cover up) or in my clothes I leave on my chair. What can I do? (More below.)

The main considerations are cost and safety. I'd like a professional to kill all these spiders (and hey, I'd be happy if he got rid of all the centipedes that mostly live in our basement but, yep, I saw a couple baby centipedes on the first floor in the past couple weeks, so that's great). The goal is really to get rid of all these bugs and discern where they are coming from. I feel like a professional might be able to seal the entry points as well. But I don't want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on this. I also certainly do not want to do anything that is potentially unhealthy or is not established to be safe if used in a home. I don't have any pets, but it's not really realistic for me to be out of the house more than a few hours at a time.

Is there an affordable option with a professional, or should I do something myself? If I do something myself, what can I do that is affordable, safe and effective? Based on pictures, I feel like my spiders are the "American House Spider." They are light brown, sometimes the body is sort of tan, and they don't have any distinctive stripes or colors or anything. I realize that what I am seeing in the kitchen is probably a fraction of what are living in the walls, vents or wherever spiders live. Please help. I don't have a fear of spiders by any means, but this is gross and I can no longer tolerate it.
posted by AppleTurnover to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Spiders need to eat, and they only eat bugs. They'll eventually move on or die when your house has been entirely cleaned of prey. Just keep your house clean and remove webs when you see them.
posted by empath at 10:05 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I know that spiders need bugs, but I need to get rid of the bugs too. I want to get rid of everything. I am not asking for "spiders eat other bugs" or "tidy your house so spiders have no where to hide" answers. The point is that they are already here now and I a) want them gone b) after they are gone I don't want them to come back.

In case I was not clear: I am asking for advice on how to kill the existing bugs in my home (effective methods, options, costs) and how to seal my home to prevent more bugs from getting in (how to identify entry points, best way to seal cracks and doorways, options for big-proofing, etc.)
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:16 PM on July 17, 2013

I lived in a nightmare of a house/converted basement apartment with a giant-house-spider infestation. (Like, nightmare of all nightmares as I HATE spiders. Not to mention that giant house spiders and hobo spiders look nearly identical and the landlord never told us there was a spider problem.)

1) Cleaning and Storage
Put things in plastic tubs that bugs can't get into. Don't have clutter. They also like warm things on the floor like electronics. Keep things up off the floor as much as possible, especially against the walls as they run along baseboards. This also means laundry, pillows, papers, etc. It's not fun to pick up a pile of laundry and find a spider.

2) Clear Webs
Anytime you see any sort of web in your place or around your place, clear it out. Keep a stick or duster around for this purpose.

3) Sticky Traps
You can get baited sticky traps for cheap at hardware stores and probably most grocery stores. We went to the hardware store to get advice on which one would work best. Fold them up and place them along walls, baseboards, and in any storage areas. Check them often and replace them when they get too full. They also usually trap other bugs as well.

4) Sprays
You can get sprays - that are usually very toxic - at the store. You don't want to use these around food and you want to follow all instructions. This can be useful though if there is a hot-spot for them. (We used it around the baseboard near our bed and let it air out for a while before moving everything back.)

5) Professionals
Our landlord finally got someone to come spray. Personally I found it very ineffective, but then again this place had a MAJOR spider problem and the spraying didn't happen until well into spider season. I don't know much about the company but they used a non-toxic spray that was to keep them at bay as a "barrier" or something. That was helpful as we didn't need to clear out or store food during spraying, but I can't attest much to how well it worked.

Call around to get a quote for spraying. You might want to as the baby spiders will get bigger. The price will also probably depend on the size of your place, the company, and the chemicals they use.
posted by Crystalinne at 10:18 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

When I moved to California from Texas, I traded roaches for all the spiders in the freaking world, especially in the damn bathroom, which is a place I frequent in the dark.

Just plain old Raid for Ants and Spiders (with Fresh Spring Scent that is disgusting) around the baseboards and doorways (and the occasional ceiling dusting) once every two weeks keeps my spider situation to a minor irritation rather than a full-on freakout.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:30 PM on July 17, 2013

Response by poster: Not trying to thread-sit, but one thing I want to mention is everything I have read mentions of leaving stuff on the floor or being careful about baseboards, but where I find the spiders constantly is the ceilings and the walls near ceilings. Maybe they are harder to spot on a brown wood floor, but even when looking I don't see them. I think they actually just gravitate toward ceiling lights. (I presume because other bugs are attracted to light sources.) So I'm not sure if that changes my plan of attack. I've wondered about just leaving the kitchen light on all night and hoping the spiders will fall inside -- I don't think they can get out because it accumulates with dead bugs and needs to be cleaned periodically.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:49 PM on July 17, 2013

Mod note: Comment deleted. For the purposes of this post, assume the OP knows the arguments for letting the spiders be, and just concentrate on the question of how to safely and affordably get rid of the ones that are there and prevent more from coming in. Thanks.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:51 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

If they are gravitating toward the ceiling, or coming from it, I still say use baited sticky traps. They have scented bait so the spiders and bugs are attracted to them. You could also fold one up - they generally fold into a rectangle or triangle shape or you can lay them flat - and tape it to where the ceiling meets the wall as well. It's the same concept as setting it near the baseboard. (It may not look pretty but it's better than spider in food!)

Also, do you have regular ceilings or a drop tile ceiling?
We had a drop-tile ceiling that had openings for pipes and vents and they would go around in there and drop down, so we popped some sticky traps up there too.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:44 AM on July 18, 2013

If appropriate for your space, a dehumidifier might make a difference in the bug problem, leading to a reduction in the spider problem as well.

I would really start with the basement. Assuming you have a concrete floor, it's going to be able to hold moisture and attract bugs -- the centipedes are a clue. I would not just sweep, I would vacuum or even shop-vac so that the grit that naturally accumulates is not a factor in holding little repositories of moisture. If there are crawlspaces make sure they are vented (seasonally, of course) -- bare soil that is in an area connected to your basement is not going to make dehumidification any easier. Go after all the little nooks and crannies, seriously.

If the dehumidifier can't make a difference, you may need to look at other ways to reduce moisture infiltration, such as outdoor drainage or even modifying your foundation or installing a sump pump.

Meanwhile, all I can say for the spiders is vacuum like crazy, and I hope you know this, encase the bag in a plastic bag and throw it out outside, every time.
posted by dhartung at 3:23 AM on July 18, 2013

A caution regarding sealing your house: 1) you will never be able to seal up all the little holes. 2) Old homes were designed to be a little drafty. They weren't built to circulate air as effectively as newer ones. If you have an older house, sealing up your house (or even one room) can lead to mold, etc.

That said, spiders and centipedes are drawn to dampness. Has it been particularly dry by you? They may be seaking moisture. Particularly wet? This may be a boon year for spiders and they've reached max capacity in the basement. Dhartung has the right of it regarding the dehumidifier(s).
posted by tllaya at 6:38 AM on July 18, 2013

So, I had a pretty bad Black Widow infestation at my previous home. Tried having Terminix come out and spray with some minor improvement, but major damage to my wallet.

I did some research online and picked up a sprayer and some DemonWP insecticide. All told, spent well under $100.

I followed the instructions for mixing up a batch and sprayed all around the house once every three months or so, including all the places Terminix couldn't or wouldn't go like inside the garage and in all the nooks and crannies around the house. The only place I didn't spray was where my dogs play, but that was just to be safe (I think once it's dry, it's fine).
Resulted in almost complete eradication of the Black Widows. Obviously YMMV, but it's worth a try!

Good luck!
posted by tillei at 10:23 AM on July 18, 2013

Fans are very useful for discouraging spiders. Spiders like to be in areas that are still and undisturbed. In whatever rooms are plagued with spiders, set up a small fan aimed along the corner of the wall and ceiling and let it run on low all the time. The spiders will choose a more comfy place to set up housekeeping. Likewise, get in the habit of running a feather duster around the corners of the ceiling every day for a while. Spiders don't like to be disturbed -- make it your mission to disturb them.
posted by Corvid at 12:51 PM on July 18, 2013

I had a hobo spider living in my bedroom closet when I lived in an apartment with flowerbeds and garden right up against the outside walls - oh, Lord the bugs and spiders! Every evening I'd climb into bed and get set with a book to read by the bedside lamp and here that blasted spider would come, right straight at my bed. I'd leap up and try to smash him with something but he always got away - he was fast, even though half the time he ran right at me and past me and under my bed - and I'd spend the night in the living room.

One night I finally got smart. I made sure all the lights were out in the house and then put my bedside lamp on the floor in the bedroom with the light on. I waited alongside the closet door, the opposite direction from where I usually was trying to relax in bed. Sure enough, here he came, right at the light and I came at him from behind, smushing him at last.

Turn out all the lights, put a lamp on the floor and it will draw the spiders; then you can do what you will with them.

Spiders are fine - outdoors - but not in my home.

Good luck. Between this thread and the one on roaches today, I won't sleep very well tonight.
posted by aryma at 10:57 PM on July 18, 2013

Two words: duct tape.
Put it around the edges of all your rooms. Cheap, non toxic, effective, and you can see the results.
posted by banishedimmortal at 5:10 AM on July 21, 2013

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