Killing spiders in awkward places
July 24, 2006 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have reliable techniques for killing spiders you find in awkward places?

So, last night, I was about to go to sleep when I saw a huge spider in the space between my mattress and the wall. I tried to kill it with a book, but I missed. The spider scuttled off under my bed and I slept on the futon in the other room.

What's a fail-safe way to kill the little buggers without having to get too close to them, especially when they're in weird places like the narrow gap between a piece of furniture and the wall? I'd rather not spray poison all over my bedroom. Also, "live and let live" is, uh, not feasible.
posted by clarahamster to Home & Garden (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Vacuum with cranny attachment.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:26 PM on July 24, 2006


Response by poster: Vacuum with cranny attachment.

They don't crawl back out?
posted by clarahamster at 3:27 PM on July 24, 2006


Spiders are opportunistic, like mice, and if you just spray without doing anything, more will come along. The only sure way to evict them is to evict their food source. This means get rid of smaller insects that might be in the house: midges, dead flies, small beetles, etc. Clean up, seal holes, look for gaps into the house, and use/replace/repair weatherstripping.

In the short term I wouldn't worry about spiders if you're sure they aren't the usual venomous types. You could grease the legs of your bed and get some space between the wall until they pack their bags.

The alternative, spraying of course.
posted by zek at 3:27 PM on July 24, 2006


Response by poster: In the short term I wouldn't worry about spiders if you're sure they aren't the usual venomous types.

I haven't had many, they just trigger this crazy, irrational terror somewhere in my lizard brain. :)
posted by clarahamster at 3:30 PM on July 24, 2006


I'd like to know the answer to this, too. I'm seriously thinking about buying a bug vacuum to get the ones in the ceiling

I have a favorite method, but it only works in the bathroom, where I get a LOT of spiders. I wait until they're over the bathtub (which doesn't take long, as my bathroom is small), blast them with an upside-down can of compressed air to freeze them, and when they fall in the tub I wash them down the drain.

Freezing them also works if I can corner them on the floor, if they actually happen to be close enough to the ground.
posted by phatkitten at 3:31 PM on July 24, 2006


I usually use the vacuum attachment, too, but I saw a BugZooka on Amazon and think that's a better idea.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 3:32 PM on July 24, 2006


in the ceiling? on the ceiling. With a period at the end.
posted by phatkitten at 3:32 PM on July 24, 2006


They don't crawl back out?

Not so's I've noticed. They are likely severely damaged by the violence of the journey.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:37 PM on July 24, 2006


Just vacuum it. My canister vac has a 'flap valve' where the hose attaches to the body which helps keep things in. If you're really paranoid put some wide packing tape over the end of the hose.

This is probably a good time to clean up all the dander behind/beneath your bed anyway.
posted by D.C. at 3:44 PM on July 24, 2006


Spiders used to trigger crazy irrational terror somewhere in my lizard brain, too. It occurred to me one day that this could actually kill me: if I were driving on the highway, and a spider dropped in my lap from its hiding place behind the sun shade and triggered a panic, I might well lose control of the car.

So I desensitized myself. I captured a big huntsman in a big screwtop jam jar. I poked some fly-size holes in the lid and sat the jar on my desk at work. Every day I'd feed Fritz a couple of dead flies through the lid holes.

After about two weeks of working with Fritz on my desk and studying him at close quarters, the terror had just about completely gone and I was able to see him as a beautiful thing rather than a terrifying one.

The terror came back for a little while the first time I let him crawl on my hand, but didn't last.

Spiders are not a problem for me at all any more. I won't pick up venomous ones, but that's now a rational choice rather than a run-screaming thing.
posted by flabdablet at 4:38 PM on July 24, 2006 [6 favorites]


My technique is as follows, and only works reliably when they are on a surface rather than on a web or something.

Get a glass and trap the spider inside the glass up against the wall or ceiling or whatever surface. Then, simply insert a piece of paper between the surface and the glass. Now you can remove the glass, keeping the top covered with the paper, and show the invader outside. I prefer not to kill spiders because I figure a few spiders are preferable to the other bugs they kill.
posted by utsutsu at 5:32 PM on July 24, 2006


Use a spider catcher! It works without electricity or toxic chemicals.
posted by plokent at 5:40 PM on July 24, 2006


Well, I leave spiders alone, since they kill flies, and by golly I hate flies, whereas spiders strike me as being very, very cool.

However, a good strong vacuum cleaner will get 'em if you really must abuse God's noble fly disposal unit.
posted by Decani at 5:48 PM on July 24, 2006


The spiders will not climb out of the vacuum if you let it run for a minute after sucking up the spider. That way the spider gets sucked down in there and torn apart.

I hate spiders too.
posted by christinetheslp at 6:11 PM on July 24, 2006


I'm a crack shot with a good elastic band and corners make the shot that much easier :). Just don't ask me to wipe up the leftover goo though. Over time, you can build a nice collection of tiny bug splatters on the walls that'll leave your man/woman/roommates/parents guessing.
posted by freakystyley at 6:38 PM on July 24, 2006


It occurred to me one day that this could actually kill me: if I were driving on the highway, and a spider dropped in my lap from its hiding place behind the sun shade and triggered a panic, I might well lose control of the car.

That exact thing happened to a friend of mine and, indeed, she wrecked the car.
posted by fshgrl at 6:52 PM on July 24, 2006


Someone else mentioned the bugzooka. Don't pass that suggestion by! Single best pointer I ever got from Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools. We have mealy bug infestations which turn into small annoying moths. Can't tell you how much fun it is to have several of those moths and one or more spiders captured in the bugzooka's chamber at the same time! The company that makes the device actually makes the entertainment and educational value of the clear chamber one of its selling points.
posted by emg at 8:03 PM on July 24, 2006


I use hairspray. It works on wasps as well, although it takes longer. I know it's cruel, but I can stand the smell, which I can't with bugspray (migraine prone). My question is how can I kill the damned millipedes? (I would trade all the spiders in my home area, even the deadly ones, for these nasty crawly squgglebugs.)
posted by Meep! Eek! at 8:15 PM on July 24, 2006


I love my swiffer wet mop for smashing insects/spiders.

It's basically a 5 foot pole with a flat rubber smasher on one end that can tilt 90 degrees in any direction. No need to have the swiffer mop thing on it, just the non-skid, non-marking end. Happy smashing.


posted by freshgroundpepper at 8:38 PM on July 24, 2006


Response by poster: OK, next time I run into a spider, we'll see how he likes the business end of my electrolux... :)
posted by clarahamster at 11:33 PM on July 24, 2006


Allergic to bug spray and we have brown recluse (twice bitten). I have someone else spray around the bed twice a year and let it air off before I go in there, and usually twice a year handles it fine. I can't get excited about the amount of poison, considering the alternative. It gets the bugs they eat too, so no reason to go there.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:44 AM on July 25, 2006


Although house centipedes really creep me out, they DO eat spiders. As well as flies and roaches. I know, I know. Why do all of the HELPFUL bugs have to look so creepy?
posted by jeanmari at 1:08 PM on July 27, 2006


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