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Cooler weather brings spiders: How to prevent an infestation

Cooler weather brings spiders: How to prevent an infestation

As the weather begins to cool, spiders become more noticeable because this is the time of year when many spiders are at their peak in size, and a countless number are lurking about looking for mates. During this time, spiders (and their unsightly webbing) are spotted in abundance in yards, around structures and wandering inside homes. Here are a few simple tips to protect your home from a spider invasion.


Do

Do keep a vacuum handy

Use a vacuum to remove spiders, their webs, and eggs sacs. For those who fear spiders, a vacuum is especially helpful because it allows removal of these critters at more than arm’s length. Additionally, frequent vacuuming will keep areas free of debris, which eliminates places for spiders to hide, and removes insects (a spider’s food).

Do remove noticeable webs

Spiders prefer to spin their webs in undisturbed areas around the house, so pay special attention to basements, garages and attics. Get rid of webs as soon as you notice them to allow you to monitor for spider activity in your home.

Do seal cracks and crevices

Spiders will enter into structures through small cracks or openings. Seal cracks and crevices around windows, walls and doors to deter spider entry into your home. Once inside, they may harbor in small, dark spaces or crevices, such as in walls that are in disrepair. Seek out these areas and repair them to keep spiders from living there.

Do get rid of clutter

Areas with excessive clutter or debris create an ideal place for spiders to harbor. These places are also attractive to insects, which spiders feed on. Therefore it is important to remove clutter, especially in areas where spider activity is likely, such as in basements and garages. If possible, store items such as boxes off the floor and away from walls. Boxes should be taped shut to prevent spiders from crawling inside.


Don't

Do not forget about exterior lighting

Exterior lighting on homes attracts insects and subsequently spiders (because they feed on insects). Replace outdoor bulbs with less attractive yellow bulbs. Yellow bulbs can be purchased at your local hardware store.

Do not have areas with excessive moisture

Excessive moisture attracts many insects, which in turn will attract spiders. Therefore, consider moisture reduction as part of your spider control. Install proper ventilation in crawlspaces and attics. In addition to vents, plastic vapor barriers can be used to spread over crawlspace floors. You can also consider dehumidifiers in basement areas.

Do not store firewood near the house

It’s tempting to keep firewood close to your home so you don’t need to travel far in the winter to bring logs indoors. However, keeping firewood stored at least 20 feet away from the home will minimize hiding spots for spiders to enter your home later.

Do not hesitate to contact a pest control professional

Although many homeowners utilize “do-it-yourself” pest control products, like spider traps and repellents, the results are often less than satisfactory. To avoid making a problem worse, seek out a licensed pest management professional for help with spider control.


Summary
Jumping cartoon

While house, wolf and cellar spiders are considered harmless but nuisance pests, it’s important to know that dangerous spiders do exist. The black widow and brown recluse spiders are two types of spiders in the United States that possess venom that can be toxic to humans, so immediate action is required when they are present in a home. To minimize risks of spider infestation in your home, be sure to use prevention, sanitation and exclusion tips, especially during the cooler months when spiders began to seek shelter.


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Photo Credits: arenacreative/bigstock.com; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

Nancy Troyano, PhD, BCETraining manager / Entomologist

After graduating from Lehigh Carbon Community College with an A.A.S. degree in Veterinary Technology, Nancy became a certified veterinary technician. Nancy worked as a zookeeper while pursuing a B.S. degree in Environmental Science at East Strou...

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