For many, the experience of a huntsman spider in the bedroom is the stuff of nightmares! However, although scary, huntsman spiders rarely bite and even if they do, their bite is not particularly painful. The same cannot be said for the redback, white-tailed or funnel-web spiders, all of which have painful bites requiring medical attention. Especially if there are children or pets around, there are good reasons for wanting to keep spiders out of your home.
Before we discuss spider control techniques it is important to understand that spiders can be separated into two main types; web-building spiders and running or hunting spiders.
- Web-building spiders (such as the redback and black house spider) typically build webs and sit waiting for their prey to drop by.
- Running spiders (such as the huntsman and white-tailed spiders) tend not to have webs and actively hunt for their prey.
Running spiders are the hardest to control (see below) and you will always get the occasional invader. However, with a mixture of spider prevention tips and suitable spider control products you can greatly reduce the chances of an unwanted eight-legged visitor.
General Spider Prevention Tips
- Keeping garden beds and rubbish away from the edge of the house will significantly reduce the spider population.
- If garden beds next to the house are kept in place, it is important to keeping vegetation trimmed back from the edge of the house and paths.
- Make sure insect screens and draft excluders are in good repair and well fitting
- Keep clothes and shoes off the floor to reduce spider hiding places.
General Spider Control Tips
- The best treatment for web-building spiders is to spray their webs and hiding places with an insecticide (ready to use pump back or aerosol). The key tip to get the best performance is to wait a day or two after spraying before brushing down any webs. This ensures the spiders will have picked up a lethal does of insecticide (by walking on the web) and by using a brush (rather than hose), you can ensure the insecticide remains in place to prevent new spiders taking up residence.
- To prevent web-building spiders take up residence in the first place, spraying around doors, windows and vents, as well as under eaves and guttering delivers excellent results. As these spots tend to be sheltered from sun and rain, the treatment can last many months.
- It is a lot more difficult to prevent running spiders entering the home. Carrying out a preventative spray around the perimeter of the home and any openings will have some benefit, although running spiders often walk on the tips of their legs, preventing them from picking up a lethal dose of insecticide. However, if you carry out a preventative treatment for web-building spiders and other insects, the numbers of running spiders will be greatly reduced, as there will be little prey for them to feed on.
- Even with the best control program the occasional spider may get in. A crawling insect aerosol should be kept on hand to spray the occasional unwanted spider. Ensure the spider receives a good dose and keep your distance!
Let’s have a look at specific tips for the key pest spiders:
There are many species of “garden spider” such as the St. Andrew’s Cross spider. Most of these spiders build their webs in bushes or trees, being particularly annoying when their webs cross pathways around the home. It is not really practical or desirable to spray the whole garden for spiders, so prevention is the way to go here. The best option here is to remove plants from the exterior wall of the house and adjacent to paths and walkways. If you wish to leave the plants in place, make sure they are well trimmed back.
Other than keeping the perimeter of the property clear of rubbish and vegetation, spraying for redbacks is the best method of control / prevention.
Redbacks tend to build their webs in sheltered dry areas. Target redback nesting areas such as fencing (particularly inside tubular metal fencing), retaining walls, rocks and logs. They can sometimes also be found in roof voids, where it is also warm and dry, so check the roof void each year and treat as required.
Black house spider
There is no real specific prevention tip here other than a good exterior spray with a long lasting insecticide (see general control tips).
Keep vegetation and mulch away from the edge of the building, as White-tailed spiders like these cool sheltered areas. White-tailed spiders tend to come inside for two reasons; to find prey or to escape the Summer heat. Their favourite prey are black house spiders, so you can control white-tailed spiders indirectly by applying a general spider treatment to control black house spiders. Without their favourite prey, the numbers of white-tailed spiders will drop off. Keep sheets and clothes off the floor in summer as these will be a favourite hiding place for the occasional invader.
Huntsman spiders tend to come inside looking for prey and so treatments that keep other pest numbers low will reduce the number of huntsman around your home.
Funnel web spider
Funnel-web spiders tend to live in moist, sandy soils under rocks and logs. Typically it is the male that may find their way into your home, as they go wandering in late summer and autumn looking for a mate. Funnel-webs may also find their way into your home after periods of heavy rain when their burrows may get flooded. Keeping shoes and clothes off the floor and ensuring door screens / draft excluders are in good condition should stop funnel web spiders entering. Unless you actively hunt out funnel webs there are no specific funnel web spider control techniques.
So with a bit of garden maintenance (keeping plants and rubbish away from the perimeter of the home), sealing potential entry points and a good exterior pest spray once or twice a year, arachnophobes can certainly sleep a lot easier at night.
PestXpert have all the tools you need to carry out a spider treatment
Specialist Spider product to target spiders where they hide and spray from a distance
For outdoor prevention of web-building spiders