Spiders aren’t a seasonal pest, but many homeowners tend to notice an increased presence in their homes in the early fall months as the arachnids become more obvious while they search for a mate. Even though most spider species in the United States don’t pose health risks to humans, most people aren’t comfortable with any species sharing their living space. The best way to prevent spider infestations is to remove harborage sites within one’s home.
Spiders seek out secluded, undisturbed areas where they can build webs to catch their next meal. This could mean attics, basements, and rarely used closets are favorite places to be harboring these pests. Spiders can also crawl into homes through damaged window screens or cracks in the siding, meaning homeowners should conduct periodic checks of these areas to reduce spider problems.
It’s important to note that the black widow and brown recluse spiders are two species found in the United States that do pose health risks to humans when disturbed or feeling threatened.
According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), the brown recluse spider typically does not bite humans unless threatened, but their bites can be painful and result in open sores. Measuring about a half inch with a dark brown violin marking on its back, brown recluse spiders build their webs in warm, dry and dark environments, notably basements and closets. Similarly, black widow spiders do not bite humans instinctively. However, when they do bite, they can cause extremely painful bites, especially for children and the elderly. Recognized for its red hourglass shape under the abdomen, these spiders spin their webs close to the ground and are most often found in woodpiles and undisturbed areas.
The NPMA offers the following tips to help prevent contact with spiders:
- Avoid keeping clothing and shoes on the floor, especially if in an area known for spiders; consider storing inside plastic containers.
- Seal cracks and crevices around the home.
- Vacuum/sweep away webs in and around the home.
- Shake out all clothing that has been in the laundry basket before wearing/washing.
- Keep garages, attics and basements clean and clutter free.
- If a spider bites you, contact your primary care physician for medical advice.
- If you have an infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest control professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.