Arachnophobes, Beware! Why Spiders May Take Over Your Home This Fall
By Allison Underhill | Sep 18, 2018
Fall means a variety of changes—colorful foliage, cozier wardrobes, the switch from iced to hot coffee. But if there’s one change this season you might not like so much, it’s this: The spiders are coming … into our homes!
That’s right, autumn traditionally marks the quiet, creepy migration of arachnids from our gardens and backyards to warmer climes inside our toasty
In Georgia’s Paulding County, these pests have already settled in. According to WSB-TV 2, resident Nicole Photianos found dozens of venomous brown recluse spiders everywhere immediately after she moved into her new home.
Oh, and she can’t get rid of them.
Exterminators have treated the home every week since the infestation, but the stubborn spiders keep coming back.
“I just say we should just burn it down,” Photianos joked (we assume).
And this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about spiders taking over. Who can forget the St. Louis family who, in 2014, were forced to vacate their home because thousands of venomous spiders were “bleeding out of the ceilings”? Or the town in Tennessee that, in 2015, was haunted by a half-mile-long blanket of spiderwebs?
Granted, some arachnologists point out that spiders may seem to be everywhere in the fall because autumn is their mating season. In order to breed, these reclusive creatures must come out from hiding in the nooks and crannies of your house and actually find another spider to get fresh with. And hey, without Tinder, that’s tough!
And don’t worry—in most cases, the spiders in your home are harmless. Of the 43,000 spider species out there, only a handful are dangerous, and less than 30 (or 0.1%) are responsible for killing humans.
Still, though: We’re going to go out on a limb and say that you’re not looking to share your home with these guests this fall. Instead of packing up and moving out, here’s how to get rid of spiders in your home—and a few spider-ridding myths debunked along the way.
How to get rid of spiders: Do natural repellents work?
Chances are you’ve heard the old wives’ tale that you can rid your home of spiders using all-natural ingredients like tobacco, lemon oil, or peppermint. But some experts say that this won’t necessarily force out your eight-legged (and eight-eyed!) guests.
“There is no research that shows anything like that is a deterrent to spiders,” Paul Hetherington of the conservation fund Buglife told the Guardian.
Plus, a 2017 study published by the Journal of Economic Entomology tested lemon oil and peppermint to see their efficacy at repelling spiders. The researchers found no evidence that lemon oil had any effect on the spiders. Peppermint oil, on the other hand, showed a few repellent effects, but only in two of the tested species.
Foolproof spider busters
Luckily, there are some effective ways to get rid of spiders in your home.
Get cleaning: The easiest way to keep arachnids at bay? Regularly cleaning your house. Start by vacuuming your floors and furniture to get rid of unwanted webs and even spider eggs. Yuck! Don’t forget to dust the corners of the room to sweep up crumbs.
Seal the cracks: Make sure spiders don’t get into your house in the first place by filling in any gaps or cracks in your walls. Most importantly, keep your doors and windows closed as often as you can.
Get a feline friend: Spiders don’t stand a chance against a cat. These four-legged hunters naturally seek out vermin like spiders for snacks. Just be sure you aren’t in an area where poisonous spiders are common, since they might make your feline sick.
Bring out the big guns: If you suspect a serious spider infestation, you may need to invest in an insect bomb. They’re designed to release a lethal concoction for spiders, and while this drastic measure is cheaper than an exterminator, you’ll still need to vacate the area where it’s being used for several hours.
Allison Underhill is an editorial assistant at realtor.com. She previously wrote for Health.com, U.S. News and World Report, and Huffington Post. Follow @alunderthehill