We’re all used to seeing a spider or two around the house. But how do you know if you’ve got a full-blown spider infestation? Or the difference between a harmless spider and a dangerous one? Here’s what you need to know about spiders — including when it’s time to call in the professionals.
Signs of a Spider Infestation
While spiders are not particularly dangerous to humans (as their bites are rare and usually not very serious) a spider infestation can be scary and lower the value of your home. Keep a close eye out for these warning signs, which might indicate that you have a spider infestation.
Spider webs are the first sign of a spider infestation. Spiders build their webs high up in your home to catch their primary prey: flying insects. You’ll see webs on your ceiling — especially in corners, or where the ceiling and walls meet. Spiders love building webs within hanging light fixtures and even inhabit empty boxes that may have been sitting around for a while.
You’ll almost always encounter female spiders since they typically eat the much smaller male spiders after copulation. That means: where there’s spiders, there’s likely egg sacs. Egg sacs are thick pouches made from webbing, and are shaped like white teardrops. Spiders place their egg sacs where they feel they’ll be safest, including crevices in your basement or attic, unused and neglected corners, or even your crawl space. You’ll often find them among stored items in your garage, in places like toolboxes or neglected lawn mowers. Egg sacs are an alarming indicator of an impending spider problem.
Lots of Bugs
Spiders feed on insects. If you see lots of flying insects in your home, that could be an indicator that you have a spider infestation. Spiders are known to eat everything from small mosquitos and gnats to big slugs and cockroaches. If you see signs of other pests, like flies or termites, you can be sure that spiders aren’t far behind.
What is Considered “Excessive” Spiders?
One spider is a coincidence. But if you notice lots of the signs above, or spider droppings (which look like black dots on your floors), then you likely have a spider infestation. Spiders are attracted to moist, dark environments, like dampness under your sinks or in your basement. It only takes a single breeding pair of spiders to produce hundreds of juveniles that can quickly overtake your home. If you see the warning signs, it’s time to call an exterminator or pest control specialist.
How to Get Rid of a Spider Infestation
While spiders might not cause as much damage as other pests (like wood destroying termites or biting bed bugs) these multi-legged insects can still be annoying. However, if your infestation is small enough, you may not even need to call a pest control company or extermination service to your home to live spider-free. Looking to tackle the problem yourself? Here are a few DIY ways to keep spiders at bay.
Seal Off Entry Points
Where bugs go, spiders follow. So caulk up any cracks in your baseboards to keep prey from leading spiders into your home. Make sure your doors and windows have well-maintained seals and be on the lookout for “neglect points” in your attic or basement where critters could gain entry.
Place Sticky Traps
Surprisingly, sticky traps are an extremely effective way to keep your household spider-free. Sticky traps attract all types of spiders with non-toxic bait embedded in the trap’s glue. Spider after spider will become trapped. After three months, or when the trap becomes full, just throw it away.
It’s easier than you think to clean webs in hard-to-reach places. Just wrap a broom handle in some paper towel, then secure it with a rubber band. Spray insecticide on the paper towel, then glide it across your walls and ceilings. For an even more powerful solution, use the long tube attachment on your vacuum to suck up spider webs. Both are a great way to destroy active webs, as well as cobwebs.
Mix peppermint oil and water in a spray bottle, then use it in areas where you’ve seen spider activity. You can also use vinegar as a natural repellent. If you’d rather use store-bought chemical pesticides, the treatment is the same — spray corners and crevices, under your furniture, and along baseboards, window frames, and doorways.
If you still have spiders after all this, it’s time to call in the professionals. Many will provide you a free quote for the cost of spider removal once they’ve assessed your unique situation.
Is My Landlord Responsible for Spiders?
In most states, yes. It’s your landlord’s responsibility to deal with any pest control issues that arise. Check your specific state’s tenant rights laws, but rest assured: you’re paying your landlord to keep your home safe, protected, and pest-free. Alert your landlord of a spider infestation immediately so they can hire pest control services or an exterminator. While it’s your landlord’s financial responsibility to handle infestations and schedule spider treatment for your apartment or home, it’s your responsibility to keep them informed.
How Does an Exterminator Treat Spiders?
Professional spider exterminators spread powdered or liquid pesticides into small spaces, and across door frames and baseboards, to repel and eventually kill spiders. They’ll first inspect your home to assess where spiders are concentrated, and to determine if there are any egg sacs. Then, they’ll then apply (typically industrial) pesticides to take care of your spider problem.
To treat particularly dangerous spiders (like brown recluses), pest control professionals will inject chemicals into your walls. They traditionally deploy chemicals through power outlets to avoid wall damage, but they sometimes need to drill very small holes to treat the problem. Trust us: it’s better than a house filled with venomous spiders.
How Much Does a Spider Exterminator Cost?
The average cost of spider extermination is between $150 and $300, depending on the size of your home and the severity of the infestation. However, you won’t be sure what you’ll pay for pest problems before you consult with an extermination service. If you have a large number of spiders or an exterminator finds spider nests on your property, pest control experts might charge upwards of $500 per appointment.
Note that, there is a difference between a spider exterminator and a spider pest control professional. Exterminators take a one-visit annihilation approach. Some exterminators are now offering follow-up appointments to make sure the spiders are truly gone, but this is a relatively new development.
Pest control companies, on the other hand, work on a subscription basis. If you’re interested in signing up for a monthly, quarterly, or annual spider control plan, they will usually perform a free inspection on their first visit. The average cost of quarterly spider inspections and preventive treatments is between $350 to $750 per year. The best pest control companies may provide you with a discount for booking your appointment ahead of time or scheduling online.
A pest control plan can be a good idea if you find yourself dealing with spiders continuously or through multiple seasons. Some pest control companies like Terminix even offer pest control guarantees.
How Long Does it Take an Exterminator to Get Rid of Spiders?
Pesticide application should only take a few hours. However, full fumigation treatment could take a whole day. Because moisture attracts spiders, exterminators must take the time to ensure your home is properly ventilated, as well as to seal off entry points for spiders (and the insects they consume).
Is Hiring an Exterminator Worth it?
Yes! If the DIY approach doesn’t work out, you should absolutely hire an exterminator to rid your home of spiders. Sure, a few spiders aren’t anything to worry about. But remember: the spiders you see are likely females, and they carry the potential to hide egg sacs anywhere — especially in seldom disturbed parts of your home. Each sac can produce hundreds of spiders…which is hundreds of spiders too many.
It also depends on what types of spiders you have in your home. Wolf spiders and jumping spiders are not harmful to humans. In fact, they keep pests like flies, gnats, and other insects under control. However, an infestation of brown recluses or black widows is very dangerous. Waste no time hiring an exterminator or pest control company to eliminate the threat.