Campus News

Entomologist details ways to keep spiders away

Elmer Gray, a UGA Cooperative Extension entomologist and researcher in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, recently spoke with Southern Living about the different methods that can be used to keep spiders out of your home.

Though spiders have venom, very few pose a threat to humans as their fangs are too small to puncture human skin. Brown and black widows and brown recluses are among the types with bites that can harm humans.

However, these spiders are not aggressive and will only bite if accidentally grabbed or disturbed, according to Gray. While their presence may be too close for comfort, they are likely in homes for harmless reasons.

“If there’s a point of entry, they may wander inside,” said Gray. “When you find them indoors, they’re likely looking for a meal or a mate.”

There are numerous ways to keep them from homes and things to do when they are found inside a house.

Methods of keeping them away include cleaning up around the home’s foundation and shaking out gardening gloves and boots. Cutting back tree branches, vines and shrubs that touch the house can also help to reduce easy access to the home, according to Gray.

“Cleaning and vacuuming goes a long way to minimizing spider populations,” said Gray.

Those who do find a spider indoors can remove it by guiding it into a deep-bottomed container and releasing it some distance from the building. For those who are not feeling that generous, vacuum them up, said Gray. Or smash them with a flyswatter and clean up with a tissue. If there is a suspicion the spider is a widow or recluse, Gray warns to be careful when disposing of the vacuum bag.