Spider Management

Introduction: Spider Management

There are two schools of thought on spiders having a role in the house- pro and con. No matter which school you follow, here are some handy tips on how to deal with them and keep them under control.

Supplies

Basic helpful or fun supplies include:

  • gloves
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • paper towels
  • mint
  • collapsible laundry hamper
  • glass & paper, or bug catcher
  • laser pointer (advanced methods )

Step 1: Pros and Cons

Pros:
Spiders can keep other bugs in check. Some people choose to let a few small spiders be indoor spiders and carefully release any others into the wild. If you are really patient, you may be able to train them to do the dusting for you (see advanced techniques section).

Cons:

Spiders plan on making a bajillion babies in your home. This is way too many. They also poop. Some may be dangerous, and all of them are technically venomous. Even if you're cool with spiders, many of your guests won't be.

Step 2: Birth Control & Poop Clean Up

No matter which school of spider management you subscribe to, you do not want to be over run with their offspring. A vacuum is the easiest way to collect their egg sacs from the hard to reach places they hide them. You don't want them hatching in the vacuum cleaner though. Use a bit of paper towel to line the end of the vacuum hose and secure it with a rubber band. After you have sucked up the egg sacs, put them in a sealed baggie with the paper towel. The nastiness is secured and you never had to touch the icky bits.

Spider poop is fairly easy to clean up with a damp cloth. Their poop will collect below their webs. Consider that their webs will be near tiny light sources like the LEDs on your electronics.

Step 3: Catch and Release

Even if you choose to allow a few indoor spiders, you will still want to practice catch and release for the ones that don't meet your requirements. It's a good idea to look up the type of spider you are trying to catch to know if you are dealing with something dangerous. I would wear gloves for anything like brown or black widows. The HUGE spider pictured here as known as a huntsman, and in some areas they are valued indoor spiders. I'm really glad I don't live in one of those areas.
The classic spider catching method is to put a glass over the spider, and then slip a card under. Round cups don't work so well in tight corners. I recommend a bug catcher with squarish corners and a built in floor. The floor is controlled by a slider on the stick. Once outside you can open the slider and fling the offender far away from you. If you have a seriously large spider like the huntsman pictured, that's just not going to work. Even the vacuum powered ones are going to be a bit tight. What I used here is a small collapsible hamper from the dollar store. Use a broom or something to chase the spider into the hamper. Once it is inside, press the sides together to sandwhich it in place. Take it outside and let it pop open. Allow the spider to leave at it's own pace. And for $1, if it wants to keep it for a new home, I say it can have it.

Step 4: Advanced Techniques: How to Train Your Spider

Dusting Spiders: So how do you train your spider to dust? Just maintain poor house cleaning until they pitch in. No just kidding. This is what can happen when you go away for quite awhile. He's a hunting spider that got cob webs stuck on his feet and then shuffled through dust bunnies. I put him on an out door mat that seemed to help him scrape it off. He can keep living outside.

Laser Pointers: Supposedly there are some spiders that respond to laser pointers. I have not been able to observe this, but you can bet I am going to test every spider I catch. I understand the affected spiders are the small jumpy kind. Imagine being able march a few spiders around with a laser- kind of like a pied piper.

Mint: This is one claim I have been able to verify. Spiders avoid mint. I dabbed a bit of mint oil on a door frame and chased a spider up the frame. He made a clear detour around the mint oil. Having a spider repellent is good for keeping the hunting types away from your bed at night.

If you have any success with laser pointers or other spider experiments, I would love to hear about them.

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