Spiders are often considered the least harmful group of arthropods that are commonly found indoors. In fact, many pest control professionals find it inappropriate to refer to house spiders as “pests,” as spiders are rarely a nuisance in homes and only a few species are known for being harmful to humans. Many entomologists and pest control professionals even promote the indoor presence of spiders, as their habit of preying upon insects makes homes less hospitable to insect invaders, such as ants, flies and stink bugs. However, many common house spiders create an abundance of indoor webs that can become a nuisance within houses, especially within low-traffic areas like basements, attics, garages, sheds and barns. In some cases, structural imperfections provide spiders with easy access into homes, leading to an abundance of indoor arachnid pests. Of course, some spiders are just too frightening in appearance to be tolerated within homes. For example, relatively large and hairy wolf spiders are the most commonly encountered spiders within homes, as they hunt insect prey by constantly moving about on residential properties where they inadvertently wander into homes.

While wolf spiders are generally shy around humans, and do not produce harmful venom, the northern black widow and the yellow sac spider are two potentially dangerous species that inhabit Massachusetts. Luckily, black widows are rarely spotted near or within human dwellings in the state, but the yellow sac spider is a common home invader in Massachusetts where they frequently inflict unprovoked bites to humans. Common house spiders, like cellar spiders and cobweb spiders can become uncomfortably numerous within homes, but taking a vacuum to indoor spider harborages and webs is often sufficient to eliminate minor infestations. In order to make a home inhospitable to spiders, residents should minimize indoor clutter and regularly vacuum and clean indoor areas where spiders often hide, such as behind furniture, bookshelves, along baseboards and around indoor potted plants. If these measures fail to eliminate spiders from a home, pest control professionals may apply minimal amounts of insecticide to corners, baseboards, inside storage closets and especially in crawl spaces where professionals can locate entry points where spiders crawl into homes. Using chemicals to rid spiders from a home is a task best left to professionals, as many store-bought products, mainly bug bombs, may contaminate indoor heating and ventilation ducts.

Have you ever contacted a pest control company and/or extension service concerning indoor spider issues?