How to Kill Spiders Without Bug Spray

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While spiders might look a bit menacing, most actually benefit humans by helping to keep pest insect populations under control. Despite this, most people don't enjoy finding eight-legged arthropods crawling around their homes or dangling by threads right over their heads. If you see a spider, don't automatically reach for a can of bug spray. The chemicals don't work very effectively on spiders and aren't good for people or pets. If you can't bring yourself to scoop them up in a jar and free them outside, get rid of spiders using mechanical methods or a natural pesticide solution.

Squish Them

Instead of using a toxic bug spray to kill a single spider, simply crush it with a shoe, flyswatter or rolled up newspaper. Sweep up and discard the carcass right away so it doesn't attract other types of household pests.

Vacuum Them

Sweeping or vacuuming up spiders typically kills the fragile creatures. Promptly discard vacuum bags or empty out canisters in an outdoor trashcan, particularly if you suck up webbing along with the spider. Webs often house egg sacs, and each sac can contain up to 300 baby spiders just waiting to get out. The eggs can hatch inside of your vacuum cleaner, and then you'll have hundreds of tiny arachnids escaping out into your house.

Dust Them

Diatomaceous earth is a dust made from the fossils of microscopic aquatic creatures. DE dust particles have sharp edges that cut spiders, which causes the arachnids to die from dehydration.

Mother Earth News recommends applying a thin, even layer of food grade DE dust along baseboards, windowsills and any little cracks and crevices around windows and doorways to kill spiders coming into your home.

Tip

    • DE is only effective when dry, so reapply at least once a week in humid environments.
    • Re-dust surfaces after vacuuming.

Warning

    • DE dust can irritate the throats and nasal passages of sensitive people, so wear a face mask and keep people and pets away from dusted areas.
    • Don't be tempted to use thick layers of DE dust, because this can make spiders avoid the treated areas altogether and move to other, untreated parts of your home.

Spritz Them

Certain essential oils help get rid of spiders. The most effective oils contain eugenol, a component of cloves that works by interrupting a neurotransmitter found only in insects, according to the Clemson Cooperative Extension. Although it works quickly, eugenol is only effective if you make direct contact.

According to the Monterey Bay Spice Company, the following essential oils contain eugenol:

• Lemon balm
• Basil
• Cinnamon
• Star anise
• Nutmeg

You can make your own nontoxic bug spray from essential oils:

Step 1

Place five to 10 drops of your chosen essential oil into a 16 oz. spray bottle.

Step 2

Add a small squirt of mild liquid dish soap.

Step 3

Fill the bottle the rest of the way with warm tap water and shake it well to combine the ingredients.

Step 4

Spray the solution directly on the spider and its web.

Tip

  • The essential oil solution also works well as a repellent. Simply spray around possible entry points, including around windows and doors. Respray every two or three days to keep the repellent active.

Warning

  • Essential oils can spot or stain fabric, so test the solution on a small, unnoticeable section of upholstery or carpet before treating the entire surface.

Release Them

More than 3,000 species of spiders live in North America, and most pose no danger to people or pets. If you're okay with getting close to arachnids, consider trapping and releasing spiders outdoors so they can get rid of more insects for you. Simply place a container over the spider, slide a stiff sheet of paper beneath the glass and carry it outside. Find a nice spot away from your house, preferably near shrubs or in a flowerbed where it has a better chance of surviving. Then set the paper on the ground and carefully tilt the glass toward you to release the spider.

Tip

    • If the spider doesn't come out on its own, just leave the container there and come back for it later.
    •  Wear gloves if you're squeamish. 

Warning

    • Never, ever try to trap or handle a spider that might be venomous. It's a good idea to learn which spiders in your area are potentially dangerous.
    • If you, a family member or a pet is bitten by a spider, you need to take it with you to the doctor, vet or emergency room to be identified. The bite of a poisonous spider needs immediate medical attention.

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