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.
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.
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.
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.
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
• Star anise
You can make your own nontoxic bug spray from essential oils:
Place five to 10 drops of your chosen essential oil into a 16 oz. spray bottle.
Add a small squirt of mild liquid dish soap.
Fill the bottle the rest of the way with warm tap water and shake it well to combine the ingredients.
Spray the solution directly on the spider and its web.
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.