The Real Reason Your House Has Spiders (and How To Get Rid of Them)

Despite the fake cobwebs and fun, sparkly spiders people love to put up every Halloween, no one seems to like the real thing. Plastic arachnids might bring a smile, but barely glimpsed, eight-legged critters scurrying across your bedsheets evoke entirely different emotions—from annoyance to existential terror.

We get it! But while many people are afraid of spiders, the creepy critters are usually a benign presence in your home, and one of the easier pests to get rid of.

We spoke to spider and pest experts to get all the details on why these insects enter our homes and how to eliminate them. Here’s everything you need to know to make your house spider-free (except for decorative purposes) this season.

Why does my house have spiders?

If you’re one of those people who have true arachnophobia, you might want to stop reading now— because you’re definitely not going to like what entomologist Nancy Troyano, of Ehrlich Pest Control, has to say.

“Only 5% of the spiders you see inside have been outside,” she says. “Most of the spiders you see around your house have probably been living there for a while.”

They also tend to come out of their hiding places in fall and spring to mate. So if you’re suddenly seeing more spiders in your home, it doesn’t mean they’ve invaded. You’re just finally becoming aware of them.

As for what keeps these unwanted housemates hanging around, it’s simple enough: food. And in the case of spiders, that means other bugs. So having them around can actually control the numbers of other insects in your home.

“Spiders will always prefer making a home in a quiet and calm environment where they can live undisturbed, and have access to food and warmth,” says Natalie Barrett of Nifty Pest Control. “They also feel safer in cluttered spaces. In homes, their most preferred areas include garages, basements, storage rooms, and attics.”

Besides cozy clutter and an ample supply of bugs, spiders are also attracted to warm and humid environments, like bathrooms.

cluttered attic
Spiders love cluttered spaces like this attic.

c_taylor/iStock

The good news about indoor spiders

There’s good news for spider haters—sort of. Despite how repellent they may look, most indoor spiders won’t actually hurt you.

“The vast majority of common house spiders rarely, if ever, bite people,” says Ed Spicer, CEO of Pest Strategies. “Out of the 40,000 spider species on Earth, about 12 can hurt you.”

In fact, in the U.S. there’s really only two types you need to worry about: the brown recluse (brown with a fat body and skinny legs) and the black widow (black with a distinctive red hourglass mark on its back).

“Black widow and brown recluse bites are rarely lethal to humans,” says Spicer, “but they could very well require medical attention.”

How to get rid of spiders

While spiders are apparently a benevolent force in your home, keeping the bug population under control, the reality is that most of us don’t want them around.

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Why House Democrats have good reason to be anxious about no coronavirus relief deal

Vulnerable House Democrats have to go home to conservative-leaning districts — places like Oklahoma, New Mexico and South Carolina — where they won’t be bearing unemployment help, or another stimulus check, or funding to help small businesses and schools and community hospitals. What they passed in May doesn’t put money in their constituents’ hands.

“The members are really concerned they have to go home and face voters who say, ‘This is my No. 1 need,’ and have nothing to offer,” said a Democratic strategist talking to vulnerable lawmakers and their staffs, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share private conversations.

That frustration is leaking out publicly. The Post’s Erica Werner reported that one vulnerable House Democrat privately told leadership “that she wanted to do her ‘goddamn job’ and deliver a deal for her constituents.”

Democrats passed a $3.5 billion package for all this, but it was back in May, and voters’ memories are short. Republicans dismissed it as wish list including things that have nothing to do with coronavirus.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) held firm on that legislation, eventually coming down to about $2 trillion, but strongly indicating that’s the bottom. She reportedly urged her members not to be a “cheap date.”

Now it feels like the ball is back in Democrats’ court, and Pelosi seems to know it. She said Tuesday she would keep the House in session until a deal is reached. (Although it looks like members will actually still be able to go home in October to campaign, knowing they may be called back on short notice.)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers came out with a bill this week for $1.5 trillion in aid that neither party’s leaders are taking seriously, but it further shows how anxious lawmakers are to at least try to come to a solution. Here’s one of those lawmakers pushing it on Twitter:

Absent a breakthrough in negotiations between Pelosi and the White House, many of the proposals you hear about will be more for show than action. One idea circulating in the House is to pass individual bills, like new business loans, or unemployment help, just to show to Americans that House Democrats are still trying to help.

But would that be enough to help House Democrats politically? The Democratic strategist again: “The hurt of coronavirus is so large that I’m not hearing from members they want to just pass one thing so they can run. They want to pass good legislation, because it’s not just a political messaging issue. People in their districts are going hungry and facing evictions and small businesses are crumbling.”

There’s not a lot of high-quality polling on how people feel about a lack of a coronavirus deal, and which party they blame. But it’s fair to say that suburban voters don’t like Washington dysfunction. And Republicans feel like they’re in a place this fall to argue its Democrats who are being intransigent.

“Ultimately Pelosi is speaker of the House, and she is choosing

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