Spiders tend to receive negative attention for being the creepy crawlers we see in scary movies. However, out of the approximately 3,000 species of spiders in North America, only 10 to 20 make their way inside the home and only two groups – the recluse and widow spiders – are considered dangerous to humans. The house spider is the most common species, and despite spiders' bad reputation, the biggest threat it poses to humans is a bite that is usually less painful than a bee sting.
Spiders rarely bite, and if they do it's typically because they are startled or provoked. Often the most irritating thing about spiders is the sight of their dusty webs, but their presence could be a sign of a bigger pest problem.
“Spiders do not pose a significant risk to people or cause structural damage, but finding spiders in your home could mean that you may have an additional insect infestation,” says Alice Sinia, Ph.D., a resident entomologist with Orkin Canada. “Without other insects to feed on, such as flies and ants, spiders will relocate or die. Taking steps to prevent these pests from getting into your home will ensure spiders don't have a reason to make your home theirs.”
Dr. Sinia offers the following tips to help keep spiders and their favourite meal-time pests out of your home:
• Screen and seal potential entry points.
• Trim back vegetation around the exterior of your home.
• Keep landscaping well maintained, tidy and free of debris or junk.
• Remove clutter and debris.
• Vacuum and dust regularly to remove spider webs and egg sacs.
• Use sodium vapour lights rather than fluorescent lights outside your home.
Still spooked? Contact your pest management professional to help pest-proof your home.