Spiders may look scary, but they’re actually pretty good creatures to have around a green home. Their primary food source is insects, many of which are much more undesirable than the spiders themselves. Still, most of us prefer not to have them living in our houses. Pesticides are often effective at getting rid of spiders, but they can also be harmful to humans and their pet s. Besides, unless you have a major infestation, it’s better to let spiders live so that they can keep the insect population in check. Here’s how you can get spiders out of your home without killing them.

• Protect yourself. Most spiders are not poisonous, but a bite from a poisonous spider such the black widow spider or the brown recluse species constitutes a medical emergency. If you think you may be dealing with a poisonous spider, put on long sleeves and rubber gloves before attempting to catch it. And if you have had allergic reactions to spider or insect bites in the past, it’s a good idea to take these precautions even if you know the spider is not poisonous.

• Gather your supplies. You’ll need a glass or clear plastic cup or other small container and an index card.

• Place the cup over the spider. Approach the spider calmly, trying not to make any sudden movements so that you don’t scare it off. If possible, trap the spider by placing the rim of the cup against a flat surface.

• Maneuver the spider into the cup. If the spider is on a flat surface, you may be able to simply slide the index card underneath it and hold it onto the cup. Otherwise, use it to gently push the spider into the cup, then cover it with the index card.

• Take the spider outside and release it. Try to put it in an area where it will find plenty of insects to eat so that it will not feel the need to come back inside.

• Bug Catchers. If you don’t like the idea of getting so close to the spider using just a cup, you can purchase a Bug Catcher online which allows you to trap spiders or other bugs, and release them without getting too close. PETA offers one on their site and you can find a wide variety of “insect vacuums”, like the Bugbuster, on Amazon as well. These are very cool because it sucks up the bug through a long tube and then you can just take it outside and release it unharmed. If you frequently find spiders in your house, the best approach is to prevent them from entering in the first place. Here are some ways to do so without harming them.

• Close up their entrances. Avoid leaving doors and windows without screens open. Use caulk to close up any cracks or holes in walls, window casings and doorways.

• Use citrus based cleaners. If you can’t find where the spiders are coming in, you can repel them (and many insects) by using green home cleaning products containing citrus ingredients.

• Clean up around the outside of the house. Trash cans, piles of wood and other hiding places attract spiders, which could eventually find their way indoors. If you have vegetation close to your house, trim it so that it does not touch the outer walls.


Image courtesy of: Sonic Technology Products

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