All rationality aside, spiders give me the willies like almost no other creature on Earth. And despite what you've heard, size simply doesn't matter. I don't care if it's a John Holmes spider or a Papa Smurf spider—if its overabundance of legs are bringing it towards me, my reasonable number of legs are taking me away from it. Sad thing is, I know there's very little chance they'll bite me. Even if they do, chances are even slimmer that anything of consequence will come from it. It all comes down to the idea of the thing; spiders are creepy. Period.
I'm not gonna bore you with all the reasons why you shouldn't kill spiders because you don't care, and I don't blame you. There are around 3,500 different species of spider in North America and most of them can lay in excess of two hundred eggs at a time. Do you really want two hundred more spiders wandering around? Didn't think so. Not only does this article overview some of the most common (and some of the most dangerous) spiders in the house, yard, and garden, but it also teaches you some of the most effective strategies you can employ to get rid of spiders in general, regardless of species.
Common Spiders & Spider Control
How to get rid of wolf spiders. Wolf spiders are among the most common spiders that people see. This is because they don't hide out and wait for prey to come to them; they actively seek it out. The best way to kill wolf spiders both inside and outside is to wait until night, go outside (or stay inside and turn out the lights), and shine a flashlight around. When the light hits the eyes of a wolf spider, they will shine like beacons of death. Once you've spotted the spider, dispatch it how you will. There are numerous pesticides available that will work (just read some labels), or you can squash 'em with a stick.
How to get Rid of brown recluse spiders. While their necrotic venom is the stuff of horror stories, these spiders didn't get their name by accident. They prefer to hide out alone, play solitaire all day long, and eat pork & beans from the can. Unfortunately, they do sometimes wander indoors. Get rid of brown recluse spiders by keeping clutter picked up (clothes, newspapers, boxes, etc.), storing unused items in bins with tight-fitting lids, and by applying pesticides (Cynoff EC, Demon WP, pyrethrins) in areas where they might be found (dark, quiet areas such as under beds, behind furniture, and in closets) and around your house's perimeter (Spectracide Triazicide).
How to get rid of black widow spiders. Getting rid of black widows is almost exactly like getting rid of spiders of any other species. Keep the kitchen clean so you're not inviting in other pests that spiders would like to eat, don't give spiders places to hide in your house (e.g., pick up clutter and store unused items properly), and quit giving them access to you home (fix window screens, plug cracks and holes in the side of your house, install door sweeps, etc.). If you want to hunt them down, do it at night (inside and out) with a flashlight, and poke 'em with a stick if you see one. If you miss and it falls to the ground, stomp it. Don't like the stick idea? Pick up a can of spray pesticide.
How to get rid of hobo spiders. The surprising thing about getting rid of hobo spiders is that...Surprise! There is no surprise. Reducing clutter, improving storage, and making sure there's no food messes around that attract pests that hobo spiders find delicious should be the first things you do. Once done with the basics, find current and potential harborages, empty them and make them inaccessible to would-be occupants. Finally, head outdoors, plug any wholes or cracks that they may be using to gain access to your home, and clear away all the things from the outside of your house that make hobo spiders feel comfortable enough to hang out there (vegetation, shutters, etc.). If they're not chillin' on the outside of the house, they're less likely to find their way inside. Click the first sentence of this paragraph for an entire article (info on pesticides included) dedicated to the getting rid of hobo spiders.
How Do You Get Rid of Spiders?
There are lots of things you can do to get rid of spiders of all species that, when used in conjunction with each other, will put a huge dent in your spider population. Protect yourself when spider-proofing your home and yard: wear shoes, long pants with the legs tucked into your socks, a long-sleeved shirt (also tucked in), and gloves.
- Keep a clean house. Keep dishes, counters, and tables clean and floors swept and vacuumed. Little bits of food will lure in other pests that will make spiders want to come in, stay in, and eat them.
- Reduce clutter. Clutter provides hiding places for spiders. Keep all laundry picked up and don't leave newspapers and magazines around. Use common sense. If it's on the floor and shouldn't be there, pick it up. Oh, and quit storing wood inside.
- Use proper storage methods. Store items (blankets, clothing, etc.) not being used in plastic bins with tight-fitting lids. Don't use cardboard boxes. They're too easy for spiders to get into.
- Control moisture levels. Fix leaky faucets and pipes, insulate water pipes to avoid condensation, and set up some dehumidifiers.
- Kill spiders with a broom. Use a broom indoors to squash spiders and their egg sacs. Pay special attention to corners at the floor and the ceiling as well as behind furniture.
- Don't allow spiders in. Caulk around all wires, cables, and faucets entering your house as well as around electrical components like lights and outlets. Fix holes in screens, affix insect screening to your vents, fix cracks in the foundation, and install door sweeps. For more tips, read our article on home pest control.
- Change outdoor lighting. Outdoor lights attract the bugs that attract the spiders. Either don't use outdoor lighting or switch to yellow sodium lights.
- Clear vegetation away from the house. Vegetation provides shelter for spiders. Move all plants away from the house, trim trees and bushes, remove English Ivy, and get rid of the mulch.
- Dispose of outdoor debris piles. This includes rocks, brush, wood, and leaves.
- Change the habitat of known spider harborages. If you've seen a spider there once, you'll see one there again unless you make that spot uninhabitable to spiders. Add light, remove whatever was making them feel safe, and plug any holes/cracks that they may have been hiding in.
- Kill spiders with pesticides. There are numerous pesticides (both chemical and natural) available that work great for killing spiders. See individual articles (linked to from the first sentence of each paragraph in the middle section of this page) for advice on what pesticides to use and how best to use them.