Loudoun County Master Gardeners

Seasonal Alerts

Home Invaders: Spiders, Crickets, Lady Beetles, Boxelder Bugs

Description:  Spiders are small, hairy creatures with two body parts and eight legs.  They do not have antennae.  They produce either tangled webs or spiral orb webs.  Most spiders are not harmful but those that are harmful eject venom from small fangs. 

Poisonous Spiders in Virginia :  There are two poisonous species of spiders found in Virginia :  the Black Widow and Wolf or Brown Recluse (see links below for more information on these spiders).  The Black Widow is the more common of the two.

Black Widow Spider Brown Recluse Spider

Benefits: Spiders are natural predators of insects and other spiders.

Problems: Spiders are the biggest nuisance to home owners once the weather begins to turn cool.  In the Fall, spiders begin to look for warm places to live such as around doors, windows, garages, house plants, and basements.

Management: The Pest Management Guide published by The Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia Tech makes the following recommendations.

Prevention Spiders can be successfully kept out of the house by careful screening, secure caulking, etc. 

  Pesticide* Repellents for personal protection.  Microencapsulations and wettable powder formulations for treating surfaces.  PLEASE, ALWAYS REMEMBER TO READ PACKAGE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE USING ANY CHEMICAL.

Application

Indoors:  Remove spiders, egg sacs, and webs with a vacuum.  Seal and dispose of the bag immediately.  Appropriately labeled dusts may be used if desired.

Outdoors:  remove clutter and debris in the yard where spiders can hide.  Turn off outdoor lights at night.  Lights attract insects that spiders use as food.

*Master Gardener Note:  Use of non-chemical methods is always the most desirable way to manage pests.

Black Widow Spiders: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/444/444-422/444-422.html

Wolf/Brown Recluse Spiders: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/3104/3104-1586/3104-1586.html

General Spider Information: http://insected.arizona.edu/spiderinfo.htm

Crickets, Lady Beetles, Boxelder Bugs