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How to deal with winter spiders in your home or cottage

Indoor spiders can be a year-round concern at the cottage, just like in many homes. Luckily, here in Canada there is really only one species that you need to worry about. The rest are a nuisance to have around, but they’re not actually harmful to humans or destructive to property. 

Here’s what you need to know about the presence of spiders in your home or cottage—and how you can get rid of them.

What are they?

Common spiders found in Canada include house spiders, wolf spiders, cellar spiders, and fishing or dock spiders. Cellar spiders have thin, extra-long legs, while wolf spiders are hairy and typically brown or gray in colour.

Black widow spiders—specifically, the northern black widow and western black widow species—are less common, especially in cottage country, but they’re the ones you want to watch out for. They’re a shiny black with a red marking on their abdomen, and female black widow spiders can be over 1.5 inches long (males are much smaller). 

What do they eat?

Mostly, spiders eat insects like mosquitos, ants, flies, and other spiders. Some trap these insects by building a web, while others, like wolf spiders, will actually hunt their prey. 

Where do they like to hide?

Every spider species has its own preferences. The long-legged, harmless cellar spider, for example, prefers cool, damp spaces like basements and cellars. House spiders like dark spots indoors, and black widow spiders will spin webs in quiet, secluded locations like garages and outhouses.

Are they dangerous?

The spiders you would typically see at the cottage are not harmful to humans. According to experts, there are around 1,500 species of spiders in Canada, and only a few would pose a threat to you, even if you come across them. 

Generally speaking, the spiders we have here rarely bite humans, don’t spread diseases, and can actually help control the population of pests like flies and mosquitoes. Black widow spiders are venomous, but experts say that they typically won’t bite unless they are disturbed or feeling threatened.

How can you get rid of them?

When you find a spider in your cottage, consider transporting it outside in a tissue or cup and letting it go back to nature. If you’re not comfortable doing that, sprays like Raid Max Spider Blaster Bug Killer and Raid Spider Blaster Bug Killer 6 will work on contact—you can use them as a spot treatment for spiders as well as more serious pests like ants, fleas, silverfish, and cockroaches.

It’s tough to get rid of indoor spiders completely, but you can reduce their numbers inside your cottage by removing any cobwebs and spider egg sacs that you spot, keeping your rooms clean and clutter free, properly storing food that may attract insects, and promptly repairing or sealing any gaps or holes in screens and window and door frames. Outside, consider trimming back or removing any tall plants, bushes, and tree branches that are brushing up against your home or cottage, and store firewood and construction materials away from exterior walls.