I often talk to people who are worried because their house is full of small spiders. Sometimes there are only a few dozen of these tiny creatures, however, it’s not uncommon to see hundreds of them either.
Although the vast majority of spiders that you may find in your home are harmless, they can be annoying once they start appearing all over the place.
The most likely reason for having loads of tiny spiders in your house is that an adult female spider previously laid a large number of eggs in a hidden corner of your home and those eggs have hatched recently. Sometimes spiders come from the outside, especially when the outdoor environment is unfavorable.
In this article, I’ll not only share my experiences but also give you all the information you need to know if you’re dealing with a disturbing number of spiders in your home.
Where Do These Tiny Spiders Come From?
In general, spiders can be divided into two big groups.
Some species are completely adapted to indoor life. Most of them are born indoors and live their whole life there. These spiders usually don’t survive outdoors.
The members of the other group are those species that primarily live in a natural environment. These spiders rarely appear inside a building because they survive much better outside.
In most cases, when you see a lot of tiny spiders inside your house, chances are good that they are from a species that lives indoors.
These spiders (unlike bugs or ants) are not coming from a distant place. They have always been there in your home.
In fact, it’s pretty rare that suddenly loads of spiders move into your house from the outside. A female spider might place the egg sac close to the window (or door) and some of the newborn spiders may start migrating inside, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
Unless they have to deal with harsh weather conditions, those that already live outdoors, prefer to stay there.
Of course, sometimes a spider or two might wander in through the window or cracks but it’s unlikely that a bunch of spiders would do that at the same time.
So if you find a lot of little spiders, your first job should be to look for egg sacs and remove all of them to prevent unhatched eggs from hatching in the room. Of course, you can also remove the tiny spiders using a vacuum cleaner or a sticky trap (or a piece of paper).
Here’s a baby spider in the bathroom of one of my clients:
Why Are There So Many of Them?
Having a large number of spiders in a house for a long time usually means that there’s a lot of food there. By food, I mean other insects, such as flies, mosquitos, ants, etc.
Sometimes the presence of spiders may call the attention to an underlying insect infestation. An invasion of spiders on a place never happens by chance.
Besides the abundance of food, a tough outdoor environment could be another reason for mass migration to an indoor area.
Last but not least, dozens or hundreds of tiny spiders at the same place or relatively close to each other suggests that they’ve just hatched from the eggs.
Although this scenario is associated with the largest number of spiders, I don’t necessarily call this a spider infestation because most of them won’t survive too long. So their presence is temporary in this case.
What Attracts Spiders?
Simply put, food and shelter. The abundance of insects and bugs strongly attracts spiders as readily available food sources are essential for both reproduction and survival. Also, dark and cluttered areas, hidden and secluded places are optimal habitats for most spiders.
Wet sites and house plants usually attract all kinds of insects, and as a consequence spiders will sooner or later appear in these places.
Are They Baby Spiders or Adult Ones? This Is How You Can Distinguish Them
The thing is that not all tiny spiders are the same.
If you see a tiny spider, there are two possibilities. You’re either dealing with
- a baby spider or
- an adult one of a species that only grows small.
This distinction is highly important. Baby spiders and tiny adult ones behave differently.
You must understand that almost all baby spiders are tiny in size after hatching regardless of the species. On the other hand, there are quite a few spider species that are pretty small even as adults.
Take this one for example:
It’s an adult American house spider. It can be found in most households and has a body size of about 0.2 in. By the way, it’s completely harmless.
Let’s get back to baby spiders.
When spider eggs hatch, hundreds of newborn spiders come to life. Therefore, right after hatching, you’ll see a large number of tiny spiders around the egg sac. However, those little spiders will disperse in no time to find their own territory in the house.
How do you know if you’re dealing with baby spiders?
There are two easy ways to confirm that you have baby spiders hanging around.
If you find an egg sac and notice little spiders coming out of it, well done, you’ve just identified the source of the spiders.
Here’s what an egg sac looks like:
It can be small like a coin or as big as a golf ball. Usually, it has the same size as the female spider that built it. It’s similar to cotton wool and consists of silky material.
Egg sacs are usually placed in dark and hidden corners, attached to a piece of furniture, ceilings, walls, fixtures, pipes, or leaves of a plant. Often they’re covered with or surrounded by the web.
If you can’t find any egg sacs, but see a lot of spiders in one place that strongly suggests that those are all baby spiders. Adult spiders never come together in the same place. In case of an infestation, you’ll see spiders all over the place but they will never gather in one place.
The good news (at least for you) is that most baby spiders die within a short time. They can’t find enough food or other spiders or insects eat them. Only a few stay alive in the long run. Therefore, in this case, you don’t really have to worry about a large spider infestation.
Should You Be Concerned About Spiders In Your House?
The vast majority of species that you can find in a house are completely harmless to humans (unless you’re allergic to spider bites).
Tiny spiders can rarely bite through the outer layer of skin and they tend to steer clear of humans. While venomous spiders exist, they’re relatively uncommon compared to other species (more on dangerous spiders later).
If larger spiders are also present in your home, further steps may need to be taken. In that case, make sure you also check out this guide.
Most spiders are predators, therefore they eat all kinds of insects, such as mosquitos, ants, flies, moths, fleas, and drain flies. Spiders are not really considered pests because they usually do more good than harm. Most of them are useful creatures given their number is limited.
Here are the most common spiders that you can find in your home:
- American house spider (aka common house spider). It’s a small spider with a rounded abdomen and quite long legs that has a darker (usually brownish or grayish) color. It weaves a tangled web (this is why it’s a type of cobweb spider) where the female places its egg sac.
- Jumping spiders. Yes, they really can jump. They’re often smaller than half an inch and have a darker color. They have short hairy legs of which the front ones are longer. They don’t build traditional webs to catch their victims.
- Grass spiders. They usually spend their time outdoors, however, it’s not uncommon to find them in the house. They’re usually smaller than an inch and have an oval-shaped body with long legs. They’re similar to common house spiders.
- Hobo spider. It’s brown in color and usually has a size of an inch or so. They mainly can be found at ground level in dark and hidden places. Bites can usually cause only mild symptoms.
- (Yellow) Sac spiders. Their presence inside properties usually becomes more common during the colder months. They have a pale color (often yellow) and a body size of 1/4 inch. Their bites can be painful but not life-threatening.
- Orb-weaver spider. It’s often brightly colored (with yellowish patterns) and it builds a spiral web, hence the name. It rarely gets inside as it mainly lives in the yard. Although it can bite you, it won’t cause real harm in most cases.
- Daddy longlegs. They can be easily recognized by their extremely long legs and small bodies. They’re harmless.
- Wolf spider. It mainly lives outdoors but sometimes may wander inside, especially in the autumn. It has a dark hairy body and it’s barely larger than an inch. It doesn’t weave a web to catch its victims.
Important: Brown Recluse spider and Black Widow are the two species that can cause a really severe, sometimes life-threatening injury. More on them in the next section.
FYI – Although spider mites are relatives of spiders and are considered to be arachnids, they’re extremely tiny (smaller than 0.05 in). They’re not predators but attack plants, both indoors and outdoors. They can do a lot of damage to plants, therefore their extermination is recommended (this way larger infestations can be prevented).
Are These Spiders Dangerous?
Most probably not. There are only a handful of venomous spiders that pose a real threat to humans. In fact, Black Widow and Brown Recluse are the only spiders in the US whose bites can be life-threatening or fatal.
Here’s what they look like:
In general, spiders don’t attack people for no reason. In fact, they’re pretty shy. They usually become more aggressive only when they feel trapped. So you don’t really have to be afraid of bites unless you scare a spider by trying to make some kind of physical contact with it.
Also, most spiders only use their venom for hunting and not for self-defense. Even so, you should never use your bare hands to remove or catch them. If any spider bites you, ask for professional advice or help. Better safe than sorry.
(How) Should You Get Rid of Them?
It can be tempting to remove each and every spider from your house (and make it a spider-free area), however, in most cases, it’s not really necessary.
- Spiders don’t like to be near each other and they protect their territory from other spiders. Therefore, the number of spiders (unlike most other pests) in a house is limited.
- They eat all kinds of tiny insects that often can be pretty useful. This way they contribute to pest control. When there are few or no insects inside the house, spiders will soon disappear.
- Most species are not a threat to humans.
- Even if you get rid of them all, new ones can easily get inside through cracks or open windows.
So should you really get rid of all spiders in your house?
In most cases, it’s hardly possible to permanently remove and keep all spiders away from a house (unless you regularly use all kinds of insecticides), and in fact, it’s completely unnecessary.
What you should do instead is to keep their number under control.
How can you do that?
It’s simple. Declutter the house (don’t skip the basement and the garage either), vacuum regularly, and keep garbage outside to prevent bugs and other insects from appearing inside the property.
This way you can effectively deprive spiders of shelter and food. Also, make sure you check your property for webs and egg sacs and remove them regularly. These measures usually solve the spider problem in the long term.
To immediately get rid of spiders, you can use a vacuum cleaner, glue board, spider repellent spray, or some kind of non-toxic pesticide.
Putting It All Together
It’s not uncommon to see dozens of tiny spiders in a room or house. In most cases, it’s only a temporary situation: usually, an egg sac has hatched and the newborn spiders haven’t found their own territory yet.
The number of spiders in a building is always proportional to the number of other insects. When there’s a shortage of food (due to regular cleaning, for example), the number of spiders will decrease on its own.
Most spiders that you’ll find in your home are harmless and even venomous ones tend not to bite you unless you provocate them.
Spiders are useful animals, but if their presence bothers you, just use a vacuum cleaner, or if you’re dealing with a large infestation, use a local pest control service.