Although they are an essential part of the balance of the natural ecosystem, spiders aren’t always the most welcome pests to have in your yard or outdoor spaces. Whether you’re trying to get rid of a venomous species for your safety, or you simply want to avoid encountering these creepy crawlies in your outdoor spaces, you have several options to get rid of spiders and keep them away for good.
Methods to get rid of spiders outside include using diatomaceous earth, sticky glue traps, or a chemical pesticide to kill them. To keep the spiders away from your yard, methods include removing their hiding spots, cleaning up your outdoor landscaping, and planting spider-repellent plants around your outdoor spaces.
In this guide, we have provided information on several types of spiders common in the US. Once you have identified the type of spider you’re dealing with, you can take the appropriate measures also explained in this article to get rid of them completely.
Common US Spider Identification
It’s important to first identify the type of spider that you’re dealing with in your yard to determine whether you’re dealing with a deadly species. Some types of spiders are harmless, while others have poisonous (and sometimes deadly) bites.
We have gone through eight of the most common types of spiders found in US yards below.
Wolf spiders are common to lawns throughout the US, being particularly prevalent in Texas, Missouri, and California. They live most of their lives burrowing underground. As they are nocturnal, they emerge at night to hunt for their preferred prey, which includes insects and other smaller spiders.
Wolf spiders are relatively small in size, growing to be ½ to 2 inches long. They are hairy and usually gray in color, having markings of brown to dark grey. They have two prominent eyes that shine in direct light.
To humans, wolf spiders have a non-deadly bite that can cause uncomfortable symptoms.
Brown Recluse Spider
Brown recluse spiders are common throughout the US. They tend to live in warm, dark, and dry environments, such as outdoor woodpiles or sheds.
Brown recluse spiders are ¼ to ½ inch in length. They are a tan to dark brown color and have a distinctive violin-shaped marking on their back.
Brown recluse spiders have a poisonous bite and will bite if provoked. Their venom can cause severe reactions in humans, particularly in young children and elderly people. A brown recluse bite can take several hours to show up, and may take over three weeks to fully heal.
Black Widow Spider
Black widow spiders are found throughout the world, with there being four species common in the US. They are drawn to dark, moist places, such as garden beds or outbuildings.
Black widow spiders are one of the most infamous types of spiders, meaning you will likely already be able to identify them. They have a jet-black body with a distinctive red hourglass marking on the underside of their abdomens.
Black widow spider bites are highly poisonous, having venom that is 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake. Although fatalities from a black widow bite are rare, the bite can cause nausea, breathing difficulties, and aching or cramping muscles.
Yellow Sac Spider
Yellow sac spiders are common throughout the eastern states in the US, being particularly prevalent in New England and the Midwest. They are primarily outdoor spiders, living in gardens and beneath debris such as compost or leaf piles. They actively hunt for prey at night.
Yellow sac spiders are relatively small, measuring to be about ¼ inch in length. They are a pale beige or yellow color, having accents of dark brown on the tips of their legs and fangs.
Yellow sac spiders do bite, but their bite is only mildly poisonous and rarely requires medical attention. Their bites can cause symptoms like painful lesions, and the bite site may become itchy and swollen.
Jumping spiders are present throughout the US, with there being about 300 different types across the country. They are so-called due to their impressive ability to jump.
Jumping spiders grow to be about ⅛ to ¾ inches in length. They are colored in tan, brown, or black, and typically have markings of pale brown or white.
Jumping spiders can bite, however, their bite contains no venom and therefore does not pose a risk to human health.
Hobo spiders are commonly found in the Pacific Northwestern area of the US, including Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Washington. They are named as such because they often live along railroad tracks. Hobo spiders are poor climbers, meaning they spend their lives at ground level. They are drawn to moist, dark places in your yard.
Hobo spiders have oblong bodies that grow to be about 1 to 1 ¾ inches in length. They are colored light brown to dark brown and have stripes along the center and sides of their body.
Hobo spiders do bite if provoked, but they only have a mild venom that causes minor pain and redness at the bite site.
Daddy Long Legs Spider
Daddy long legs spiders are primarily found in California. They tend to live beneath outdoor objects like logs, ledges, and rocks.
Daddy long legs have relatively small bodies and are easily distinguished by their long, skinny legs. They are colored in cream to pale brown, with some species having darker markings covering their abdomen and legs.
Daddy long legs are not able to bite humans as their fangs are too short. This is contrary to popular belief that they are a poisonous species of spider.
Grass spiders are commonly found in yards throughout the US. They build their webs among grass or landscaping, hunting their prey by lunging out of their nests to catch insects passing nearby.
Grass spiders have yellow to brown-colored bodies that have two black stripes running along either side of their abdomens.
Grass spiders do have a venomous bite to kill their prey, however, this venom is not strong enough to affect humans. They are a shy species of spider and will rarely go after humans unless they feel threatened.
What Attracts Spiders to a Yard?
Spiders are attracted to outdoor areas where they have an abundant source of food nearby. They are drawn to secluded, undisturbed places that provide the shelter they need to build their webs and breed.
Spiders will be drawn to your yard if it has available sources of their preferred food, i.e. insect populations. For instance, drain flies, bees, cockroaches, earwigs, moths, crickets, mosquitoes, and ants are all types of insects that spiders hunt and eat. Having a high presence of insects like these will draw more spiders into your yard.
Although spiders do not feed on organic matter like household waste or compost, they feed on the other insects that tend to amass around matter such as this.
Dark Secluded Areas
Spiders tend to congregate in dark, secluded areas where they are sheltered and undisturbed. Places like rocks, woodpiles, outbuildings, and outdoor sheds are all attractive spots for spiders to take up residence and breed.
Garden spaces filled with flourishing plants or shrubs also provide the sheltered areas that spiders like to live in. Some types of spiders are specifically attracted to fruits, so having these growing in your garden may be drawing more spiders in.
How to Get Rid of Spiders Outside
There are several measures you can take, natural and chemical, to get rid of spiders outside and keep them away. We have gone through your various options of spider control below.
Break Up Spider Webs
All types of spiders create webs, whether they’re for catching prey or just a home for the spider. Not only are these webs unsightly, but they also provide somewhere for the spiders to harbor other pests and reproduce. Breaking up the webs will get rid of spiders and discourage them from inhabiting your outdoor areas without harming or killing the spiders.
Method: Break up any spider webs that you can see around your yard, decking, or home exterior. If you’re unsure whether you’re dealing with a dangerous species, use a long broom to do this from a distance. Otherwise, you can do this with a gloved hand as long as you know there are no spiders on the web or if you’re dealing with a non-venomous species.
Kill Spiders Using Diatomaceous Earth
You can kill spiders outside by spreading diatomaceous earth powder around your yard and other outdoor spaces. Even though diatomaceous earth seems soft and powdery to us, it’s actually razor-sharp on a microscopic level. When spiders walk over the powder, the sharp particles pierce their legs and body. This in turn causes the spiders to become dehydrated, eventually causing them to die completely.
Method: Look around your yard and outdoor spaces for evidence of spider activity, such as their webs. Spread the diatomaceous earth in a thin layer around the spider hot spots that you have identified. Take care not to spread too thick of a layer of the diatomaceous earth -a light sprinkling will be sufficient to kill the spiders.
Kill Spiders Using Natural DIY Spray
Before reaching for the harsh chemicals, try making your own natural DIY spray to both kill spiders and keep them away from your yard. The main ingredient to this spray is white vinegar, which will dehydrate the spiders on contact, ultimately causing them to die. You can keep a bottle of this mixture on hand for when you need an on-the-spot spider killer.
Method: Combine water and white vinegar in equal parts in an empty spray bottle. Mix the solution by shaking the bottle vigorously. Identify where the spiders are congregating in your yard or outdoor spaces by looking for evidence of their activity. Spray your DIY spider killer throughout these areas, and directly onto any spiders you can see.
Kill Spiders Using Chemical Insecticide
You can use a range of chemical insecticides to kill spiders outside on contact. Take note that chemical insecticides can be damaging to other lawn-friendly species and the nearby environment. You should only use chemical means of spider control for severe infestations, highly deadly species, or when all other methods have failed.
Chemical insecticides kill spiders using ingredients that attack the pests’ nervous systems, causing them to die. They are available in dust, powder, or liquid formulations.
Dust Insecticide: Dust insecticide is best for use in hard-to-reach cracks and crevices.
Powder Insecticide: Powder insecticides are ideal for spot treatments and are best applied to the spiders directly. You can also spread these insecticides in your yard as a preventative measure to repel the spiders from treated areas.
Liquid Insecticide: Liquid insecticides in spray form enable you to protect larger areas of your yard from spiders. You can create a barrier with liquid insecticides by spreading them around the perimeter of the place you wish to repel spiders. Common liquid insecticides for outdoor use include Talstar P and Temprid SC.
Trap Spiders with Traps
You can use mouse glue traps or sticky insect traps to trap the spiders. This is a better option if you would prefer a more hands-off method to get rid of spiders outside of your home. Traps are typically available for purchase from any hardware or garden store.
Method: Place the traps anywhere that you have seen evidence of outdoor spider activity. This includes darker corners of your yard, areas that are wet or damp, or along crevices. Check the traps regularly, removing and disposing of them once they have trapped the spider/s.
How to Keep Spiders Away From Yard and Home
Once you have managed to get rid of spiders from your outdoor spaces, discourage them from returning by following the methods below.
Remove Spider Hiding Spots
Spiders are drawn to dark, secluded spots in your yard or garden that they can hide out in undisturbed. Removing these spots helps to reduce the places that they can live and breed in.
Method: To get rid of spiders and prevent them from moving back in, eliminate any places like this in your yard. This includes removing stacked flower pots, bricks, woodpiles, rock piles, brush piles, and compost heaps. Make sure to wear gloves and protective clothing when carrying this out to reduce the chance of being bitten.
Plant Spider Repellant Plants
Discourage spiders from your yard or garden naturally by planting spider-repellent plants. Spiders are sensitive to odors and will avoid areas that contain plants that give off strong aromas. You can use this to your advantage by strategically planting these plants around the outdoor areas that you wish to rid of spiders.
Examples of effective spider-repellent plants include:
- Lemon balm
- Lemon verbena
Overgrown trees, shrubs, and bushes will all encourage spiders to take up residence in your yard and may draw them into your home. To keep spiders away from your property, trim back your vegetation such as this, making sure that your bushes and shrubs are at least several feet away from the outside of your home or outbuildings. If you have a severe infestation, you may want to consider transplanting your trees, shrubs, and bushes further away from your property or removing them entirely.
Mow Lawn Frequently
This method is mainly for grass spiders, as this type of spider likes to take up residence in your lawn. By keeping up with a regular mowing schedule, you remove the sheltered conditions that grass spiders like to build their webs. As an extra tip to keep your lawn in optimal condition, make sure to mow to the best height for your grass type, only removing ⅓ of the grass blade’s total height at a time.
Is it Better to Keep Spiders in Your Yard?
Since you’re reading this article, you’re probably not keen on keeping the spiders in your yard. However, spiders play an essential role in the balance of the ecosystem; unless you’re dealing with a severe infestation of a deadly species, or you have a serious phobia of spiders, you should consider some of the reasons why you may want to keep these creatures in your yard.
Spiders Are a Natural Form of Insect Control
Spiders act as a natural form of pest control as they prey on a number of other unwanted pests in your yard, such as mosquitoes and ants. Without spiders, our ecosystem would be overrun with these pests. Before you get rid of spiders outside of your home, take into consideration that this may cause an influx in the populations of other pests that you want to keep out of your yard.
Spiders Are a Food Source for Other Species
Many other types of wildlife consume spiders as a food source. This includes other spiders, wasps, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. They play an essential role in the wider natural food chain; by getting rid of spiders, you’re taking away a food source from these other species.