large brown house spider in a pittsburgh home

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A recent study shows that spiders in urban areas are getting larger. Yikes! As it turns out, spiders like the city life. Not for the same reasons we do. They don't come for the nightlife, or the great job opportunities. They come to eat bugs; lots of them and they're thriving.

According to PLOS ONE--an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication--spiders in urban centers are growing at a startling rate, specifically the Orb-weaver, known for its signature wheel-shaped webs. In a study, where 222 samples of spider were tested, researchers discovered that city spiders are growing faster than country spiders. Much faster. They cite high temperatures and an abundance of bugs, as the reason why. But this isn't a cause for public panic, at least not yet. We're not talking about eight foot spiders crawling through the city streets. But they're pretty big and big equals gross.

If you've noticed that the spiders have gotten larger, now you know, it's not your imagination. They actually are and that is even more reason to keep them out of your home. Here are a few practical ways you can discourage spiders from visiting you, uninvited.

  • Don't give them a reason to be in your yard.

  • Spiders eat bugs, and the fewer bugs you have flying around, the fewer spiders you'll get. Keep your trash in sealed cans, to discourage flies. Don't leave fruit lying about. This will keep fruit flies away. Change your white outside lights to yellow lighting. Light attracts bugs, and spiders make webs near lights, to lure the bugs in. Don't leave food or drink lying about. And if you have an outside spigot, make sure you have no leaks. Bugs need something to drink as well.

  • If you have clutter near the wall of your home, get rid of it. Spiders lay eggs in outside, overgrown, clutter. If these spiders lay eggs near your home, you'll have hundreds of baby spiders looking for a way to get inside.

  • They also like to lay eggs in moist areas, so if you have any damp soil, especially under steps, decks, or patios, lay down some gravel to discourage spiders from getting too cozy.

  • If you find any webs hanging around near your home, use a broom, mop, or vacuum, to get rid of them. It is okay to have spiders making a web in a nearby tree, or on a telephone pole, because they eat mosquitoes. But get rid of any that are close to your home, because you're inviting them to explore inside.

  • Make sure your home is sealed.

  • Spiders, even large spiders, can slip in through very small cracks. Look for gaps around your air conditioning unit, pipes, outlets, and meters, and use caulking to seal them up. Check your door and window screens for damage, and replace them if necessary. Put window grade screen over your vents, and other possible entry points. And, have a professional spray your exterior walls, so spiders don't want to crawl on them. This limited and localized use of pesticides is the added protection you'll need to avoid infiltration.

Keep those spiders outside and away from the house. They have an important job: eating bugs. With these few tips, there is no reason why you can't cohabitate, that is of course, until they get to be eight feet. Then it is time to take out the flamethrower, bazooka, and machine gun, and take back our city!

 

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