There are over 40,000 species of spiders worldwide and the U.S. is home to a couple thousand species. Lifespans vary, but on average, most house spiders have a life cycle of about a year or two. In optimal conditions, spiders can live several years. Spiders can also survive for some time without feeding.
Most spiders are beneficial and you shouldn’t be concerned about a few living inside your house — they eat a variety of other insects, including other arachnids. In the U.S., the only spiders you should worry about in your house are brown recluse spiders and black widows.
All spiders are venomous, but brown recluse and black widow spiders can be dangerous to humans, especially small children. Luckily, they seek out neglected areas of the house to build their nests, so you’re not likely to disturb them. If you suspect you have either of these spiders in your home, it’s best to call pest control to take care of the problem for you.
How Long do Spiders Live?
The term “house spider” refers to a multitude of spider species that you commonly see inside your home — and each has their own traits and life expectancy. Some species live longer than others, but most of the spiders you’ll find in your house have a one- to two-year life cycle.
Mating practices and the availability of resources also plays a role. After mating, most males die and sometimes the female actually kills the male.
Fun Fact: Number 16, a female trapdoor spider in Australia lived to be 43 years old.
Lack of food will not immediately spell death for spiders — some have been kept alive for two years without feeding. Generally speaking though, without food and water, house spiders only survive for around 1 to 2 months.
Spider Life Cycle
Eggs: Female spiders lay a few dozen eggs at a time and most encase their eggs in a silk egg sac. It takes a few weeks for the eggs to hatch, and some female spiders will guard the sac until that happens, while others will leave shortly after laying the eggs. Egg sacs are usually stored in dark, secluded areas in the house, like cellars, basements and garages.
Spiderlings: Spiderlings (baby spiders) resemble smaller versions of adults. Once they emerge from their sacs, they usually disperse. Some release silken threads they use to catch and ride the wind, called ballooning.
Spiderlings will molt between 3 and 10 times before they reach maturity. Molting is the process of shedding the exoskeleton, or hard outer covering, and is how spiders grow.
Adult Spiders: Most adult spiders no longer molt once they reach maturity, though some species continue to molt throughout their lives. Adult spiders will mate and begin the life cycle over again, building nests and laying eggs.
How to get Rid of Spiders
You may have heard the saying “You’re never more than a few feet from a spider.” While the saying would be more accurate if it included arachnids as a whole, rather than just spiders, you probably have more spiders in your house than you know.
And while most house spiders are beneficial, killing other household pests like flies, that doesn’t mean you want to be overrun either.
Spiders are prolific — laying dozens to hundreds of eggs at a time which makes targeting egg sacs an important part of controlling spider populations in your home. Here are a few way to keep them out:
Keep a clean house. Regular cleaning is the number one way to eliminate spiders and their nests and keep them out of living areas. Regularly vacuum and sweep up webs and egg sacs you find inside and dispose of them outside. Pay special attention to the corners of your ceilings and in dark areas, like under beds and inside closets.
Some spiders, like brown recluse spiders and black widows (both can be dangerous to humans), will build their nests under boxes in dark corners of neglected areas — like storage closets and attics and basements. Regularly vacuuming in these areas will discourage them from living there since they prefer areas where they won’t be disturbed.
You can also prevent nests outside by regularly cleaning up yard debris and other clutter that spiders might use as nesting areas. Stacked wood is another attractive nesting spot for many spiders. Regularly moving firewood around can keep spiders from using wood stacks.
Prevent them from getting in. Install tight-fitting screens on windows and exterior doors as well as door sweeps. You should also seal up any cracks in your walls and floorboards.
You can also spray insecticides outside to create a barrier for spiders. It won’t keep them out for good, so you should spray seasonally or have pest control spray for you.
Use traps. Sticky traps can be used to catch and eliminate spiders inside. Put them out before bed in areas spiders use and clean them up in the morning.
If you think you have either brown recluse spiders or black widow spiders, you should call pest control for help exterminating. Bites from these two spiders can be dangerous, especially for children.
Spiders are everywhere, including inside your house. You’ve probably seen one today. And while a few spiders inside can help control the populations of other undesirable insects, like flies, you probably don’t want to share your home with every spider that makes it inside.
Keeping spider populations inside your house under control is all about disturbing areas they find attractive by cleaning, using traps and blocking access. If you think you have a bigger problem than you can handle, like a brown recluse or black widow problem, call professional pest control services to help you!