While most of WA’s house spiders are relatively harmless, there are a few species that can get quite aggressive when cornered.
Red-back, white-tailed, huntsman, mouse and wolf spiders are all commonplace in gardens, sheds and sometimes homes across the state. These species, alongside harmless garden orb weaving spiders and daddy long-legs, tend to migrate indoors in spring to find a comfortable spot for humid and dry summer months. To read more about common WA spider species and the risks they pose to humans, see the table at the end of this article.
While it is nearly impossible to eliminate every individual spider in your house, there are some easy and natural ways you can start to eradicate them.
Clean and declutter your home
As with any insect problem, the first step is to consistently dust and clean your home to prevent insects from entering. Spiders often reside in dark, warm places, so make sure you always keep your home clean and free of excess clutter, including areas hidden from view, such as behind or under furniture.
This also extends to your garden. Avoid keeping piles of firewood or other debris outside to prevent some spider species from building a web. It’s also wise to store your bins at least a few metres away from your house to prevent spiders slipping through cracks to enter your home.
Seal gaps around your home
To help prevent spiders from migrating indoors from your garden, it’s essential to seal any gaps between walls, underneath doors, or cracks in window frames to ensure there are no discrete access points.
Make sure you replace or fix torn window screens, and if possible, cover vents with a fine mesh material. Also, avoid leaving windows without screens open for long periods of time.
Get rid of spider webs
If you notice spider webs indoors or outdoors, you’ll need to act fast to remove them. If left unattended, other spiders can be attracted to the same areas to create their own webs, resulting in your population of spiders quickly multiplying.
If you spot webs anywhere in your home, use a vacuum cleaner to remove them. If they’re too high to easily reach, twist them around the end of a broom to remove them – a cobweb broom is ideal for this – then use a duster to clean up any excess silk. For webs in windows, spray water on and around them, then use a cloth to wipe away.
As spiders feed on insects (which are attracted to light sources), it’s important to turn lights off when they aren’t needed to limit gathering areas for all bugs. This is crucial for outdoor lighting, where bugs can congregate more easily. If your outdoor lights aren’t required, keep them turned off.
Spray peppermint oil
Considered ‘natural insecticides’, certain oils can repel spiders due to their strong odour. Because spiders smell and taste with their legs, spritzing natural oil (in particular, peppermint oil) on surfaces around your home can help deter spiders from sticking around.
To do this, add about 20 drops of peppermint oil to a spray bottle filled with water and spray it around your home’s spider-affected areas.
Be wary of what you bring inside
If you’re bringing items like shoes, clothing or toys indoors from outside, give them a good shake before carrying them in. Spiders can easily crawl into these items and be accidentally brought into the house. If you’re leaving shoes outside, it’s a good idea to place foam inserts inside them so spiders can’t crawl inside.
If you have permanent outdoor equipment like sports gear, shoes or bike helmets, store them in a secure plastic container so spiders can’t nestle in them.
|Species and appearance||Danger rating|
Females: Long front legs and two red or orange stripes, one on abdomen and one on underside.
Males: Smaller than females. Light brown body with white markings on upper abdomen, and faint red markings.
|Males are unable to bite humans due to their tiny fang size. Females are considered dangerously venomous, but are quite timid and will only bite if disturbed. If bitten, apply an ice pack to the area and seek medical attention.|
Medium-sized, grey or black body with a white patch on the tip of their abdomen.
|Bites cause initial burning pain followed by swelling. If bitten, seek medical attention.|
Large, hairy, grey-brown in colour with flattened bodies and long legs.
|Though they can give a painful bite, they are not considered dangerous to humans. If bitten, use an ice pack to relieve pain and seek medical attention if pain persists.|
Also known as ‘lawn spiders’, distinguishable by their large eyes and brown-grey colour.
|They are not dangerous to humans, but can cause a painful bite. Symptoms of a bite are usually minor, but seek medical attention if pain persists.|
Long, skinny legs and small body, cream to pale brown in colour.
|Although their venom is toxic, their small fangs cannot penetrate human skin (and their glands cannot hold a large quantity of venom). In the unlikely event of a bite, seek medical attention if pain persists for more than a few days.|
|Black house spider|
Black, hairy, charcoal abdomen. Females can be twice as big as males.
|They are timid, and bites to humans are rare. However, if bitten, it can be quite painful and cause swelling. Use a cold pack and seek medical attention if symptoms persist.|
Heavy-set, with downward facing fangs. Usually black or brown in colour.
|They do have venomous qualities, and are considered dangerous, particularly to children.|
|Garden orb weaving spider|
Can have a variety of colours, patterns and shapes, but most have red colouring in leg joints and can change colour to suit their surroundings.
|Reluctant to bite. If bitten, you may experience mild pain, numbness or swelling. Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen.|
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