Could Your Home Be Infested With Arthropods?

Is there any truth to the myth, “You’re never more than 3 feet from a spider”?

A 2016 study of 50 North Carolina residences revealed that over 200 species of arthropods—a group that includes spiders, insects, and crustaceans—were found in individual homes, according to Smithsonian Magazine, an arm of the Smithsonian Institute.

Individual homes contained 32 to 211 species spanning 24 to 128 arthropod families. Spiders, beetles, wasps, flies, and ants accounted for almost 75 percent of the bugs found in rooms.

Pests like German cockroaches were found in just 6 percent of homes, and bedbugs appeared in none. Cobweb spiders, however, were found in 65 percent of rooms, lending credence to the aforementioned spider myth.

Of the vast number of indoor insects many homeowners seem to have a special dislike for spiders. So you may find it disturbing that, according to entomologists, only 5 percent of the spiders you spot inside your home have ever been outside, which means the majority have likely been living in your residence for some time.

Spiders tend to emerge from their hiding places to mate in the fall and spring, so if you begin to notice more spiders around your home right about now they haven’t suddenly invaded—you’re simply becoming aware of their presence.

But why do these uninvited houseguests love your home so much? Food. Spiders love to eat other bugs. So the presence of this particular arthropod can actually be a good thing, since they can help control the number of other bugs inside your home.

These creepy crawlies prefer quiet, calm areas that provide access to food and warmth. They enjoy spaces that are cluttered, which are often basements, garages, attics, and storage spaces. They also like humid environments, like bathrooms.

You may be comforted by the fact that, although spiders can look intimidating, the vast majority of indoor spiders won’t bite. Out of a whopping 40,000 species of this arthropod only about 12 can hurt you. In the U.S. there are only two kinds of spiders that you actually need to be concerned about: the brown recluse and the black widow. The odds that you’ll encounter either one are low. Although their bites may require medical attention they are rarely lethal to humans, according to entomologists.

So, could your home be infested with arthropods? Maybe not infested. But populated? Yes. Nevertheless, they are harmless and have no interest in you.

To help get rid of spiders vacuum often to remove them, their webs, and egg sacs. Reduce clutter, and store boxes so that they’re off the floor and away from walls. Cut off their food supply by sealing windows and doors where other insects can enter. You may also try using traps and sprays on spiders, but be careful to avoid products that could be toxic to people or pets. If you think you might have an infestation of spiders, or any other arthropod, call in a pro to investigate.

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