When To Call an Exterminator For Spiders: 5 Signs for Spider Fumigation

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Pest Control | January 4, 2024

Man wrapped in webs wonders when to call an exterminator for spiders and the signs of spider infestation, including dangerous spiders, spider exterminator cost, spider fumigation, and spider killing treatment.

For many, knowing when to call an exterminator for spiders is important, even if there’s only a single spider seen in the home, while others reach for bug spray or a shoe to squish the offending creepy crawler.

An estimated 3 to 15 percent of the population suffers from a fear of spiders so severe that it has a name: arachnophobia.1 Those suffering from this condition experience anxiety at the sight, or sometimes the mere thought, of a spider.

Some have such severe symptoms that they can’t relax, and others are kept tossing and turning at night by the thought of these tiny arachnids and their eight little legs. Despite their negative reputation and the very real fears they elicit in humans, spiders actually do more good than harm.

Most are more likely to run away than try to attack you, and serious spider bites are rare. In fact, only about a hundred people died globally from spider bites in the entirety of the 20th century.2

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should feel pressured to share your home with spiders, but it doesn’t mean you have to panic if you start spotting webs either.

This complete guide explains why most spiders are harmless, which ones to watch out for, and when to call an exterminator for spiders.

How To Get Rid of Spiders

Even if you’re arachnophobia-free and you know that your home is occupied only by harmless spider species, you still might want to know how to keep the household spider population under control.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to tackle these arachnids, whether you prefer to call in the pros or attempt DIY treatment.

Getting Rid of Spiders on Your Own

For minor infestations, it’s often possible to get rid of spiders on your own without calling an exterminator. The DIY route might be right for you if:

  • You are short on money and willing to invest time and elbow grease to get rid of spiders without blowing your budget.
  • You’re experienced working with pesticides or insecticides, and comfortable applying these products on your own.
  • You’re physically and mentally willing and able to clean places where spiders like to hang out, declutter your home, and continue with routine cleaning to keep spiders under control.

Signs That Tell You When To Call an Exterminator for Spiders

While DIY spider pest control plans are attractive because they can save you money, they aren’t the right choice for everyone.

Here are the circumstances that you should know when to call an exterminator for spiders.

  1. You suffer from arachnophobia. You won’t be able to tackle a spider problem on your own if you run screaming from the room anytime you spot a spider.
  2. You want the spiders gone as fast as possible and are willing to spend money to evict them as quickly as possible.
  3. You are experiencing a major infestation. Signs of this can include seeing a large number of spiders, lots of webs, shed spider skins, egg sacs, and droppings.14
  4. You have a major black widow or brown recluse infestation. These spiders can pose a danger to humans, especially the young, the elderly, and those with health conditions. Let an exterminator get rid of these pests for you.
  5. You’ve tried the DIY approach, but the spiders keep returning. Let the experts help if you’ve tried and failed to get rid of spiders.

How Much Does a Spider Exterminator Cost?

Getting rid of spiders on your own may cost nothing more than the cost of basic cleaning supplies. So how much does a spider exterminator cost?

A spider centered on its web against a dark blue background.

(Image: Lucas Pezeta25)

Expect to spend between $100 and $300 for a single reactive treatment, or $500 to $1,000 for preventative spider control.15 Exterminator prices tend to be higher for larger homes or properties and for more extreme infestations.

DIY Spider Removal

Getting rid of spiders may be easier than you think, and contrary to popular belief, might not require a single drop of bug spray.

What Not To Do When Getting Rid of Spiders?

A DIY home spider control plan begins with knowing what not to do when trying to get rid of spiders.

  • Don’t start with chemicals. Routine home cleaning is the most effective spider control method for the home.16
    Pesticides can be harmful and may not be effective against spiders.
  • Keep foggers and whole-house fumigation as a last resort.16 They are not safe and effective ways to eliminate spiders, especially when going the DIY route.
  • If you must use chemical pesticides, only use products designed for use in the home. Follow the label exactly, and don’t make the mistake that “more is better.”
    Spraying double the recommended amount, for instance, is more likely to sicken your family than to eliminate spiders.

Spider Pest Control: Home Remedies

Effective spider removal is surprisingly simple but not necessarily easy. It requires physically getting rid of spiders, webs, and eggs using a vacuum or broom.16

Repeat this process regularly, and use a flashlight to peer into dark corners in rafters, basement, and crawl spaces to make sure you’re getting rid of all arachnid occupants. Using glue traps can help you see if you’re on track, and can let you spot any areas where spiders are starting to settle in.16

Reduce the clutter in the home to eliminate spider-hiding spots. Outdoors, make sure nothing is touching the exterior walls of your house.

Wear heavy gloves to remove piles of wood stacked against the home to avoid any potential bites as you work. Trim trees or hedges that are too close to the home.

Add door sweeps and seals, and use caulk to seal any cracks or openings in your home’s exterior to keep spiders from squeezing inside.16

DIY Chemical Treatment for Spiders

As with any pests, some spider infestations require the application of chemical pesticides to keep the population from growing out of control. One of the best ways to apply these pesticides when dealing with spiders is to pick a product designed for spiders and apply it as a barrier spray.16

This means applying the product along the ground level around the outside of your home, at the base of exterior walls. Inside the home, consider applying pesticide dust rather than sprays, as you can control distribution more effectively.16

Keep in mind that pesticide sprays only kill spiders if you spray them directly, or apply them directly to their webs, so use these products with caution.

Are There Any Natural Items That Repel Spiders?

Yes. One study found that mint oil and chestnuts both reduced the presence of spiders.20

Lemon oil, often touted as an effective way to scare off spiders, actually did nothing to deter them when tested as part of this study.

What Kind of Spiders Are Found in Homes?

Before you try to identify a spider, it helps to be able to tell them apart from insects. While insects have six legs, spiders have eight.

Close up photo of a spider.

(Image: Pixabay22)

Like other members of the arachnid family, they have two body segments and are free of both wings and antennae.

Harmless Spiders Found in U.S. Homes

If your first instinct upon spotting a spider in your home is to run screaming for the door, relax; the vast majority of spiders in the U.S. are completely harmless and are much more scared of you than you are of them. One type you might spot is the aptly named common house spider.

Part of the Theridiidae family, it includes more than 230 species within the U.S. and Canada alone and also goes by the names tangle-web spider, cobweb spider, or comb-footed spider.3 These creatures measure ⅛ to ⅜ inches long and come in shades of brown or gray, often with streaks of mottling on the body and colored rings around the legs.3

Another harmless spider you might spot at your house is the cellar spider. Part of the Pholcidae family, these delicate arachnids are often referred to as daddy longlegs.

They are completely harmless, known for their large webs, and love to hang out in the dark corners of your basement or attic.4 Sac spiders are also commonly found in houses.

Pale yellow in color and smaller than a quarter, they can and do bite humans, but any pain or swelling from these bites generally fades in a couple of hours and long-term effects are rare.5

Dangerous Spiders Found in U.S. Homes

There are only three types of spiders found in the home that are considered dangerous to humans in the U.S.

  • Black Widow: Known for their shiny black bodies, these spiders measure about 1.5 inches long, legs included.6 Females sport a telltale red hourglass shape on their bodies and their bite affects the central nervous system.
    Black widows are found all over the U.S.
  • Brown Recluse: Measuring between ¼ and ½ inch long, these brown spiders deliver a bite that can sometimes lead to necrosis of the skin. They often have a black violin or fiddle shape on their bodies, but their most surefire identifying trait is their six eyes arranged in three pairs.6
    The brown recluse is found in the southeastern U.S.
  • Hobo spider: Found only in the Pacific Northwest, the hobo spider has a brown body with gray and yellow marks.7 Though it doesn’t live indoors, it can still be found around homes and is known for delivering a bite that can cause minor health reactions.

How Do Spiders Affect Humans?

For something so small, spiders can create a lot of fear; but you may be surprised to learn that they can also do good.

Do Humans Really Swallow Spiders in Their Sleep?

No. It is a myth that the average person swallows seven spiders a year.

A spider is no more likely to crawl into your mouth while you are sleeping than you would be to climb into the mouth of a snoring giant.

While it’s theoretically possible a spider could slip in, it would be a random accident, not something that happens routinely, so rest easy.19

The Health Impacts of a Spider Infestation

There are more than 3,700 species of spiders in the U.S. and only about a dozen of these pose a threat to human health.9

All of these dangerous dozen are either a type of brown spider, like the brown recluse, or a part of the widow family.

Close-up photo of spider bite on human skin.

(Image: Sebiwi23)

For a spider to harm a human, it has to deliver its venom via bite. Health experts estimate that around 25,000 humans experience spider bites each year, which means your odds of suffering a bite are somewhere between 1 in 12,000 and 1 in 15,000.10

Most of these will feel like a simple bee sting or bug bite. Treatment consists of washing the bite area with warm soapy water, applying ice, taking anti-inflammatories, and getting a tetanus booster if needed.10

You may find it reassuring to know that even most people bitten by the dreaded black widow or brown recluse don’t experience a severe reaction. About ten percent of brown recluse bites require minor surgery to clear out the wound.10

If you experience cramping, sweating, or pain after a spider bite, it’s best to seek medical attention.

How Fast Can Spiders Multiply?

While one spider is a minor problem, a significant infestation can quickly take over your home. A common female spider can lay about 4,000 eggs in her lifetime, which lasts about one year.11

Black widows can lay anywhere from 25 to 900 more eggs at a time, and it only takes a few months for those eggs to become adult spiders that can continue to breed.12

Benefits of Spiders in the Home

If you hate insects, it’s a good idea to embrace the harmless spider species in your home.

That’s because spiders eat the mosquitos, roaches, flies, ants, and other pests that can drive homeowners up a wall.

Close up photo of a spider making web.

(Image: krzysztofniewolny24)

In fact, spiders eat about 2,000 insects a year, which means fewer pests take up residence in your house if you leave the spiders alone to do their job.13

When To Call an Exterminator for Spiders

If you’re tired of dealing with spiders and you decide it’s time to call an exterminator for spiders, you’re not alone. An estimated 1 in 5 U.S. households hire an exterminator each year to help with pest management.17

Here’s how to make the most of your investment.

How To Choose a Spider Exterminator

With so many pest removal professionals to choose from, it’s important to do your homework to find a spider exterminator that will get the job done right. Make sure to interview at least two to three companies, and ask about their experience with your type of property, whether it’s a single-family home, townhouse, or apartment.

Look for an exterminator who will give you a quote only upon visiting, as it’s unrealistic for anyone to provide an accurate quote without actually seeing your property. Pay attention to things like whether the exterminator shows up in uniform, whether he or she is on time and behaves professionally, and whether they provide copies of any licenses or certifications required in your region.

Be sure to ask about their expectations regarding the timeline for treatment and what kind of results you can expect, as well as how they will monitor and measure the success of the treatment.17

How Do Exterminators Get Rid of Spiders

Skilled exterminators use a process known as integrated pest management (IPM) to get rid of spiders in a house.17 That means that instead of relying on a single treatment method, like spraying for spiders, they will develop a comprehensive treatment plan.

IPM includes things like cleaning and decluttering to eliminate spider hiding spots, sealing cracks, wall penetrations, and around doors and windows to keep spiders from entering the home.

IPM can also include applying the right pesticides to safely and effectively address pests in the home.

Top shot of a spider exterminator performing fumigation inside a living room.

(Image: Michelangelo Buonarroti26)

This may mean using liquid sprays on visible webs and spider living locations, oil pesticides on egg sacs, and applying chemical dust to tucked away areas where humans are unlikely to disturb them.18 IPM also includes monitoring and follow-up to ensure spiders don’t return, and that treatments are working as intended.

How To Prepare for an Exterminator Visit

To get the most out of your exterminator visit, take the time to properly prepare for their visit. Start by decluttering your home as much as possible.

Not only does this give them more room to work, but it also naturally eliminates some potential hiding spots for spiders. Next, move as many items as you can away from the baseboards inside your home, and away from the exterior walls on the outside of the house.

Finally, make sure all of the darkest and most isolated corners of your home are accessible, from basements to attics and crawl spaces, as these are favorite nesting spots for spiders.

Learning when to call an exterminator for spiders and doing the following preparations will help the process complete effectively and efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions About When To Call an Exterminator for Spiders

Do Spiders Harm the Garden?

Contrary to popular belief, spiders are helpful to gardeners rather than harmful.21 They eat many of the insects that harm crops or flowers and can be washed off with a simple spray of water when you’re ready for harvest.

What’s the Best Way To Identify a Spider?

If you can safely capture a spider or you come across one that’s already dead, the best way to identify it is to submit it to the National Pesticide Information Center. This government agency has County Extension Offices in each state, and they provide assistance with identifying local insects and arachnids.8


1Cleveland Clinic. (2021, September 2). Arachnophobia (Fear of Spiders). CLEVELANDCLINIC. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21852-arachnophobia-fear-of-spiders>

2Kimsey, L. S. (2022, October 17). Spiders: Should You Be Afraid? UCANR. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=55407>

3MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION. (2023). Common House Spider. MDC. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/common-house-spider>

4Peairs, F.B., Cranshaw, W.S., & Cushing, P.E. (2013, September). Spiders in the Home – 5.512. COLOSTATE. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/insects/spiders-in-the-home-5-512/>

5Illinois Department of Public Health. (2023). Structural Pest Control. ILLINOIS. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/environmental-health-protection/structural-pest-control/spiders.html>

6Waldvogel, M., & Apperson, C. (2008, January 1). Spiders in and Around Homes. NCSU. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/spiders-in-and-around-homes>

7Cirino, E. (2018, September 18). Hobo Spider Bite. HEALTHLINE. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://www.healthline.com/health/hobo-spider-bite#pictures>

8National Pesticide Information Center. (2023). County Extension Offices. NPIC. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <http://npic.orst.edu/pest/countyext.htm>

9Illinois Department of Public Health. (2023). Brown Recluse and Black Widow Spiders. ILLINOIS. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/environmental-health-protection/structural-pest-control/brown-recluse-black-widow-spiders.html>

10Cleveland Clinic. (2022, February 23). What To Do for a Spider Bite. CLEVELANDCLINIC. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-treat-spider-bites/>

11Orkin. (2023). HOUSE SPIDER LIFE CYCLE. ORKIN. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://www.orkin.com/pests/spiders/house-spiders/house-spider-life-cycle>

12Oklahoma State University. (2023). Black Widow Spider. OKSTATE. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://extension.okstate.edu/programs/digital-diagnostics/insects-and-arthropods/black-widow-spider-lactrodectus-mactans/>

13Wagner, G. (2015, October 5). Stop, don’t squish that spider! OUTDOORNEBRASKA. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://magazine.outdoornebraska.gov/2015/10/stop-dont-squish-that-spider/>

14Horvath, S. (2023, October 17). When To Call an Exterminator for Spiders: Is It Worth It? TODAYSHOMEOWNER. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://todayshomeowner.com/pest-control/guides/when-to-call-an-exterminator-for-spiders/>

15Spicer, E. (2023, October 18). How Much Do Spider Exterminators Cost? TODAYSHOMEOWNER. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://todayshomeowner.com/pest-control/cost/spider-exterminator-cost/>

16Potter, M. F. (2018, October 4). Eliminating Spiders Around Homes and Buildings. UKY. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef623>

17Illinois Department of Public Health. (2023). Selecting A Pest Control Service. ILLINOIS. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/environmental-health-protection/structural-pest-control/selecting-pest-control-service.html>

18Hoover, A. (2023, September 16). How to Get Rid of Black Widow Spiders. PESTGNOME. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://pestgnome.com/blog/spider-control/how-get-rid-black-widow-spiders/#5-how-to-get-rid-of-black-widow-spiders-chemically>

19Sneed, A. (2014, April 15). Fact or Fiction? People Swallow 8 Spiders a Year While They Sleep. SCIENTIFICAMERICAN. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-people-swallow-8-spiders-a-year-while-they-sleep1/>

20Fischer, A., Ayasse, M., & Andrade, M. (2018, February 9). Natural Compounds as Spider Repellents. NIH. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29309619/>

21National Pesticide Information Center. (2023, November 13). Spiders. NPIC. Retrieved November 15, 2023, from <http://npic.orst.edu/pest/spiders.html>

22Spider Photo by Pixabay. Resized and Changed Format. Pexels. Retrieved January 4, 2024 from <https://www.pexels.com/photo/animal-macro-spider-arachnid-40860/>

23Spider Bite Mark Photo by Sebiwi. CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED | Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported. Cropped and Resized. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 4, 2024 from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mordedura_por_loxosceles_laeta.jpg>

24Spider Eating Insects krzysztofniewolny / Krzysztof Niewolny. Resized and Changed Format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 4, 2024 from <https://pixabay.com/photos/spider-arachnid-insect-animal-8233129/>

25Home Spider in a Web Photo by Lucas Pezeta. Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Pexels. Retrieved January 4, 2024 from <https://www.pexels.com/photo/spider-web-hanging-over-green-plant-3838309/>

26Spider Fumigation Photo by Michelangelo Buonarroti. Resized and Changed Format. Pexels. Retrieved January 4, 2024 from <https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-wearing-personal-protective-equipment-fumigating-indoor-4176542/>