You may think you have spider-proofed your house by placing sticky traps on the ground and sealing any visible openings, but it could be what you’re not doing that’s attracting these arachnids to your sacred space. Pest experts say that many people tend to let one specific item in their home go uncleaned without a second thought and doing so could be inviting spiders to enter. Read on to find out what dirty spot could be attracting these unwanted pests.
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Dirty trash cans can attract spiders looking for prey.
Even if you regularly take out your trash, how often are you cleaning your actual trash cans? Thomas Marbut, the general manager and corporate trainer at Mosquito Squad, says that dirty trash cans tend to attract flies, fruit flies, and cockroaches, which are all common prey for spiders. “Spiders will often gather around your trash cans, both inside and outside,” he says. “But they aren’t necessarily attracted to your trash, they’re attracted to the pests that hover around the trash.”
So, the trash cans you keep outside could be the start of a spider problem, according to Wyatt West, a board-certified entomologist and training education manager with Western Exterminator. He says that spiders congregate around dirty outdoor trash cans and can quickly start to move inside your home.
Cluttered trash areas also provide a perfect hiding spot for spiders.
If you have clutter around your trash—yard tools, recycling, and whatever else you’ve hidden back there—West says you’re not just providing food for spiders, but also a safe haven for them to stick around.
“Many spiders are reclusive in nature, and by having a lot of clutter you are providing them a protected space where they can wait on food to come to them instead of the other way around,” West says. “There is the added benefit, if you’re a spider, of having a safe, secluded area to hide. If there is a lot of clutter in the trash area, it provides spiders with ample spaces to hide.”
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You should be cleaning your trash cans at least once a month.
According to Marbut, keeping your trash area as clean and orderly as possible will help keep spiders away. “Clean your trash bins and cans at least once a month. Not only will this improve their smell and appearance in general, but it will also deter pests, and therefore spiders, from gathering,” he advises.
He also recommends purchasing sturdy trash bags that are less likely to rip and cause leakage in your bins.
And if you happen to see more insects around than normal, don’t wait for a month to pass to clean your trash cans. “If you notice a large population of flies growing around your trash, you should clean the bin and the area thoroughly so you can reduce the number of spiders that may follow,” Marbut says. “If your fly or spider population is getting out of control despite these cleaning efforts, consider calling professional pest control experts to discuss your options for treatment.”
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You should also consider where you keep your trash cans.
If cleaning your trash cans hasn’t helped your spider situation, some experts recommend relocating them. “Keep them further away from your house as much as possible. It may be a bit of a walk to throw the trash, but it will save you from the headaches of a potential pest problem,” advises Jack Miller, a pest control expert and founder of How I Get Rid Of.
West specifically recommends keeping outdoor trash cans out from under exterior lights and on a raised area so they are not in direct contact with the soil. “If you keep your trash can underneath lights or near windows, you are appealing to insects in multiple ways and are practically begging the spiders to check out the trash can as a potential harborage site,” he says. “Also, if you have a trash can sitting directly on the soil, it is going to act as a source of moisture. That moisture will attract insects, millipedes, and roly-polies, all of which serves as an excellent source of spider food.”
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