Laura is a freelance writer living in Florida who loves animals.
How to Get Rid of a Spider Without Killing It
Spiders are an important part of the environment. They help to keep nature's delicate balance in check as both predator and prey.
While scary movies and stories have helped to promote the fear of spiders, in reality, these animals deserve our care, sympathy, and help.
Most spiders are harmless to humans and actually directly benefit them. Understandably, many people prefer not to share their homes with one.
However, there are some spiders that have actually evolved to be in the house only and can't survive outside. They are good at hiding, and you will rarely see them.
If you do see a spider, resist the impulse to squish it. Instead, follow these steps to safely remove it.
How To Get Rid of a Spider Without Hurting It
- Find a plastic cup, paper cup, or one that is disposable.
- Find a thin, stiff piece of paper such as a greeting card, folder, or flattened box (not corrugated).
- Try to guide the spider towards an open area using the paper. If it is on the wall, you don't need to move it.
- Take the cup and put it over the spider, making sure to not put too much pressure.
- Take the stiff paper and slide it under the cup.
- Keep the cup in place and lift the paper, holding the cup firmly but gently.
- Go outside and find a good area for the spider. If you have woods or a flower bed or even some shrubs or bushes, the spider will have the best chance of survival.
- Set down the paper and gently tilt the cup towards you.
- If the spider has gone up into the cup to hide, you can wait or leave the cup and come back later to get it.
Other Ways to Remove a Spider Without Harm
If the cup method won't work (such as when a spider is on a ceiling), there are other ways you can get rid of the spider.
Get a jar with a lid (such as an empty, clean mayonnaise jar). Using a stiff piece of paper, sweep the spider into the jar and put the lid on it.
Then you can take the jar outside and empty it in a spider-friendly area of your yard.
You can also use a wadded paper towel to very gently catch the spider. Gather the spider into the center of the paper towel and carry it outside.
This method requires you to be pretty gentle in order to not harm the spider or its legs.
There are also no-kill pest repellents that work with ultrasonic sounds to help keep spiders and other unwanted animals away.
Are There Times It Is Best to Kill a Spider?
Yes, sometimes you will need to kill the spider. If the spider has bitten you, you will need to kill it and take the spider to the hospital with you for identification.
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If you are pretty sure the spider is poisonous, you may also need to kill it to ensure the safety of any pets or family members.
In the United States, the two spiders that you need to worry about are the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse.
How Long Have Spiders Been Around?
Spiders actually evolved from an ancient creature that existed at least 135 million years ago.
According to Moment of Science, evidence of spiders has been found preserved in amber and fossils.
Their web-making abilities have proven to be an efficient way to live and capture prey for millions of years.
How Do Spiders Outside Benefit Humans?
- Spiders outside your home can provide natural pest control, eliminating harmful, disease-carrying bugs before they enter your home.
- They also can help pollinate plants when they crawl, benefiting a garden and flowers.
- They feed the birds around your home as well as the lizards.
- Both lizards and birds, in turn, also help to eliminate other pests around your home and yard.
- Helping to preserve the delicate balance around your home may allow you to reduce or eliminate the use of chemical pesticides—benefiting your family and the environment.
Is It Okay Just to Leave a Spider in the House?
Although it is up to you and your comfort level, house spiders that are harmless may actually benefit your home and environment.
According to Bayer, spiders in the house actually have some surprising benefits. They tend to eat other pests that get into your home such as fleas, roaches, and earwigs.
The type of pests that they eat are the ones that spread disease to humans and pets. So the spiders in the house may actually help with natural pest control.
Annie Dillard, author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, notes that she allowed the spiders to live with her in her home and even put a bath towel over the edge of the tub so that any spider caught in it could easily climb back out.
While there may be cases where this is not ideal, in a world where people are becoming increasingly concerned about pesticides and chemicals, spiders may be a natural answer for pest control both inside and outside the home.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Helloooo on May 20, 2018:
Hi i just killed a baby spider just now (I think?) and I honestly regret it in my head all I was thinking was ew and I don't want it to become an adult and bite me... :( so I am thinking of buying a bug catch-and-release tool on Amazon because there are a lot of critters in our house! thanks for the interesting article!
DebEastCoast on July 01, 2017:
We get lots of jumping spiders in and around our home. We love them! My son helps me catch and release them when possible. Otherwise, we peacefully coexist. I never thought I'd call a spider cute. But they are!! Cute, brave, and very funny. TY for the great article.
L C David (author) from Florida on November 21, 2016:
LPerry60 from East Coast United States on November 13, 2016:
I love this article! I get all kinds of critters in my house: spiders, silverfish, katydids, centipedes, crickets, lady bugs and more.
Since my home is a "no-kill" home, all my insect visitors are given free transportation services to the porch via your cup and card method.