Spiders are often thought of as creepy and unwanted guests in the home. While most species of spiders are harmless, a few can be dangerous and cause serious health problems.
Many homeowners believe that spiders only visit homes during the winter, but this is a misconception. Spiders may come indoors at any time of the year and often do so in search of food, shelter, and warmth.
But what do spiders do in the winter if they’re common year-round?
Understanding why you have spiders and how to prevent them is essential to maintain a safe and comfortable living environment. Take a look at our blog, where we’ll tell you everything you need to know about where spiders go during wintertime.
Why Do I Have Spiders?
Spiders enter homes for various reasons, most commonly for food and shelter. Open doors, windows, crevices, and cracks in your foundation, walls, or roofs may provide enough room for a curious spider to sneak indoors.
Inside, spiders may flock toward areas where insects are commonly located, like kitchens or bathrooms. They may also stick near windows to catch any bugs drawn to light sources.
Spiders are predators and are attracted to insects found in homes, such as:
In addition to preying on live insects, some spiders will also eat dead pests and other small arthropods. They are opportunistic feeders and will consume whatever prey is available to them.
What Do Spiders Do in the Winter?
While they’re opportunistic creatures attracted to the warm conditions and plentiful insects found inside homes, spiders can invade anytime, not only in the winter.
In the winter, many spiders will enter a state of dormancy, also known as diapause. This period of reduced activity and decreased metabolism allows the spider to survive cold temperatures and limited food resources.
During diapause, the spider’s metabolism slows down, becoming less active and not needing constant access to food. Most will simply find a protected area to hide in, like brush piles, logs, or sheds.
Some species can survive frigid temperatures by entering this dormant state, especially those already in temperate regions. Once the weather warms up in the spring, these species will emerge from diapause and resume normal activities.
Spiders are ectothermic, which means the environment regulates their body temperature like most cold-blooded animals. Unlike warm-blooded animals, spiders cannot generate their own body heat and must rely on external heat sources to warm their bodies.
Some species of spiders can produce chemicals that act as anti-freeze agents in their bodies, which help them survive in cold weather. For example, these compounds help arctic insects and arachnids survive negative temperatures.
Not all spiders have this ability, and some species are not adapted to freezing temperatures. What do spiders do in the winter if they’re primarily an indoor species?
House spiders will die during the winter if left outdoors, as they are not acclimated to survive the cold. Instead, they’ve evolved to primarily live indoors around humans, relying on temperature-controlled spaces and easy access to insects to stay alive.
Spider-proofing Your Home Year-Round
There are several ways to prevent spiders from entering your home. Sealing up cracks and crevices in your walls, window sills, and doorways is an effective option to remove potential spider threats.
While we urge you to consult a trained professional before attempting any DIY home improvement projects, you can always remedy minor damages with caulk or plaster. Weather stripping and door stoppers can similarly work to remove gaps under doors and windows.
Once you’ve fixed any issues with your windows or doors, remember to keep these fixtures closed, especially at night when spiders are most active. If you want to keep a cool breeze cycling through, install screens on windows and doors to prevent spiders from entering.
Vacuuming can also help to reduce the number of spiders and the insects they eat. Not only can you eliminate pesky spider webs, but also the food sources that attract spiders into your home.
Natural spider repellents can also lend a hand to keep spiders at bay. Essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, and citrus may aid in preventing spiders. Disperse the oils in areas rife with spiders using diffusers, DIY sprays, or saturated cotton balls.
Outdoor yard maintenance is also another important measure to take for spider prevention. Remove debris that spiders may build or live in, like forgotten toys, buckets, or tires.
Cleaning up these items will reduce the threat of mosquitoes during summer. Additionally, cutting back bushes and trees and keeping your lawn trimmed may reduce the number of spiders and other pests that hang around your property.
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