Arachnophobe or not, most of us would rather not share our living spaces with spiders.
Sure, defenders of the bugs might point out that spiders eat insects, keeping them away. What they conveniently forget is that spiders are creepy as hell!
So what do you do when it feels like your garage has become overrun with so many spiders it feels like you’re running a sanctuary for them?
There are a lot of ways you can keep spider populations down. From simple, to natural deterrents, to outright chemical warfare, this is a battle you can win. They even sell electronic options to keep them from ever entering your property (but these aren’t so effective).
Read on to find out more about these methods and find the solution that’s right for you.
Why Spiders LOVE Garages
Before we look at kicking spiders out and making sure they stay gone, it’s worth looking at why they want to move into your garage in the first place. After all, they’re probably not automotive enthusiasts (though scientific literature on this front is suspiciously lacking).
Like all bugs, even though spiders can exhibit complex behaviors, they’re really driven by only a handful of major instincts.
Spiders naturally seek out cover. Web spinners need structures to build their sticky traps, and hunting spiders use it to hide from prey. This means any open window, any unsealed doorframe, and any cracks in the wall can draw a spider in.
Once inside, most spiders think they’ve found paradise! The building protects them from the elements and the boxes and bins give them plenty of hiding spots. Prey insects attracted to the garage for the same reason as spiders become easy food, letting the arachnids feast and multiply.
Garages are also often quiet. Even if you do a little woodworking or auto work, your garage is likely unoccupied for most of the day. For extremely squishable creatures like spiders, this is ideal.
How to Tell If You’ve Got Spiders
Although it’s commonly held that there is always a spider within three feet of you, this is a myth.
Although spiders are extremely common, and probably not far from you in the wild, buildings and vehicles often have much smaller populations. That’s good news for us, because it means you actually can keep spiders out of your garage!
Figuring out if you’ve got unwanted tenants to evict is simple. Spiders leave one unmistakable sign of their presence: webs.
Webs are easy to find. Look in corners at the ceiling and between boxes and shelves. If you’re particularly unlucky, you might already have accidentally run into a few.
Getting Rid of Spiders From A Garage
Now that you’ve determined that you, like almost every other person in the world, have spiders, what can you do to get rid of them? There are plenty of options, depending on how much you want to spend and how merciful you want to be.
Of course, the most surefire solution would be hiring a local, well-reviewed exterminator. They have access to tools and substances that most laypeople don’t. Even better, they can give you advice tailored to your situation.
But this is your garage, not the nursery. Many people aren’t willing to go to that kind of extreme for a space they spend little unproductive time in. Thankfully, we’ve got a lot of at-home solutions:
If you’re the kind of person who prefers to squash bugs than to set them gently outside, these methods should provide the quick cure you’re looking for.
- Chemical Sprays: There are plenty of products on the market that remove spiders on contact, and many of them can be used to create invisible lines of spidery doom to keep out future invaders. Even though these are legally safe enough for use, be careful. Make sure to follow the instructions and never trap yourself in an enclosed space with any aerosolized chemical.
- Whisk(er) Them Away: You may already know that the housecat is one of the most deadly predators in the world. They’ll chase after spiders (and any other bug) just like a laser pointer. Make sure there aren’t any dangerous chemicals or tools they might get into, and don’t try this if you have a population of venomous spiders.
- Squish ‘em!: The tried and true method of squishing is a classic because it works. While it won’t stop any spiders that stay out of sight, squishing is 100% effective against any spider outside of a horror movie.
There’s a point between arachnophile and arachnocide, and if you can’t stomach the thought of harming your eight-legged invaders, there are still some good ways to kindly ask them to pack their bags:
- “Non”-Chemical Sprays: While technically everything is chemicals, there are a large number of natural sprays that spiders hate. Although there’s little scientific research, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that peppermint, cinnamon, lemon, and lavender oil scares of these beasties. Reapply weekly and make sure you don’t over-expose yourself.
- Whisk Them Away: Vacuuming up webs can cause you to suck up the spiders into the bag where they’ll starve. However, careful work with a broom can destroy their webs more peacefully and encourage them to seek out greener pastures!
- Catch ‘em!: The tried and true method of the merciful, catching bugs in a jar and slipping a piece of paper under the opening works. While taking spiders outside doesn’t guarantee they won’t find their way back in, it’s a lot better than letting them keep squatting in your garage.
Keeping Spiders Out
Now that you’ve cleared out any spiders in your garage, how can you keep them out (as well as any insects who now have less to fear, since you’ve removed the predators)? There are lots of useful tricks, and the good news is that you’ve probably been meaning to do this for a while, since the first step is to
- Clean up! It’s easy to let your garage get cluttered. Boxes, shelving, tools, projects…somehow it just multiplies. But this makes lots of little spaces for spiders to hide and creates lots of places for them to spin webs. An organized garage gives them fewer places to lurk and less reason to move in.
- Upgrade your boxes: Cardboard is great. It’s lightweight, it’s strong, and it’s so easy to come by that most garages have a couple (dozen) boxes of it. If you can, throw this out. Cardboard boxes are rarely perfectly sealed, and even when they are, they break down. Insects and spiders (even dangerous ones) can slip in and breed there. Airtight containers are a much better bet!
- Seal up the garage: Don’t worry, you don’t need to insulate the place to keep it safe. But check how tightly doors, windows, and vents are sealed, and do a survey of the whole building with a caulk gun in hand and seal any cracks. No crack is too small: if it goes inside, so can a spider.
- Fix the lighting: This one is a little complicated. Spiders like it dark, so if you have bad lighting, fix it up so everything’s well lit. However, moths and other bugs are attracted to light at night, and spiders will follow. Turn off anything that has a permanent light, so that your garage has true darkness as well. Balance is key.
- Clean up outside: This is a step a lot of people miss. Piles of leaves or lumber next to your garage provide great homes for spiders. If there’s an arachnid apartment complex right next to your garage, there’s a good chance at least some will slip through your defenses.
You can find all sorts of tips and tricks online, and most of them are at least sometimes effective. However, one type of repellent, though attractive, is really a scam.
Ultrasonic pest repellers claim to drive away insects, spiders, or even rodents with sounds above the human range of hearing. This sounds like a great idea! An impenetrable shield of sound that you don’t even hear would be great…if it actually kept pests away.
Unfortunately, there’s little evidence these work well at all, and the stories even worse with spiders. Until we make new breakthroughs, this is just a pleasant sounding dream that someone wants to charge you for.
Banishing spiders from your garage is a very achievable goal. With a little determination and a very small investment, you can enjoy a space without any creepy crawlies sneaking in. Even better, a well-ordered and well-maintained garage is just a nicer place to be, even if it’s only for thirty seconds to get into your car.
Thank you for reading this article! If this helped you and you want to learn other ways to improve your home, please consider checking out the related articles below.