The itsy-bitsy spiders of California

Aug 26, 2022, 13:58 PM by Fred Speer

Only a few species of commonly encountered spiders in California are dangerous. Many species are beneficial predators to California’s ecosystem, because they eat insects that damage and destroy plants and agricultural crops. However, there are a few species that can be a threat to humans.

Clark, your friendly pest, termite, mosquito, and grounds care expert, would like to place a spotlight – something spiders don’t much care for – on species that you might encounter. Among these are:

Brown widow spiders weave messy webs that can be found in lots of places around buildings and gardens. Favorite locations include plastic lawn chairs, plastic flowerpots, and bird-of-paradise plant leaves – or anywhere sheltered that offers hiding.

Nocturnally active black widow spiders can be found in irregular webbing where they hang upside down, or in sheltered spots – under stones, firewood piles, and decking, or inside hollow tree stumps and trees.

Cellar spiders are usually found in dark corners of cellars, crawl spaces, and garages. They construct loose, irregular, even messy webs, and it’s their active and extensive web spinning that makes them more of a nuisance than anything else.

You should be particularly aware of black and brown widow spiders, as these species are known to administer a painful bite when disturbed or threatened.

Spider season is now

Fall has always been considered high season for spiders. But the reality is that spiders can be a nuisance, and sometimes a threat, all year long. Spiders reach maturity during the fall months, but with this summer’s intense heat, spiders are seeking relief inside homes from the high temperatures and are on the hunt for new sources of food.

How can spiders get inside your home? They can enter houses and other structures through cracks in the foundation, or through open doors, windows, and other small openings. They also may be carried indoors on items like plants, firewood, and boxes.

Spiders typically nest in areas that do not receive frequent human activity. Popular spider hangouts include stacks of old newspapers, cardboard storage boxes (spiders like to hide under the folded flaps), rolled-up rugs, and infrequently used clothes and shoes in attics, closets, and crawlspaces.

Outdoors, they can be found under rocks, bricks, decks, and landscape features, in meter boxes, as well as in the dark corners of sheds and garages. They can nest in many locations in and around homes and can reproduce quickly.

Spider control tips

It’s good practice when performing the following tips, or removing items that have been in storage for a long period of time (e.g., camping gear, seasonal decoration, old papers and clothes, etc.), to wear heavy work gloves to avoid accidental bites.

  • Regular vacuuming or sweeping of windows, corners of rooms, storage areas, basements, and other seldom-used areas will help remove spiders and their webs. Vacuuming spiders can be an effective control technique, because their soft bodies usually do not survive this process. Indoors, a web on which dust has gathered is an abandoned web no longer being used by a spider.
  • Seal cracks in the foundation, along siding, etc., and gaps around windows and doors.
  • Install good screening on widows and vents, which not only will keep out many spiders, but also can discourage insects from entering that provide prime food sources for spiders.
  • Place boxes off the floor and away from walls, whenever possible, to help reduce their usefulness as a harborage for spiders. Sealing the boxes with tape will prevent spiders from taking up residence within.
  • Clean up clutter in garages, sheds, crawlspaces, and other storage areas.
  • Outdoors, eliminate places for spiders to hide and build their webs by keeping the area next to the foundation free of trash, leaf litter, heavy vegetation, and other accumulations of materials.
  • Trimming plant growth away from the house and other structures will discourage spiders from first taking up residence near the structure and then moving indoors.
  • Outdoor lighting attracts insects, which in turn attracts spiders. If possible, keep lighting fixtures away from windows and doorways.
  • Regularly sweep, hose, or vacuum spider webs on the outside of your home.

Got questions about spiders? Call Clark

Call or text Clark at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) if spiders have become a nuisance in or around your home. You can also email us at for more information.

Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.

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