Controlling spiders in barns | Living the Country Life

Controlling spiders in barns

Spiders eat insects but they can outgrow their welcome in a barn
Photo courtesy of Penn State University

Radio interview source: Dr. Doug Ross, Entomologist, Bayer


Listen to the radio mp3 or read below

When large numbers of spiders set up housekeeping in the barn, it's time to encourage them to go elsewhere.

Entomologist Doug Ross says your first line of defense is going after the webs.

"If you see a lot of webs and they're covered with dust, all those webs have obviously been abandoned," says Ross. "If you see a web with a spider on it, it's usually quite clean and functioning to catch insects.  But it's important to get rid of webs as part of any control program you're going to have because a lot of times, somewhere in or on that web is an egg case that the spider laid there. You don't want to leave the next generation in there when you're trying to eliminate them."

Ross says to make note of where the webs were when you knocked them down.  Spiders are creatures of habit and will likely go back to the same place to make a new one.  Prevent them from returning by spraying the area with a residual insecticide.

Spiders come in from the outdoors, so you should also spray the outside of the building and the ground around it. Use a product that is labeled for spider control.  

Another option is to seal up the points of entry where a spider could come in.  

"Doors and window frames, soffit areas, vent openings around exhaust fans, lights, and other entry points where cables and pipes go into the building," says Ross. "Usually that's never going to work 100% of the time, but it will minimize what you have to deal with indoors."

It also helps to reduce the number of insects, a spider's favorite food. Keep up with good sanitation such as proper storage of feed and the removal of animal waste, and your barn will become less inviting for the creepy-crawlies.

What type of spiders are invading your space? Ohio State University has some identification tips.

Get rid of the creepy-crawlies with control measures

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