neighbors house is infested

Asked September 18, 2015, 7:52 PM EDT

I live in a wooded area in upstate NY, my neighbors house is infested with Brown Recluse, how can I keep my home spider free? Are they native to this area?

Broome County New York

1 Response

Living in wooded areas will always expose your home to all kinds of organisms. Some of them may be considered pests if they enter your home.

There are several spiders which people confuse with brown recluse spiders. All that have been brought in to me have been grass spiders, wolf spiders and a couple of woodlouse spiders.

As far as I can tell, recluse spiders are not native to NY but that does not mean that someone has not brought them in on furniture or other objects during a move. As our temperature rises, they may be able to establish populations in NY.

The spiders I mentioned above will find their way into homes at this time of year to avoid the cold nights. None of them prefer to stay in a house though some might find a moist basement a benefit, especially the woodlouse spider which feeds on, what are commonly known as wood louse, roly poly, sow bug and potato bug. They are terrestrial isopods which prefer moist areas.

To keep spiders out in general, do not make it easy for them to come in.
1. Keep a perimeter of dead space around your home. Use a stone mulch about 3 feet wide around the foundation of your house.
2. Do not plant shrubs or other plants close to your house which can hide pests from predators.
3. Check your exterior for openings and patch them appropriately.
4. If you have any spider which persists to live in your home, you might want to discover what it is feeding on before removing it. It's food may be worse that the spider.
5. Capture any spiders you do not want and have it identified before spraying pesticides. There are only a very few which prefer to live in homes, and only a few of them will bite and have a venom which can harm most people. Pesticides inside a home are more of a danger than most spiders which can usually be removed with a vacuum or a well placed shoe or newspaper. You local Extension office may know people to assist you in identifying spiders and other pests.

6. If you choose to use a pesticide, a perimeter spray on the outside of you home on the first two or three feet of your foundation will keep most organisms out of your home. That does not mean that they will not walk through your front door if you have an eighth inch or larger gap at the bottom.