- Spider season usually begins in the late summer and goes through fall.
- Spiders are likely looking for a secure home or trying to mate.
- Experts say if you see a spider, try not to kill it, and just move it instead.
This fall, some unannounced, startling guests might make their way into living rooms across the country: spiders.
Even though you’re bound to see spiders in your home throughout the year, the chances of seeing one crawl around the house heighten in the fall. But it’s not to scare you for Halloween – it’s to look for love. Or, in more proper terms, it’s when the eight-legged creatures begin to mate.
And if you do happen to spot a spider in your home this fall, experts caution you not to kill it – they’re mostly harmless and could help get rid of other pesky bugs.
Here is what to know about spider season.
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Why am I seeing more spiders?
Spiders typically mature in the spring or summer, said Jason Dunlop, a researcher from the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. When it gets closer to fall, mature male spiders that typically live only for a year leave their webs in search of a female.
“Females give off a chemical called a pheromone, a kind of perfume, which the males can sense with special hairs on their legs. The wandering males are basically sniffing around for a mature female,” Dunlop told USA TODAY.
Meanwhile, females stay by their webs and conserve the energy needed to lay eggs, said Rod Crawford, curator of arachnids at The Burke Museum at the University of Washington.
Female spiders can be found pretty much anywhere, inside or outside a home, which can be a rather daunting journey for a male trying to slide into their DMs, so to speak. That’s why if you happen to find one inside your home, it’s most likely a male just looking for a female.
“There’s this misguided perception that all of a sudden there are many more spiders than there used to be. But, you know, that’s not the case. They’re just more noticeable because the males are moving around,” said Anne Danielson-Francois, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. “They’re not interested in setting up shop in the house.”
What kind of spiders could I see?
Crumbley said web-spinning and hunting spiders are commonly spotted in the fall. Examples include the American spider, also known as the common house spider, and cobweb spiders.
If you’re in the Southeast, you may see a spider that has rapidly spread in the U.S. in recent years: the Joro spider.
“It’s everywhere right now,” Crumbley said.
Should you kill spiders?
Natural instinct may be to kill a spider when you see one, but experts discourage people from doing so.
Crawford said people shouldn’t worry because nearly all house spiders are harmless, and Dunlop pointed out that spiders get rid of many insects, including mosquitoes.
Dunlop said the worst thing that most spiders can do to you is give a “nasty surprise,” and Crawford said spider bites “are vanishingly rare in the life of any individual person.”
Crumbley said there are only three types of spiders to be concerned about: the black widow, brown recluse and tarantulas.
“With those three in particular, proceeding with caution is necessary. Trying to eliminate those from your house is key; just make sure you’re not getting bitten and you’re not experiencing any kind of pain or any of the medical side effects,” she said.
What should I do if I see a spider in my home?
Experts say you should do your best to move spiders if it’s too much to have them inside.
“If you can muster up the courage, the best thing to do is either catching it with a cup or something and trying to release it outside away from the house,” Crumbley said.
Aside from roaming around homes, Crumbley said, spiders also will be in areas people don’t frequently visit, so places like attics, basements and garages is where they will camp out. Those are also good places to move them, Danielson-Francois said.
“I advocate for people getting to know them, and becoming less afraid of them and keeping them around, but I realize that’s a stretch.”
Editor’s note: A version of this story was first published in 2021.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.