Spider Traps

- Use easy-to-construct sticky traps -

Summary: Sticky traps are a safe and effective method for eliminating a variety of crawling insects, centipedes, and spiders in homes. The traps are easy to construct of cardboard and sticky Tangle-Trap™ coating or inexpensive traps can be purchased ready-made.

Jack DeAngelis, PhD
OSU Ext. Entomologist (ret.)
my resume

Hunting & wandering spider control

Most spiders stay close to their webs lying in wait for prey. Some spiders, however, wander in search of prey, or mates, at certain times of the year. Male hobo spiders (in fall) and brown recluse spiders are of this hunting/wandering type. Since wandering species move from place to place they are more likely to be found indoors. The number of spiders found indoors can be greatly reduced using simple sticky traps without the use of insecticide sprays.

layout for homemade spider

Construction layout for homemade spider trap. Fold along lines and tape along top to make a triangular "tube".

Sticky traps can be made of cardboard with a sticky material coating on one surface. They are placed along baseboards and out-of-sight behind furniture where wandering spiders tend to move. Spiders are trapped when they walk into the trap and try to cross the sticky surface. No insecticides or attractants are needed.

Spider traps can be purchased at home and garden stores or can be homemade. The simplest homemade trap is a piece of cardboard folded into a triangular tube about four inches long and three inches high (see layout drawing above). Coat the inside surfaces with Tangle-Trap Insect Trap Coating™ available from lawn and garden stores.

Tangle-Trap Insect Coating™ is a non-toxic sticky material that is widely used in forestry and greenhouse pest management to construct traps and barriers for a variety of insect pests.

Constructing the spider trap

Spider traps are very simple to make. Cut a piece of cardboard (cereal box works great) about 4"x9". Draw lines at 3" intervals along the long side. Paint the middle section with Tangle-Trap sticky coating. Use the "brushable" type formula of Tangle-Trap. If the cardboard is too absorbent, you can coat it with a water-based polyurethane before the Tangle-Trap. Fold the sides up and tape along the top seam making a triangular "tube". You're done!

Be sure to use the "brushable" type of Tangle-Trap because the aerosol spray is a bit too thin and the paste type is too heavy. The same sticky coating material can also be used for other homemade insect traps for pests like fruit flies, ants, deer flies, and cockroaches.

Once made place your traps with the long side against baseboards, behind furniture and inside cabinets because spiders usually travel near the base of walls. Use several traps per room. When they encounter the trap opening spiders will wander inside and get caught in the sticky material. You can dispose of used or dirty traps in household trash.

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