Leave house spiders inside the home if you can

Removing spiders from the home is problematic. Animal advocate Nathan Winograd has told me that one’s instinct to remove a spider from your home is problematic as many species of spider in any country make your home their home. They are house spiders. It depends on your attitude. If you hate spiders and are terrified by them and a lot of people are you’ll want to kill it, in the worst-case scenario for the spider, or at least capture and release it outside which may achieve the same result – death – only more slowly as the environment may be too harsh for it.

If you are concerned about spider welfare and being compassionate, you’ll have to identify the spider species before leaving them alone inside your home or ejecting them to the outside if they are an outside spider who’s trapped inside. And that is tricky and not the kind of thing that most people would bother to do.

Here is an infographic of some house spiders living in America by Ellen Lindner for The Spruce. I hope you don’t mind me using it.

Ten common house spiders in the USA
Ten common house spiders in the USA. Image: Ellen Lindner

Here is a part of Nathan’s email to me on this topic:

This is my annual plea for your spider roommates:

If you have a spider in your house, obviously don’t kill them. But a spider advocate says you shouldn’t put them outside, either. Either leave them be or relocate them to another part of the house. Why?

People think they are doing the right thing by putting spiders outside so they “can presumably return to [their] natural lifestyle.”

This is a noble sentiment (and often requires quick reflexes), but… it may not achieve the desired result if the arachnid is a true house spider.

You can’t put something ‘back’ outside that was never outside in the first place… Although some house spider species can survive outdoors, most don’t do well there, and some… will perish rather quickly when removed from the protective indoor habitat. You’re not doing them a favor…

[O]nly about 5 percent of the spiders you see inside have ever set foot outdoors.

A point worth making is that house spiders serve a purpose: the get rid of pesky flies. The point is: are spiders more important or more valuable than flies. This is a question about speciesism. We think all flies should be killed. And spiders are good. Are we correct? Are we fair?

Here are a couple more articles on insects:

Why are some insects flightless?

Are spiders killed when they’re vacuumed up? Can they crawl out?

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.