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Why Do I Have Spiders Indoors in Winter?

By Chris Williams on March 3, 2014.
Common house spider

Common house spider

Question

I keep finding spiders in my pantry. I understand that spiders feed on insects, so if you have spiders in your house there must be bugs somewhere that they are feeding on. It’s winter and cold and there are no insects moving anywhere, so why are the spiders still active? 

Answer

There are a couple of possible answers to your question. First, the spiders may not be very active. They may just be biding their time waiting for business to pick up when the weather gets warmer. I don’t know how long the average spider can go without a meal, but most insects can survive weeks or months without food. Spiders also hoard little insect meals. When there is an abundance of prey, they will wrap captured insects in silk and store them for the lean times.

Secondly, although you think there are no insects in your house right now, I bet you my technicians could find some. There are certain insects and other arthropods that are year-round pests indoors, although they may be seen less often in winter. Examples are cockroaches, silverfish, and house centipedes. Insects don’t have to come in from outside. You could have an isolated, ongoing insect infestation that you’re not even aware of, for example drain flies in a basement floor drain, clothes moths in an unused closet, or carpenter ants inside damp wood around a window frame.

In winter, many homes become host to certain outdoor insects that find their way in through cracks and crevices and then hide in attics, or wall voids, or behind baseboards. Examples are cluster flies, stink bugs, lady beetles, or paper wasps. These insects are relatively inactive until spring and you would probably never even know they were there, but spiders might.

“Pantry Pests” Could be the Food Source for Indoor Spiders

However, because you mention the spiders being primarily in your pantry, there’s a possibility that you have insect-infested foods in storage there. Spiders, especially web-spinning spiders, don’t move around much. They usually locate themselves near their prey. You should check the boxes and bags of food stored in your pantry.  Foods that are at the back of the shelf or are past their expiration date are the most likely to be infested with grain moths, flour beetles, and other food pests. These so-called “pantry pests” feed inside the package in the larval stage and are usually not noticed until the adult insects emerge from the box or bag. In a dark corner of a pantry, an infestation could be overlooked for some time.

Give Colonial a Call

We can inspect your home not only for spiders but also for the prey that they are feeding on. Household spiders can often be eliminated without the use of pesticides. Our technicians use specialty vacuums and brushes to remove spiders and their webs. Finding and eliminating their primary food source is a permanent solution to the problem of indoor spiders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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