The best way to handle any spiders is to leave it to the professionals. They may recommend that you leave the spider alone, as wolf spiders generally do more good than harm in an ecosystem and are unlikely to attack humans. The below information is general and hypothetical information.
To kill spiders with babies on their back (generally, a wolf spider), pest control agents may trap the spiders under a jar and kill them within the jar. Some people even place the jar in a freezer overnight to freeze the animal.
Alternatively, some pest control agents might flush the spiders down a toilet with the knowledge that the suction will bring down the spider and its young all at the same time.
This is one of the more difficult spider-killing tasks because you really want to avoid having baby spiders or eggs sprawling all over the place. So, it’s best to get professionals to do it. Techniques that don’t work so well include: smashing it and vacuuming it.
Important Note: This is general information only. Do not approach a spider. If you have been bitten, seek professional medical attention immediately. Always have professionals identify and manage your pest control needs.
Techniques that Work
Below are three useful methods for catching, removing or killing a pregnant spider or a spider carrying its babies.
1. Catching and Freezing It
Most spiders can’t survive in sub-freezing temperatures. So, placing a spider in your freezer overnight is usually enough to kill the spider and its young.
For this technique to work, the trained pest control agent would need to capture the spider and its young together. Fortunately, wolf spiders’ young usually cling to the mother at times of danger and only scatter when they are truly scared into doing so.
So, an agent should be able to place a large container or glass jar over the spider and lock-in both the mother spider and its young. Sometimes they might need to wait for the spider to move away from a corner to get a good clear shot at trapping it.
Then they can carefully slip a thin sheet of cardboard under the glass jar to trap the spider in. The agent could also use paper, a plastic lid from your pantry, or any other reliable sheet that can act as a lid.
A pest control agent may often have a second person by their side to step in and kill any baby spiders that manage to escape and scatter.
Once the lid has successfully been slipped under, the agent can turn the glass jar upside down so the lid is on top rather than the bottom of the jar. At this stage, there’s some risk the baby spiders will scatter, so it’s usually best turn it over gently and ensure the lid forms a seal around the jar at all times.
Next – it’s possible simply place the glass jar in your freezer and leave it for 24 – 48 hours. However, an agent is likely to dispose of it themselves.
2. Catching and Flushing It
The next technique is to catch and flush the spider with its young. This method works because a toilet bowl has a steep slippery wall that spiders generally cannot climb. Furthermore, once they hit the water, they will have the struggle of trying to wade in the water as well.
When the spider is flushed, the suction and wash of water will bring down the mother spider and its young all at once, preventing any mess.
So, for this technique, again the trained pest control agent will need to first capture the spider. They may follow the steps outlined in the section ‘catching and freezing it’ above. To summarize:
- They use a container such as a glass jar to trap the spider.
- They carefully slip a cardboard or plastic sheet under the jar to trap the spider.
Then, they carefully bring the jar to the toilet and release the spider into the toilet. Usually a swift motion of holding the jar just above the toilet and removing the cardboard lid over the bowl will do the trick.
3. Just Letting it Be
Understandably, many people would find the above steps intimidating. Getting your hands that close to a spider can be intimidating and scary! So, the truly best option is to simply let the spider get on with its life and monitor it until it leaves.
You could attempt to monitor the spider from a safe distance, make exits easily available for it, and use noises and vibrations to coax it out of a living space.
Spiders are for the most part not interested in biting you. You represent a threat to them, not prey. If they can find a way to escape from you, they probably will.
Furthermore, having spiders in your yard can have some benefits. At times, a balanced amount of spiders are a sign of a healthy ecosystem.
4. Spraying It
Spraying wolf spiders with babies on their backs has mixed results. Unless the spray is extremely strong, there’s a good chance that the spray will cause all the spiders to scatter. There are plenty of videos on YouTube of people failing to spray wolf spider mothers, leading to scattering of baby spiders around the room.
I don’t recommend this method. But, if you’re going to do this, be prepared to liberally spray the spiders as they scatter. Having multiple spray cans and spray can operators is the best option. Take a look at this video for what to expect:
Spraying a pregnant spider whose spiders have not been born yet should work okay as there are no babies to scatter – so this method does work at times.
Techniques to Avoid
The following techniques will likely lead to scattering of the baby spiders.
1. Smashing It
The most common way to kill a spider is to hit it with a thick book, shoe or flip flop. And by and large, this method works really well.
But smashing a spider with babies may lead to the babies scattering. And smashing a pregnant spider may lead to a big mess of eggs scattered around the place.
Here’s an example of someone unsuccessfully trying to smash a wolf spider with babies on its back:
So, I would personally avoid smashing a spider that is pregnant or is carrying babies as there’s a good chance the babies will scatter and some will survive.
2. Vacuuming It
Vacuuming spiders rarely actually kills them. The spiders get sucked into the dust bag where they will remain alive. Usually, people put their vacuum cleaner away, and the spiders crawl their way out of the vacuum cleaner sometime later in the night.
Furthermore, if the spider is carrying babies, the vacuuming will scatter the babies either around the room or into the dust bag.
So, vacuuming will likely lead to scattering of spiders rather than their successful removal.
While I personally try to catch and release spiders when I can, it’s understandable that many people just want to kill the spider. While the old “smash it with a book or flip flop” trick works with most spiders, when there’s baby spiders involved (who could scatter without warning), it’s important to contain the spider somehow before killing it.
By killing the spider within a contained area such as a glass jar or toilet bowl, a trained pest control agent can prevent babies from scattering and causing more problems for you.
Remember, dealing with spiders can be dangerous. So, contact a professional to do the work for you. The above information explains how professionals do it – it’s not a suggestion that you handle the situation on your own.
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