The Real Reason There are Cobwebs in Your House

They may have a certain season charm about them this time of year but there’s nothing more annoying, and frankly gross, than seeing cobwebs under your chairs or hanging in your chandeliers or in the high corners of your living room.

You work really hard to keep your place clean, and it’s super annoying to not only see that you missed a spot, but a whole corner of your room looks like a cheap haunted house. It may seem as though they just cropped up out of nowhere, but there’s a real reason you have cobwebs in your house.

cobwebs

What are cobwebs?

To make things easy, think of them as spiderwebs.

Spiders spin webs to catch prey. They secrete a thin, transparent thread known as silk to create intricate patterns used to trap smaller insects. The spiders you may find in your home spin round webs that anchor to corners or light fixtures. Other breeds of spiders will spin tubular-shaped webs at the base of trees. Each variety of spider uses its web differently but the ultimate goal is to catch dinner without having to travel too far.

Or in the case of Spider-Man, to catch bank robbers and evil scientists and stuff.

Cobwebs vs. spiderwebs

As we mentioned, cobwebs and spiderwebs are more or less the same things. A cobweb is a web that was abandoned by the spider that created it. The reason you may find cobwebs in your home depends on whether or not you have a pest problem.

Insects come into your home looking for food. Spiders come into your home looking for insects, which are food. Or, if there have been heavy rains recently, the insects that are outdoors during the day get washed away in the wet weather.

There are a couple of reasons why a spider would abandon its web. Sometimes, other insects will get wise to the web and not travel in that direction as often. Other times, the web simply loses its stickiness. Within the spider’s silk is a chemical produced by the spider giving its web a sticky, tacky feeling similar to glue. When that compound starts to break down, the web remains intact but is less effective in catching prey.

When that happens, spiders have to move elsewhere so they can eat. And spiders will have lots of options as far as where to go. Cobweb spiders, as they’re known, are the most common arthropod found in homes. Odds are, you may have at least a couple of them in your house right now.

cobwebs

How to get rid of cobwebs

Once a spider abandons its web, the only thing it collects is dust. And since a cobweb is just a spiderweb the spider ditched, the solution to removing them is pretty much the same as removing any creepy crawly critters from the premises: With a broom, vacuum hose, extendable duster or even just a long stick. Any one of those will do the job.

Consider doing a deep clean on a rainy Sunday afternoon. You can get rid of all the pests inside your home while the rain takes care of the pests waiting until after dark to let themselves in. When you do clean, be sure to get those hard to reach spots in the upper and lower corners of your home, as well as under the legs of tables or chairs.

Yep, that means getting the space under the sofa, as well. Anyplace you don’t regularly look or access is a prime location for a spider to build its web. If you want to keep your home cobweb-free, there are a couple of things you need to do:

1. Clean regularly

Weekly or bi-weekly cleanings of your space will keep your home free of spiderwebs and the bugs they trap and feast on.

2. Use peppermint essential oil

For added insurance, spritz some peppermint essential oil in all the corners of your home. The intense scent is too overpowering for them and they’ll move to set up shop elsewhere.

3. Don’t just focus on the inside

Walk around your home every once in a while, and check for spiderwebs under eaves and overhangs. Look around the base of pillars or light fixtures. Because even though they’re outside now, it won’t be difficult for them to find their way indoors.

Too many cobwebs?

Spider webs are an important and necessary part of the food chain. They can be helpful in catching all the little bugs and flies that drive you crazy, but an abundance of spider webs or cobwebs in your home could be a sign of a larger insect problem. And that doesn’t mean it’s a strike against your cleanliness or how regularly you clean.

Changes in weather will give all kinds of critters the chance to sneak indoors, especially in the warmer months. When that happens, talk to your landlord or building management office and ask if they can call an exterminator.

If you have a pet, remember to request that they use pet-safe sprays and insecticides. (Those can be purchased online, too, if you want to save some trouble and do it yourself.) This way, you can leave the spider webs where they belong — in scary movies and that spooky old mansion at the end of the block.

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Ryan SloaneRyan Sloane is an award-winning journalist, writer, comedian and former child. He's lived in Atlanta for 10 years but still calls himself a New Yorker. Lately, he's doing a lot of stress eating and watching cable news in his sweatpants. You should probably check in with him on Twitter and see how he's doing.

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