So, you have a bunch of barn spiders around your property. And you need to get rid of them.
Are you afraid of spiders? If so, they could be pretty frightening with their hairy bodies and 12 foot webs.
But then again, they ARE beneficial to have around the garden because they catch and eat annoying insects- which can be harmful to you.
It’s best not to kill them, but rather, exclude or naturally repel them from your home.
In this guide, we’ll talk about:
- Why you have so many barn spiders in your garden
- What attracts them to to your home
- DIY home remedies to naturally get rid of them
- What you can spray to keep them away from your property
- Exclusion techniques to control and eliminate barn spiders
- And more
By the end of this page, you should have everything you need to know to keep the spiders out.
And if you have any questions, please post a comment or reach out to me directly.
Bookmark this page so you can easily refer back to it.
Sound good? Let’s send those spiders back to the barn!
What’s a barn spider?
If you’ve ever read Charlotte’s Web, the spider (Charlotte) is a barn spider.
Also known as Araneus cavaticus, they’re a tiny spider with the skill to spin a symmetrical web that can span up to 12 feet wide.
The barn spider is a light brown to dark brown pest that’s commonly found in isolated areas around the home, farm, porch, cave, or barn.
They’re those reddish-orange spiders with the hairy legs and abdomen that you come across hiding in foliage or crawl spaces. These are orb-weaving spiders that create the most fascinating web designs (like those you see in nature pictures).
There are over 200 species of barn spiders, and although they’re considered a beneficial insect, some homeowners just don’t want them spinning webs all over their property (or getting bitten by one).
These arachnids are found across the US, so many names have been concocted from their signature appearance. Folklore, fairytales, and novels all contributed to these nicknames:
- Barn funnel weaver (mistakenly)
- Barn funnel weaver spider (mistakenly)
- Spotted Orbweaver
- Hentz’s Orbweaver
- Barn weaver spider
- Barn orb-weaver
- Barn funnel spider
- Common barn spider
- Barn orb-weaver spider
- Charlotte’s web spider
Appearance – What does a barn spider look like?
Barn spiders can range in color but tend to be mainly red, orange, brown, or white.
They have banded patterns on their legs that vary designs.
They have a fuzzy, hairy appearance all over their legs and body because of small, fine hairs that cover their hard exoskeleton.
Although they may look soft on the outside, they’re protected by a fine layer of hard chitin, similar to most other spiders.
Their legs are the most distinguishing feature. Barn spiders have patterns constantly switching between two colors going down each leg. These alternating colors make them easy to identify from others.
These are the easiest signs to tell a barn spider from other similar species, like the funnel weaver spider or brown recluse.
The abdomen is different depending on the species of barn spider but is either spherical or oval-shaped. The hairs that cover it make the entire body look furry.
Some species are up to ¾ of an inch and are brown, orange, yellow, or maroon in coloration with striped patterns on the legs. Their undersides (bottom) are completely black with white markings, but there can be a range.
These spiders are about ¾” in length for an adult male, while females are slightly bigger at ⅞” in length. Like most other insects, the female is bigger than the male.
Barn spider life cycle
The barn spider has a basic and common life cycle similar to any other spider species.
These spiders are most active from the summer to the fall. The males and females mate in the autumn and the female will deposit her eggs shortly after mating. The female spider lays eggs by creating an egg sac using her web silk.
The eggs are deposited into the sac and then the entire sac is deposited itself. Each egg sac can house hundreds of small eggs, but not all of them will hatch. The female is usually killed by the winter storm and the male may be eaten after they mate.
The eggs are protected by the sac and will slowly incubate over the winter. They hatch in the spring when the temperatures slowly pick back up again and warm up the environment.
Baby barn spiders emerge from their eggs by the dozens and will start spinning their webs immediately.
But this is only after they’ve floated to a new place far away from their hatching site.
Since they’re so small and lightweight, they use currents in the wind and “float” by releasing silk strands and drift upwards. They can gauge wind speed and direction just by the tiny hairs on their legs and abdomen.
They can travel many miles by doing this, also known as ballooning. This will help the spider population disperse and breed stronger generations in the future.
How to identify one
Barn spiders are easy to identify by using their unique making and body size. You can also tell by their web that they build overnight.
Here’s what to look for when identifying these spiders:
- Body size of up to 2.22 centimeters for females and 1.90 centimeters for males
- Colors of tan, brown, creamy orange, coffee, black, or red.
- The underside has black and white markings
- Alternating bands on the legs of two colors
- Brown or white legs, sometimes orange and white or other hybrids
- Egg-shaped abdomen with a wide, swollen appearance.
- Dark spots on the abdomen
- Orb-shaped webs that are symmetrical
- Webs that are typically 3 feet, but up to 12 feet in diameter
- Nighttime web building
- Barn spiders build from the outside in rather than inside out
- Barn spiders eat their webs in the day, so if you see a spider on a web and its daytime, it’s not a barn spider.
- If disturbed and it couldn’t finish eating its web by daytime, you’ll see a barn spider in the day sitting head down in the middle of the web
- Webs near porch lights, artificial lights, pathing markers, streetlights, etc. flying insects are attracted to lights, so you’ll often find barn spiders weaving their orbs near these light sources to catch their prey
- Webs found in perpendicular surfaces with open spaces (a frame around a wide space)- bends in rock walls, doorways, pillars, fences, branches, supporting columns, plants, foliage, ceilings, soffits, eaves, etc.
The best time to search for barn spiders is in the evening as they come out to spin their web. Barn spiders will hide in the day but come out in the night.
They can be found sitting in the middle of their web waiting for prey.
Be careful not to touch the web when you look for one to identify it. It’ll run away into hiding. You can use a microscope and a flashlight to get a closer look at the pest.
Where do they come from?
Barn spiders are found all over the northern states of the US- with a huge presence in the eastern states.
However, the spider has also been found in the lower states, such as Texas, Florida, Maine, and southeast Canada.
They prefer warmer temperatures and will be active mostly during the summer and fall, as this is when most homeowners find them scurrying about or running into their webs. They’re also native to Canada in multiple provinces.
Are they beneficial?
They also don’t live inside the home for extended periods since most homes don’t provide them enough food to sustain their food requirements.
And they hide in the day so they’re out of the way. Unless you’re wandering around your property at night, you probably won’t encounter one.
The worst they can do is leave behind a web that you run into if they don’t recycle the silk- or you get bitten by one. Spiders are considered a beneficial insect and should be relocated or left alone, rather than killed.
You can make your property less favorable to barn spiders or use exclusion techniques, both of which we’ll cover in this guide. These can help get rid of them without killing them since they’re a useful part of the ecosystem (as with many other species).
They’re no different than other spiders which only want FOOD.
Where do barn spiders hide?
Barn spiders are active during the night as they wait on their beautiful web for something to fly into it so they can pounce. They’re carnivorous, opportunistic feeders and will eat whatever meal they can catch. They’re not picky.
In the daytime, they hide in any nook and cranny to hide from predators, such as birds that are commonly known for busting through a web and catching a spider with pinpoint accuracy.
Barn spiders will hide in the leaves, crevices, cracks, crawl spaces, and other small, secure places to protect themselves from predators that eat barn spiders.
What are they attracted to?
Like most other spiders, barn spiders are attracted to flying insects.
They weave their webs over and over again to catch these flying bugs and will often build their webs nearby a source that has a bountiful supply of them.
Things like garden clutter, lights, unruly plants, and water will attract their food source. The greater the number of prey to feed on, the more barn spiders you’ll have.
Do they live together? Cohabitate?
No. Barn spiders are solitary creatures and will even eat each other.
They prefer to be alone and will spend their entire lives like this.
Barn spiders may briefly encounter others when mating, but that’s it. They don’t live in groups or with other bugs.
What do they eat?
Barn spiders, like most other house spiders, spin webs to catch their prey.
They feed on a variety of flying insects as they’re orb weavers and spin their webs in an attempt to catch anything that flies through it.
They feed on a variety of bugs, some of which include:
- Flies (whiteflies, houseflies, thrips, gnats, etc.)
- Beetles (larder, fig, potato, cucumber, darkling, wood, etc.)
- Meal moths
They also feed on crawling insects if they happen to get into the web.
These spiders don’t go actively hunting for food (such as jumping spiders do). They spend their time waiting on the webs for prey to come to them.
Barn spider webs
Their orb webs are extremely sticky so they can catch even the tiniest of bugs that try to fly through it and avoid it. Their webs are large, spanning over three feet wide at the widest point.
Some species of barn spiders will attach themselves to two objects that are over 12 feet apart and spin a giant orb web between the two. The webs are symmetrical in shape, which is pretty amazing from a small little spider.
Barn spiders spin their webs at night right around sunset to catch flying bugs overnight.
The next day, they eat their web and will migrate or stay hidden only to repeat the process the next evening.
They repeat this web weaving process every night to catch any possible meals that may come through. The webs are attached to multiple anchor points, usually of which are different objects.
These webs are commonly found on natural objects like branches or leaves.
They can also attach webs to your home’s windows, doors, porch, boathouses, guest houses, rafters, soffits, eaves, wooden beams, ceiling, roof, windowsill, balcony, plants, sheds, outhouse, and of course, barn.
They’re also often found near lakes and on boat docks, decks, and boats themselves. That’s the origin of their name “barn” spider.
When are they most active?
Barn spiders come out during the night and wait on their web for their next meal.
They are nocturnal spiders. They hide during the day in crevices and cracks out of sight so they don’t get eaten.
They’re most active in warmer weather, which is typical from July to August spanning until October. They prefer dark areas that have plenty of cracks to hide in with multiple points to secure their webs.
Barn spiders are migratory and will move if no meals are caught in the same place. They’re nomadic and won’t stay in the same area for more than a few days.
So this is one way to get rid of them- do nothing and wait for them to leave on their own accord.
But if you have a lot of barn spiders native to your area or it’s a new season of spider babies, you may have too many to deal with. So it’s time to get rid of them and reduce their numbers.
Do barn spiders live inside the house?
The occasional barn spider may find itself inside your house, it doesn’t happen often.
These spiders do have a big appetite and will help you bring down other bug populations on your property, so that’s a benefit of keeping them around.
But if one does make its way into your home, it’ll likely leave on its own because there’s not enough food for it to sustain itself inside your house.
Unless you have a lot of flying insects buzzing around your room, barn spiders are likely to not infest the house.
As their name suggests, they like to inhabit wooden structures, but the home doesn’t provide enough food for them to be sustainable.
Check out this time-lapse video of a barn spider spinning a web:
Note that they do this every night, which is quite a feat.
Can they see?
Barn spiders can see, but they have poor eyesight.
They use their sense of vibration to detect nearby prey and bounce on their webs to see how their meal reacts. From the fidgeting of the bug they caught on their sticky web, this will tell them if it’s edible.
Why do I have barn spiders?
You have barn spiders because your property is favorable to them.
As mentioned prior in this page, your garden provides an environment that provides them with the three things they need to sustain themselves:
- Anchor points to weave a web
- And a place to hide
If your garden has a lot of different areas that a barn spider can spin its web (lots of anchor objects with a wide-open space), then you shouldn’t be surprised.
It’ll weave its web every night and catch any bugs that fly through the center.
Some other reasons why barn spiders may be present:
- Lots of clutter and hiding places
- Dense foliage which attracts bugs for them to eat
- Artificial lighting
- Unkempt plants
- Leaf litter
- Pest activity
- Lots of suitable surfaces for them to spin webs
- Anchor points like plants, bushes, soffits, eaves, beams, windows, doors, etc.
- Places to hide in the daytime
- Less competition from other spiders
Do barn spiders bite?
Barn spiders tend to run away and hide from humans rather than bite them.
But if threatened or provoked, they’re fully capable of biting. Most barn spiders are harmless and will only infest the outdoors rather than come into your home on purpose and bite you.
These spiders will spin their webs around your property and you may accidentally walk into one which could trigger them to bite.
You should always use protective gear when going near potential spider territory.
Even if they’re generally harmless, that doesn’t mean you won’t face a barn spider that’s currently in “fight” status because it was previously provoked a few seconds ago, right? You never know. So always be careful.
Are barn spiders poisonous?
Barn spiders aren’t poisonous, but they are venomous.
There is a difference between the two terms and they’re often confused and used interchangeably. You should note the difference yourself for future reference:
When a bite is venomous, it means it’s toxic from a bite.
When a substrate is poisonous, it means that it’s toxic when ingested.
Barn spiders are venomous, therefore they will bite then use their tiny piercing fangs to inject venom into the bloodstream. So they do pose a threat.
Barn spider bites will cause some irritation, abdominal cramping, chills, nausea, and other side effects. You should seek care immediately from your primary care doctor or seek urgent care.
Some sensitive individuals may have adverse reactions from spider bites that are unexpected. Always be careful and wear protective equipment when wandering into spider territory.
Some of them may not produce venom entirely. Barn spider bites contain venom that’s harmless to most humans. But some people can be sensitive (and their dogs and cats).
How to get rid of barn spiders naturally
Here are some various, natural DIY home remedies you can utilize to control, manage, and repel barn spiders from your home. Try a few of them out and see what works for you.
Remember to always use proper equipment (gloves, clothing, shoes, etc.) when wandering into areas that may be infested with spiders.
With proper practice, you can get rid of a barn spider infection without the use of dangerous compounds. Try them out and see what works!
Remove all clutter
The number one thing you can do to keep barn spiders out of your property is to build an environment that naturally repels them and keeps them out.
A yard that is messy and full of hiding places (read: clutter) is just asking for them to come to your home
That’s because if your garden is a mess, it attracts a wide variety of other bugs to it.
Barn spiders are carnivores, so they feed on other bugs. The more food supply there is, the more favorable your property becomes to them. So of course, barn spiders will come to your home and spin webs around it to catch this plentiful supply of insects.
Keeping clutter around like equipment, furniture, or using your garden as a storage center also baits other pests to come and take shelter. The many nooks and crannies that can be found in all the junk lying around are homes for insects like beetles in the house, small cockroaches, silverfish, pincher bugs, and more.
They hide in the cracks and crevices made by various objects easily accessible to them. And so do barn spiders. They protect themselves by hiding in the day. They seek out cracks and crevices and holes that wedge their body against all sides to feel safe. Predators can’t find them
If you have a lot of hiding places made artificially by clutter or junk, barn spiders have plenty of reason to come.
Clutter is an extensive list.
Here are some of their favorite hiding places that you can check out:
- Wood storage
- Outdoor patio furniture
- Porch decorations
- Crawl spaces
- Cracks and crevices
Some of the structures you can’t do anything about. And we’ll cover that later.
But the ones that you can, secure them, move them, sell them, or trash them.
Storing them out of easy reach from outdoor pests can make a big difference in the number of them that come to your yard.
Keep foliage trimmed
The plants in your yard should also be cleaned up.
Spiders will use the tall branches of your plants to anchor their web attachment points. Remember that barn spiders can weave webs that span over 10 feet in diameter.
If you have a lot of foliage in your garden, they have plenty to work with. Not to mention that other bugs will take shelter, breed, hide, and eat your foliage- especially overgrown, grassy, weedy plants.
So keep them pruned, trimmed, or remove them entirely.
Here are some general tips:
- Remove unnecessary plants
- Keep all foliage pruned on a schedule
- Clean up leaf litter immediately
- Harvest fruits and veggies on time (don’t leave your crops there to rot)
- Remove weeds and tall grasses
- Use bug-proof mulch or substrate
- Consider adding a border around your garden
The plant matter is a huge attractant for different pests. Get rid of the bugs and you’ll eliminate the food source of the barn spiders.
Minimize the number of bugs on your property
Yes, you’re dealing with spiders.
But the only reason they’re there is that they have plenty of food to eat. Barn spiders specifically are interested in the flying bugs that are hovering around your home and garden.
If you can reduce their populations, you effectively take away their food source and this proves to be an effective technique. If there’s no food, there’s no reason for spiders to hang around any longer.
Barn spiders consume up to 3 times their body weight daily. That’s like if a 150lb human ate 450lb of food per day!
These spiders are voracious and have insatiable appetites. They’re waiting all night for their next meal on their web, sitting in the center. If you get rid of the number of bugs, then they have nothing to eat.
Take steps to help reduce the overall pest population in your garden, especially flying insects. Cleaning up your yard and removing clutter and hiding places is a good start.
But there are more home remedies you can do to help eliminate them further, such as companion planting, growing pest repelling plants, replacing your substrate with pest-free alternatives, using sticky traps or insect traps, reducing lighting, and more.
You can check out each of these insect guides for more details:
- Plaster Bagworms
- Whiteflies on Indoor Plants
- Fungus Gnats
- Tiny Flying Bugs on Light Fixtures
Find out which of these are present in your garden (and home). Then read on to learn how to get rid of them.
If it’s not here, you can do a search for them on this site using the search box.
The barn spiders are likely eating them as well- especially if they’re a flying pest.
Get rid of water
Freestanding water is utilized by flying insects like mosquitoes.
Get rid of any water sources in your yard and make sure that your drain ways are working properly.
Water is one of the most significant attractors of bugs in the common household.
You can eliminate entire species just by getting rid of water:
- Maintain water features like fountains and pools
- Keep birdbaths clean
- Use drip irrigation
- Don’t overwater your plants
- Use loose, well-draining soil
- Reduce watering frequency for all plants- unless watering frequently is crucial
- Use rocks at the bottom of plant beds
- Check your drains to make sure they drain well
Replace lights with sodium vapor bulbs
Artificial lighting attracts pests at night because its light spectrum output is similar to daylight in wavelength (blue light).
This attracts flying insects that exhibit the behavior phototaxis, or the attraction to light. Spiders will weave webs nearby these light sources at night because they know that’s where the food is.
If you replace your lighting with yellow bulbs or sodium vapor bulbs, they’ll attract fewer insects, so then the barn spiders have less food supply to sustain themselves.
This may force them to leave your property in search of other opportunities to munch down insects.
Call a pest control company
When you’ve tried all the do it yourself home remedies and nothing seems to be keeping those spiders away, then consider hiring a professional exterminator to handle it for you.
Whether you don’t have time, patience, or expertise, you can call a local pest control agent to help out.
A lot of companies will do a free inspection to see what the issue is- you can ask tons of questions during this free evaluation and get answers. Like what kind of spider it is, why it’s there, and how to handle it.
Ask for natural or green (or organic) control methods. A lot of larger companies now have green treatments to drive out spiders so you don’t kill them, but rather, repel them.
Birds are a popular predator of spiders and they’re everywhere, so you probably have one or two species native to your area that’ll gladly eat up barn spiders.
Find out which birds are present in your area by doing some research. And then make your yard more favorable to them to attract them.
Here are some birds that eat barn spiders:
- Blue tit
Here are some tips to attract more birds in general:
- Plant low lying shrubs
- Add bird feeders, birdhouses, and birdbaths
- Keep the yard clean to make it easier for the birds to spot spiders
- Grow plants that attract birds (colorful flowers, pollinators, etc.)
- Don’t put objects that scare birds (shiny surfaces)
- Add caterpillars to bait birds
- Use the right birdseed
- Use bird treats
How to prevent cobwebs in the barn
Cobwebs are a high ceiling’s worst nightmare. You can’t do much other than to keep the spiders out in the first place.
But if you already have a ton of cobwebs hanging around the roof of your barn, you should get rid of them first.
Some spiders will build upon cobwebs or use the existing space around them.
Here are some other general tips:
- Keep your barn aisle clean.
- Add tack hooks and racks to keep it clean
- Install a mesh filter around windows
- Use bug zappers to catch flying insects
- Keep storage tidy
- Sweep often
- Add sticky traps around openings
- Store fabrics and blankets securely
- Clean barn windows and doors
- Keep tools free of webs
What to spray for barn spiders
You should always avoid using any synthetic pesticides when possible.
They’re bad for you, your pets, and the environment.
Get an organic or natural pesticide spray if available- especially if you’re growing edible plants in your garden.
Here’s what to look for in a spray.
Buy something that has these active ingredients, which are known to kill spiders:
For your convenience, here are some products that contain those ingredients:
Always use as directed. Wear proper PPE.
What is the best spider repellent?
If you don’t want to kill the spiders and would rather repel them, you can do this by using a variety of repellents that naturally repel barn spiders, rather than using some poisonous residual sprays.
Essential oils are concentrated and highly aromatic liquids that will quickly release a powerful vapor to deter spiders.
Depending on the type of oil, it can be hit or miss.
You can experiment with a few different types to see what works best. You’ll dilute the oil with water and then spray it where barn spiders are active. This should keep them out of the area.
Each oil requires a different dilution technique, but you can find guides online. Usually, a few drops of oil in a quart of water is sufficient.
Be sure to read all the labels on the oil bottle and use them as directed.
Here are some oils that can naturally repel spiders:
- Peppermint oil
- Spearmint oil
- Tea tree oil
- Citronella oil
- Wood chips
- Lemon oil
- Lime oil
- Orange oil
And here’s a video to show you how dilution works:
Or use commercial repellents
There are TONS of spider repelling sprays you can buy at your local hardware store.
If you go this route, be sure to do you research and read reviews. Opt for something organic or natural rather than completely synthetic.
Check the label and follow all warnings.
Some of the most popular brands on the market are the following:
Again, I urge to use only home remedies to get rid of spiders. If you choose to use sytheicss, always use as directed.
What smells do barn spiders hate?
Other than essential oils, spiders are also repelled by the scent of citrus.
They don’t like orange, lemons, limes, or anything spicy.
You can use cinnamon powder or sticks around the home to keep them out. Or you can stick some powder around areas that you see spiders frequently.
Citrus peels can also be used in the same effect. Peel an orange or lemon and then reuse the peels around the garden. The scent deters barn spiders. These work well against spiders in the home.
Chestnuts are also speculated to repel spiders naturally.
As weird as it sounds you can get some crushed chestnuts and put them into a sock, then place the sock or hang it outside. It’ll repel them because they hate the scent.
This is a common DIY remedy with mixed results. But it’s worth a try.
Salt will dehydrate spiders. Sprinkle dashes of table salt around crevices where spiders hide. The salt will repel them or kill them if they come into contact with it.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural and sometimes organic fine white powder that you can sprinkle around areas that spiders hide. The powder will dehydrate them and eventually kill them. It works by piercing their chitin skeleton and then draining them of precious fluids.
If you decide to try this remedy, get the organic food-grade diatomaceous earth xyz. Do NOT use pool-grade as this isn’t nearly as safe. The powder is fine to use around most people and pets.
Apply it around indoors and outdoors, but away from pets and people who may ingest it in large amounts. Use PPE. Be sure to read and follow all labels.
Here are some additional references that you may find helpful about barn spiders:
- Barn Spider – MDC
- Orb Weaver Spider – Wildlife Heritage Foundation
- Barn spider spotted on web – Reddit
Did you get rid of the barn spiders around your property?
You now have a solid foundation of knowledge to control, manage, and eliminate barn spiders from your garden.
They’re a beneficial insect to have around because they’ll help you catch a lot of annoying flying bugs that’ll harm you.
So don’t kill them. Exclude them, repel them, or just leave them be.
They won’t harm you if you don’t provoke them.
And they’ll work for you 24/7 to catch insects and keep them in your home. If you don’t want barn spiders, create an environment that’s unsustainable for them.
Remove food and water. Remove clutter. And clean up the yard.
Do you have any questions? Do you have a ton of barn spiders and don’t know what to do? Each situation is unique. Post a comment and let me know and I’ll try to help you out.
Or if you found this page helpful, please let me know as well. Consider telling a friend or neighbor who may be dealing with the same pest.
Thanks for reading.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.