Stepping into the tub only to discover that a wolf spider has beaten you to it is not a pleasant experience, especially if arachnids make your skin crawl. It's a popularly held belief that spiders make their way up bathtub drains, but the way that they actually end up there may be a bit more disturbing.
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There are more than 125 species of wolf spiders found in North America, ranging in size from 1/2 to 2 inches long. They are grey or brown with bold markings and are covered in a layer of hair. Wolf spiders do not build webs, but instead make their homes beneath rocks or by creating burrows in the earth. Unlike web builders, they actively search for prey at night.
Spiders and Bathtub Drains
Many people believe that spiders make their way up drains and into the bathtub because they are so often found there. This is a myth and would be a difficult act for spiders to accomplish, as household drains have a sediment trap that stays filled with water. Wolf spiders actually wander inside through open doors, windows or large crevices. Once the lights go out they begin to explore, searching for prey and an occasional drink, which is how they end up in the tub. Once they climb in, it is nearly impossible for them to climb back out.
Removing Wolf Spiders from the Tub
When you discover a wolf spider in the tub you have two options: remove it or kill it. Squashing the spider with a large object is effective, but leaves behind a gooey mess. An equally fatal, tidier option is to vacuum the spider up with an attachment hose. It also is possible to remove the spider without harming it by placing a cup or jar over the spider and slipping a stiff piece of cardboard beneath, then releasing it outdoors.
Keeping Wolf Spiders Out of the Tub
The only way to keep wolf spiders out of the tub is to keep them out of the house. Never leave the door standing open and always use window screens. It's also a good idea to seal cracks around windows and doors. Spiders like to hide, so eliminating clutter inside and out is another way to make your home a less inviting environment for spiders.
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