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Growing Green: Spider webs indoors too real for Halloween decor

It’s fall and household invaders are coming indoors.

Does it seem like you have more spider webs and spiders inside and outside of your home lately?

Although all those webs fit in well with the Halloween season, for some folks with a little arachnophobia, spiders can be a problem.

The most important thing to know is that nearly all of Pennsylvania’s spiders are harmless. In general, spiders are beneficial creatures that eat other insects.

Outdoor spiders should be left alone. Spiders can produce a painful bite. You should not try to handle them.

At this time of year, spiders begin their annual mating rituals. One of the most frightening behaviors is from the male funnel web spider. These spiders are more than one-inch-long and run very quickly. They are grayish-brown in color with light colored stripes on their backs. Those with bluish-black appendages attached to the front of their heads wave them around to attract a mate.

A lot of the cobweb-producing spiders produce egg sacs in summer. They create their biggest sac in late summer. Many of these eggs hatch into tiny spiderlings that will seek protected sites in your home to spin small cobwebs and over-winter. The best way to take care of these little critters is to vacuum them up.

Spraying around the outside perimeter of your property for spiders isn’t usually recommended. Keep them out by sealing small cracks in the house foundation, windowsills and doors. Keep foundation plantings from touching your outside walls of your house. Reduce the amount of mulch around the foundation.

Crickets are another little critter that may try to make a home in your house at this time of year.

Some people like the loud chirping that’s going on around their homes in August and September. If one has taken up residence in your house, it can be annoying.

The most common culprit is the black field cricket. All that chirping is their mating call. The best way to manage this creature is by vacuuming him up, or picking him up and shooing him out the door.

The brown marmorated stink bug, which is usually a garden creature, is known to sneak under a door and through cracks and crevices of the house to escape winter’s wrath. They hibernate in the walls until spring when they awaken and search for a way to get outdoors.

Although they are harmless to humans, when agitated or squashed, stink bugs emit an offensive odor. Keep stink bugs at bay by applying a silicone-latex caulk to seal cracks and crevices around windows, doorframes, vents and siding. Eliminate stink bugs inside your home by vacuuming thoroughly and disposing of the vacuum bag in an outside garbage can.

“Growing Green” is contributed by Diane Dorn, Lehigh County Extension Office Staff, and Master Gardeners. Information: Lehigh County Extension Office, 610-391-9840; Northampton County Extension Office, 610-813-6613.