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So i have arachnophobia, so bad that my body will lock up and i black out if there is a spider on me.

Now i do live with my parents and it occurred to be today when i freaked out when i saw a Huntsman that when when that dreadful day comes where i no longer have my parents and i live alone i'm not not going to be able to call them to kill the spiders for me.

I live in Australia so i can't buy a semi-automatic and shoot the hell out of them and using homemade flamethrowers (aerosol can (like deodorant) + lighter) will cause too much damage because i am liable to overkill them and burn a hole in the wall/floor/ceiling/house.

it's also very hard for me to be close to them. in the past when i've been told to try and crush them myself i find it hard to move my body in range to stomp on them or smash them in between the wall and a shoe on my hand.

So how can i kill spiders accurately with me being far away from them but also minimizing collateral damage to the rest of the house

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  • I had the same problem when I lived in Australia (I moved to the Netherlands, where it is safe). Do you want to pay money for devices or just the easiest way possible?
    – Kiwu
    Jun 9, 2016 at 12:44
  • @Kiwi easiest would be best and hopefully i don't have to pay money for it (i think hiring an exterminator every time might be a costly solution)
    – Memor-X
    Jun 9, 2016 at 12:49
  • even though I think we shouldn't crush them (I do it myself out of fear), I have had a few experiences in the matter. (check answer)
    – Kiwu
    Jun 9, 2016 at 12:51
  • 1
    Why do you need to kill them? Jan 25 at 15:30
  • *being an American* It's just a spider how bad can it be? Let me just google "Australian Huntsman Spider" - Oh holy God.
    – goodguy5
    Feb 10 at 14:48

9 Answers 9

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Two responses:

  1. I would look into a gecko or other type of lizard that eats spiders, and allow it free range. It will be a companion of sorts (though generally will seek to live behind your stove or under your furniture); in the event that you see a spider and have some mechanism for capturing/disabling it, the lizard will also serve as a simple disposal mechanism – no need for cleanup.

  2. Seek professional help with your phobia. You are not weak, or sad, or defective for having this phobia – but there's great news: phobias are, by far, the psychological issue with the highest treatment success rate. You can receive reasonable and unscary treatment for this phobia and get on with your life. Enough with the little buggers. You can be free!

    If/when you do that, you'll be able to use normal tools to deal with them. Your gecko friend will also be very proud of you, if a little hungrier.

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  • I asked about geckos on pets.SE and it appears they're not really effective for pest control (plus I guess there's salmonella, etc). I haven't tried myself; they would be the coolest solution if it worked. Jun 24, 2016 at 20:50
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I used to suck them up with the vacuum cleaner. It works fine, I promise you they die in there, but eventually my conscience got the better of me and I trap them instead, with a big tall glass and a bit of card.

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  • 2
    We are talking about big spiders here not sure if a vaccum cleaner is strong enough, unless you have one of them industrial ones.
    – Kiwu
    Jun 13, 2016 at 6:53
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    I have a vacuum with a transparent container, and I can promise you that bugs and spiders do NOT die when they are sucked up. Maybe some models of vacuums will kill them, but it's certainly not guaranteed.
    – Kat
    Feb 16 at 15:55
  • @Kat I don't know if that's better or worse. Poor things. But spiders are very resislient. As long as you empty the container outside and not in the kitchen bin then it's mission accomplished.
    – RedSonja
    Feb 17 at 7:42
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While I'm not sure how big the spiders are in question, (I would imagine that in Australia, they can get pretty big), my sisters both use something called the bugzooka. This is essentially a spring loaded vacuum-creating device that sucks the bug or spider into a semi-sealed chamber which will eventually starve it to death or you can also choose to humanely release it somewhere outside.

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  • Anything like a BugZooka is definitely too small for (some/most) Huntsman spiders – particularly the ones in Australia! Feb 9 at 17:15
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Huntsman are great for keeping mosquito and cockroaches at bay in the house.

When I first moved to Australia ten years ago I vacuumed up every huntsman I saw, I was terrified of them (although not to the same extent as yourself).

Eventually I learned to live alongside them knowing that they would take care of any mozzies or roaches during the night.

If you have to get rid of them, please do it in a humane way if possible, something like that bug catcher contraption where you can keep it arms length.

Also, consider hypnotherapy for your arachnophobia. A good friend of mine cured his through it.

Good luck,

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Killing method

  • A long pole (quaterstaff or something). The distance is good and wait while they are sitting still, aim and then one good jab. Do a quick finish if it isn't killed in one go.

Non lethal method

  • Maybe like makesift a box with a lid and rope on a long stick and just capture it and release it somewhere else. Like this:
    enter image description here

  • Check out spider catcher: Spider catcher maybe you can buy somewhere else for cheaper.

Fun little fact: Some spiders keep frogs as pets.

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  • 3
    Hey Kiwi! While looking at pictures did help you, it can be a serious trigger for others. Maybe it's a good idea to use a picture that has no spiders.
    – salt3g
    Jun 10, 2016 at 14:41
  • @salt3g hi! True but everyones different, it didnt cure but i can atleast stand the things now. Maybe it could help OP
    – Kiwu
    Jun 10, 2016 at 16:36
  • @Kiwu: Another option, if you're keeping the image, is to simply include a link to the image (along with a description of the image, e.g. "an image of a spider-catcher containing a small spider") rather than embedding the image itself in the body of the post.
    – V2Blast
    Mar 24 at 19:33
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Read the book, "The Snake/The Spider," by John Compton. I was in a way to becoming arachnophobic like my mother, till I read the book. I am now very tolerant of the things and only trap them with that Spider Catcher.

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  • I don't suffer from arachnophobia generally but Huntsman spiders are big, particularly the species in Australia, and they hunt too, i.e. they chase their prey, so they're fast as well. I'm not sure any fear of them reasonably is the same thing as 'regular arachnophobia', tho I was able to mostly tolerate them too (or, rather, a smaller species tho still big and fast compared to most spiders). Feb 9 at 18:33
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I'd suggest getting a Bug-a-salt if they're available in your area. It's kind of a gun (looks like a nerf gun) that shoots table salt with compressed air to kill bugs and such.

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  • I suspect those wouldn't work very well for Huntsman spiders – they're big! Feb 9 at 18:35
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I am very sympathetic to your specific plight! I've never encountered Australian Huntsman spiders but I'm pretty sure I had several (dozens) of a (somewhat) smaller Huntsman spider species in a previous location where I lived. (The biggest of these were still roughly the size of my hand!)

I don't have general arachnophobia! For every other variety of spider I encountered before, I had been perfectly content to let them build their webs pretty much wherever they wanted – free pest control!

But Huntsman spiders (or whatever spiders I was seeing) don't build webs – they chase their prey, i.e. they move very quickly! They're also big (spiders).

I killed the first few – one of the first got into my kitchen sink and then couldn't climb back out. (I used a golf club to crush it.)

Several got into my bedroom and would, annoyingly/terrifyingly, stand/stick to a wall right next to my bed. A few others would get onto the ceiling (which was impressive for such big spiders), several times right over a part of the room under which I would (normally) walk. (And the ceilings in this house were pretty short.)

I did have something like a BugZooka, but it only worked for much smaller creatures, and, even then, some creatures, e.g. houseflies, and moths, seemed to be able to either fly away, or hold onto whatever surface they were on, against the suction. (It also tended to kill anything for which it did work.)

I was able to use a hand vacuum cleaner to capture the big spiders a few times, but only them smallest of them (or any that had died).

After I saw the first few big spiders, I did some cursory research, first to try to identify the spiders (which I think were a smaller-than-the-Australian Huntsman species). That reassured me that the spiders weren't a risk to me (beyond discomfort).

Then, somewhat curiously, the frequency with which I encountered them – sometimes there were several in my house at one time – forced me to to be exposed to them and exposure therapy is (AFAIK) the best treatment for phobias. (As a therapy tho, you'd typically gently increase the level of exposure over time.) Despite some very close contact, I was never bitten (AFAIK) and they were never threatening or aggressive to or towards me. My discomfort never entirely abated, but I did definitely learn to live with them to a large extent.

I also watched several videos of people, including some in Australia, 'catching' Huntsman spiders by hand and then releasing them outside. That helped me, intellectually, overcome some of my fear, tho I never tried deliberately handling them myself.

Except for their tendency to spook me by moving quickly (especially in the dark) or hanging from walls or ceilings, I appreciated the free pest control. I learned to mostly ignore them (or gently shoo them away).

But then I noticed that they all would fairly quickly die. (Several times ones that were hanging from a ceiling would die – and remain on the ceiling for a few days afterward AFAICT.)

Trapping/capturing them tho was tricky. They're fast – and big! I accidentally killed several trying to capture them, e.g. in a big plastic container. What I finally settled on was using a large plastic bag (e.g. a gallon sized food bag) and often some kind of 'paper ladder', i.e. some paper towel or a strip of toilet paper squares, so that the spider could climb up into the bag (with the encouragement of some gentling shooing on my part). This really only was possible when they'd get stuck in something like a sink or bathtub from which they couldn't climb out. Once inside the bag, I'd mostly close it, then take it outside and release the spider.

Sadly, I released several spiders outside only for them to be immediately eaten by other creatures!

For the largest spiders found in Australia, I'm not sure my capture method would work. I'd probably try to gently shoo them outside if feasible. Or, if I couldn't shoo them outside, I'd find something with a long handle with which I could either move them or crush them (and then clean it easily afterwards).

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Replace the spiders with less horrible spiders.

This is not a perfect solution.

When I lived in a house in central Victoria, I brought a box of "daddy long legs" spiders inside.

These spiders out compete the others very well, especially the red back spiders, and can also survive on a pure diet of small ants.

I also put seals on the doors and frames, which had the additional benefit of stopping the marble scorpions coming in. (Only two had gotten in over several years).

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