How to Get Rid of Parson Spider: Easy & Effective Tips

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Parson spiders are common household pests that many people find unsettling and wish to eliminate from their homes. These spiders are named after the distinctive white dorsal pattern on their abdomen, which resembles a clerical collar. Although they are not considered dangerous to humans, their presence can still be an unwanted distraction and cause discomfort for those who fear spiders.

There are several methods available to help you get rid of parson spiders in your home. Some of these approaches involve natural repellents, while others require more proactive measures, such as trapping and eliminating possible entry points. In this article, we will explore various strategies to help you effectively deal with parson spiders and create a more comfortable living environment.

  • Natural repellents: Some substances, such as mint oil, have been found to deter spiders from settling in certain areas. However, it’s important to note that not all natural remedies are effective, as lemon oil, a commonly cited repellent, has been found to be a myth.

Remember that finding the best approach to eliminating parson spiders from your home will depend on your specific situation and preferences. By exploring different methods, you can successfully rid your living space of these unwelcome guests and restore a sense of comfort and peace.

Understanding Parson Spiders

Appearance and Identification

Parson spiders are medium-sized spiders belonging to the Gnaphosidae family. They typically measure about 1/2 inch long. The main body color of a Parson spider ranges from brown to black, featuring a grayish abdomen and a distinct white marking that resembles a clerical collar. It also has chestnut brown exoskeleton and flat-lying black hairs on the cephalothorax.

Key features:

  • Medium-sized spider (1/2 inch long)
  • Brown to black body color
  • Grayish abdomen with a white marking

Behavior and Habitat

Parson spiders are known for their agility and speed, moving quickly while hunting at night. They actively chase their prey and prefer to hide during the day under objects such as stones or loose bark. These spiders can be found outdoors, and it is not uncommon for them to be found around homes or gardens.

Key characteristics:

  • Active nocturnal hunter
  • Fast and agile
  • Found outdoors, often around homes and gardens

Comparison Table

Property Parson Spider Other Spiders
Body Size 1/2 inch long Varies
Body Color Brown to black Varies
Abdomen Color Grayish Varies
Markings White marking Varies
Hunting Behavior Nighttime active Varies
Habitat Outdoors, homes Varies

Parson spiders differ from other types of spiders in terms of their appearance and behavior. With their distinct grayish abdomen and white marking, they can be easily identified among various insect species. Understanding these aspects of Parson spiders can help us better manage them and prevent infestations.

How to Get Rid of Parson Spiders

Clean House and Declutter

To deter parson spiders, maintain a clean house. Focus on:

  • Regularly vacuuming floors
  • Dusting furniture
  • Washing curtains and bedding

Declutter spaces like attics and basements. Store items in sealed containers to eliminate hiding spots.

Seal Gaps and Cracks

Inspect your home for gaps and cracks. Seal them with caulk or weather stripping to prevent spiders from entering.

Apply Natural Repellents

Utilize natural repellents to ward off spiders. Options include:

  • Vinegar spray (mix equal parts water and white vinegar)
  • Essential oils (e.g. peppermint, eucalyptus, or citrus oil)

Spray these solutions in well-lit areas, as spiders prefer dark spaces.

Use Glue Traps and Vacuum

Install glue traps to catch parson spiders. Place them near baseboards and in corners where spiders may crawl. Vacuum regularly to remove egg sacs and webs to keep infestations under control.

Comparison Table

Method Pros Cons
Cleaning Reduces hiding spots Requires regular upkeep
Sealing gaps Prevents entry of spiders May miss small gaps
Natural sprays Non-toxic; safe for home use May need reapplication
Traps & vacuum Effective at capturing spiders Requires regular maintenance/checks

Remember to keep it simple. Focus on cleanliness and regular maintenance to help get rid of parson spider infestations in your home.

Differentiating Parson Spiders from Other Spiders

Black Widow

  • Appearance: Black widow spiders are shiny black with a red hourglass-shaped mark on their abdomen.
  • Venom: Black widows are venomous spiders that can cause painful bites.

Brown Recluse

  • Appearance: Brown recluse spiders are light to dark brown with a violin-shaped marking on their cephalothorax.
  • Venom: These spiders have a potentially dangerous bite, causing severe pain and tissue necrosis.

Wolf Spiders

  • Appearance: Wolf spiders are usually brown or gray, with a hairy body and stout legs. They can be easily mistaken for parson spiders.
  • Venom: While not considered dangerous to humans, their bites can be painful.

The Parson spider is a hairy spider with a chestnut brown exoskeleton, easily identified by the white dorsal pattern on the abdomen resembling a clerical collar. They are often confused with the more dangerous black widows, brown recluses, and wolf spiders. However, their bite is relatively harmless.

Comparison Table

Spider Type Venomous Appearance
Parson Spiders No Chestnut brown, white dorsal pattern on abdomen
Black Widows Yes Shiny black, red hourglass mark on abdomen
Brown Recluses Yes Light to dark brown, violin-shaped marking
Wolf Spiders No Brown or gray, hairy body and stout legs

Parson Spider Bites and Precautions

Bite Symptoms and Treatment

Parson spider bites are usually not harmful, but they might cause some discomfort in sensitive individuals. If bitten, symptoms may include:

  • Mild pain
  • Itching
  • Redness and swelling

In most cases, these symptoms will subside on their own. However, if you experience severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, or an allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention.

Treatment for a parson spider bite typically involves:

  1. Cleaning the bite area with soap and water
  2. Applying a cold compress to reduce swelling
  3. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers or antihistamines (if necessary)

Preventing and Managing Spider Bites

To prevent spider bites and manage a potential parson spider infestation, follow these tips:

  • Keep your home clean: Regularly dust and vacuum to reduce the number of pests that spiders prey on.
  • Seal entry points: Close gaps and cracks around doors and windows to prevent spiders from entering your home.
  • Move beds away from walls: This makes it more difficult for spiders to crawl onto your bed while you’re sleeping.
  • Use sticky traps: Place these traps in areas where spiders are commonly found, like corners and behind furniture.

By taking these precautions, you can minimize the risk of spider bites and keep your home free of parsons spiders.

When to Seek Professional Pest Control

Signs of Severe Infestation

  • Large number of spider webs: If you notice an unusually high number of webs around your home, it might indicate a severe infestation.
  • Frequent sightings: Regularly encountering parson spiders indoors is a sign that their population has grown significantly.

Choosing a Pest Control Service

  • Experience: Ensure the pest control company has experience dealing with parson spiders specifically, as methods may differ for different species.
  • Customer reviews: Take time to read customer reviews and ask for references to ensure the service is reputable.
  • Pricing: Compare the costs of multiple pest control services to make sure you’re paying a fair price for the extermination.
Service Factors DIY Pest Control Professional Pest Control Service
Experience level Limited High
Method effectiveness Variable Consistent
Cost Lower Higher

Keep in mind that professional pest control is the best option when dealing with a severe parson spider infestation. Professionals have the knowledge, experience, and tools to effectively eliminate the spiders and their food sources.

Alternative Ways to Repel Spiders

Using Lights and Chestnuts

One simple method of repelling spiders is using yellow or sodium vapor light bulbs in your outdoor areas. These lights attract fewer flying insects, which means fewer spiders will be attracted to the area. You can also try placing chestnuts around your home as a natural deterrent. Some spider species are repelled by the volatile compounds released by chestnuts.

Applying Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a natural, nontoxic substance that can help with spider control. It’s made from fossilized diatoms and is safe to use around your home.


  • Environmentally friendly
  • Safe for humans and pets


  • Needs to be reapplied after rain or heavy wind
  • May not be as effective against all spider species

To use DE effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure the area is clean and dry.
  2. Lightly dust DE in areas where you’ve seen spiders.
  3. Reapply as needed, particularly after rain or strong winds.

When dealing with spiders, it’s essential to maintain good sanitation practices. Keep your living spaces clean and clutter-free to reduce favorable conditions for spiders. Combine these methods with appropriate prevention measures to create a spider-free environment.

How to Prevent Future Spider Invasions

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

To prevent spider invasions, keep your home clean and tidy. Eliminate clutter by:

  • Vacuuming floors and baseboards
  • Dusting furniture, shelves, and corners
  • Wiping countertops

Emptying trash cans regularly can help too. During parson spider breeding season, increase your cleaning frequency. Use a spider catcher to remove spiders without harm.

Identifying and Removing Spider Hideouts

Herpyllus ecclesiasticus, or the parson spider, likes to hide in dark, undisturbed areas. Inspect garages, basements, and storage spaces. Remove common hiding places like:

  • Old boxes
  • Unused items
  • Rock piles

Seal cracks and crevices in walls and around windows. Using a spider repellent can help deter spiders from returning.

Spider Traps vs. Spider Repellents

Spider Traps Spider Repellents
Pros * Chemical-free * Can prevent future invasions
* Can catch multiple spiders * Offer a variety of choices (sprays, etc.)
Cons * May be unsightly * May contain chemicals
* Must be replaced regularly * May not be 100% effective

By maintaining a clean home and removing potential hiding places, you can prevent future parson spider invasions effectively.

Concluding Tips and Guide

One effective method to prevent parson spider infestations is to maintain a clean house. Cleaning regularly can reduce hiding spots and breeding areas for spiders. For example:

  • Vacuum floors, carpets, and furniture.
  • Dust shelves, windowsills, and other surfaces.
  • Remove clutter and store items off the floor.

To further prevent parson spider entry, seal cracks and gaps around windows, doors, and walls.

In addition, you can use natural repellents such as mint oil to deter spider settlement. However, it’s important to note that lemon oil, often cited as a spider repellent, has been debunked as a myth.

When comparing natural spider repellents, here’s a simple table to help you make a decision:

Repellent Pros Cons
Mint oil Effective for various spider families Requires regular reapplication
Lemon oil Not effective as a repellent

No method is foolproof, but combining these tips should help reduce or even eliminate parson spider presence in your home.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Parson Spider


Incorrectly Identified spider on your website.
Hi there, just wanted to say I love your site. I recently photographed a spider outside my house and came to your site to identify it. On your spider page I see someone has already posted it. You identified it as “Herpyllus vasifer”. I then searched the web on this to find more info. What I found out was, this spider is actually called “Herpyllus
ecclesiasticus” or the “Parson Spider”. This is probably why you couldn’t find much information on this particular spider. Here is a website with more info on it:
I have also attached 2 photos that I took of this beautiful spider. Thanks!

Hi Dan,
We were using a long outdated spider book when we originally identified the spider you cite. Names do change. We noticed that BugGuide is also using the more current name. Thanks for the update.


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts
Tags: Parson Spider

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