How To Keep Spiders Out Of Your Tent?

Unlike most bugs and critters that might come crawling into your tent, spiders are not attracted by food. They are attracted by other insects. 

So the best way to keep spiders out of your tent is to keep insects and bugs from getting into the tent. 

What Attracts Spiders Into The Tent?

What Attracts Spiders Into The Tent

To figure out how to keep spiders out of your tent, it is important to understand why they are coming there in the first place. 

Most people automatically assume that all critters are attracted to human food. That’s not the case with spiders. They cannot digest human food. 

A spider’s diet consists mostly of insects. Even the ones that get into your house are coming to look for insects, not food crumbs. 

The main reason spiders get into your tent is because there are insects there. 

So what you need to figure out is what’s attracting the insects. Here’s where common culprits like exposed food, food waste, and spills come into the picture. 

By the way, spiders are not attracted to people. If anything, they tend to stay as far away as they can from humans. 

A spider won’t come into the tent looking for you. 

8 Tips To Keep Spiders Out Of Your Tent

So we’ve determined that the problem is that there’s something attracting insects and bugs into the tent. 

In turn, these insects attract spiders that come looking for food. So here are a few ways to keep insects and spiders away from your tent. 

1. Cover up food or keep it outside the tent

Any exposed foods or drinks are going to attract ants and other insects, and spiders will follow. 

When camping, it’s best to keep food outside the tent to avoid attracting various animals that can smell the food from far off.

Keep it in the car, outside in a bear canister, or in a food locker if there’s one. 

If you have to keep food inside the tent, put it in a cooler or an airtight container that can keep out insects. 

2. Keep the tent clean 

Don’t leave food crumbs and waste in or near the tent. It’ll attract insects. 

Be especially careful about spilling sugar drinks as these quickly attract ants and other insects. 

As soon as you finish cooking and eating, clean the area inside and around your tent. Sweep away food crumbs (you can use a bunch of small branches as a broom) and gather all the food waste and scraps into a closed container. 

Keep the food waste outside away from the tent or in the car. If the campsite has a bin, dump the waste there. 

To clean liquid spills, dip a towel or cloth in clean water and wipe away the spill.  

3. Avoid scented products  

While spiders generally avoid strong smells, various scents can attract bugs and insects into your tent. 

Scented soaps, perfumes and skin or hair products attract insects into the tent. Spiders won’t be far behind. 

Avoid having any of these things inside the tent. Either carry scent-free products or put any scented products inside smell-proof packaging or containers. 

On the other hand, there are some smells that can repel insects and spiders. Essential oils like lavender, peppermint and citronella keep away insects, so spiders won’t come looking for food. 

Add a few drops of essential oil on cotton wool and place it in the tent. You can also carry a portable essential oil diffuser when going camping. 

Other insect and spider repelling smells include garlic, vinegar, and pepper. You can make a vinegar repellent by mixing vinegar and water and spraying it around the tent.   

4. Watch where you set up the tent 

Avoid camping spots close to where spiders are likely to be found. Spiders love hidden areas that are dark. Some species also love moist areas. 

So avoid camping too close to a thick bush, near rock piles, close to logs, directly under trees, or close to an area with water like a swamp, lake or river. 

When you set up camp, start by clearing any debris nearby that could be hiding spiders. Also clear away dead leaves as they could host insects and spiders. 

5. Seal up the tent 

Make sure there are no large openings on your tent that spiders can pass through. Before you go camping, check your tent for any rips or holes and repair them. 

At night, close any doors and flaps and make sure all zippers are fully closed. 

It’s also a good idea to carry a footprint or groundsheet for your tent. It’s the best defense against spiders and insects getting into the tent. 

Place it on the ground then pitch your tent on it. 

An overhead tarp can also provide additional protection if you camp under a tree. It’ll stop any falling spiders from landing on your tent. 

6. Light a fire

If it is safe to do so and the rules of the park allow it, light a wood fire. The heat and smoke will repel insects and spiders. 

By the time you put out the fire and go to sleep, the area around the tent will be bug and spider free. 

7. Use insecticide or repellent 

Chemical sprays are highly effective at keeping spiders and insects out of an area. 

Insecticide sprays are designed to kill bugs. You can spray it on your tent and gear. If bugs come into contact with the insecticide, they die. 

In most cases, however, non-lethal repellent is enough to keep spiders away. Repellent chemical sprays work by keeping insects and spiders from coming close to the tent. 

Some repellents are safe for application on the skin. You can spray it on yourself if you are really afraid of a spider crawling on your skin. 

If you don’t want to use chemicals, there are ultrasonic sound bug repellents that seem to work. 

You can also make your own DIY spider repellent using essential oils. Here’s a video explaining how. 

8. Check your clothes and gear 

You can unknowingly bring spiders into the tent yourself on your clothes or gear. If you’ve been out hiking or exploring, some small spiders or insects may have gotten into your clothes. 

Before you get into the tent, shake out anything that might harbor bugs. 

Can spiders Bite and are they dangerous?

Spiders usually don’t bite unless they feel threatened. So even if a couple spiders find their way into the tent, they’ll likely leave you alone. 

Remember they are after insects, not human blood. 

If they do bite, it’s usually harmless. You may develop some redness or swelling, but you usually won’t notice anything. 

Spiders are venomous, but their venom is only strong enough to paralyze insects. 

That said, there are a couple of spiders in the US venomous enough to be a danger to humans. These are the black widow and brown recluse spiders. 

They are not aggressive, so they won’t deliberately seek you out. Like other spiders, they’d rather stay away from humans. They only bite if threatened or if you accidentally come into contact with one. 

All the above tips will protect you from these venomous spiders. 

In addition to keeping food and waste away from the tent, avoid camping close to a potential spider habitat. Tall grasses, bushes, piles of rocks, and old timber logs are all places spiders are likely to be residing. 

Are Spiders Attracted To Warmth?

Are Spiders Attracted To Warmth

Your tent is warm and cozy, but that’s not what will bring the spiders around. 

Spiders are cold blooded so they are able to tolerate low temperatures. They do not seek out heat. 

So don’t worry that spiders will crawl inside the sleeping bag to cuddle with you. If anything, heat repels spiders. That’s why a campfire is a great way to keep them away from the tent. 

Are Spiders Attracted To Light?

Spiders are not attracted to light. But light attracts many other bugs and insects. This is essentially a buffet for spiders. 

So even though spiders don’t necessarily like bright places, they’ll come out looking for insects to eat. 

We recommend you turn off any lights inside and outside the tent before you go to sleep to keep insects, and thus spiders, away. 

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