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Spiders While Camping: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

| Updated Apr 22, 2023

A member of our RV Lifestyle Facebook group shares her fears and struggles with spiders while camping. The group responds with their spider horror stories and tips…

Recently, a member of our RV Lifestyle group cried out for help. She is encountering more spiders than she can handle while RVing and asked the community for tips.

She wrote (with minor edits): 

“YALLLLL… SPIDERS!!!… They are always creepin' on walls and the ceiling… I'm over it. Any tips !!??!?!”

The community responded with over 250 comments offering tips or sharing their own spider horror stories. We’ve compiled some of those tips, as well as the good, the bad, and they ugly spiders you might encounter.

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Spiders: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

There’s no arguing that spiders play an important role in our ecosystem. However, that doesn’t change the fact that some people are flat-out scared of them. And many more simply don’t want to share their RV with spiders. 

NOTE: click on the spider names below to learn more, including where they live and how to identify them.

The Good

While many people prefer to keep spiders out of their RVs, some species of spiders can actually be beneficial to have around. Many members in the RV Lifestyle group pointed this out.

Johnnie made a good point saying, “If there is no prey (insects) in your rig, then spiders either leave or starve.” So, some RVers welcome “good” spiders to take care of unwanted insects, especially mosquitos.

Here are a few examples of “good” spiders that are considered safe for humans and excel at catching other insects:

The Bad

Of course, we use the term “bad” loosely in this section. Spiders in themselves are not bad. However, there are some spiders that are bad for human health!

The Ugly

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and what one person finds ugly, another may find fascinating. That being said, here are a few spiders commonly considered to be some of the ugliest in the United States:

  • Wolf Spiders – will bite in defense. Not dangerous to humans.
  • Hobo Spiders – will bite in defense. Debate over danger due to common misidentification.
  • Tarantulas – will bite in defense. Bite is painful but not dangerous.

Be Aware of Tarantula Migration Season 😲

Many people commented about tarantula migration, joking that Lauren needs to hunker down during that mating season. 

If you’re like Lauren and not a fan of spiders, you’ll want to avoid southeastern Colorado in September. Though it’s not a true migration, thousands of male tarantulas leave their burrows and go on a “walkabout” in search of a mate. 

Tarantulas are generally not aggressive and rarely bite humans, but seeing them “roll” across the plains can be disturbing. They may bite if handled, and though their bite isn’t dangerous to humans, it is very painful.

Though Colorado is considered the hotspot for viewing tarantula “migration”, it isn’t the only place tarantulas go on “walkabouts.” You might frequently encounter tarantulas during breeding season wherever they live, including parts of California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and (Yes, Lauren) Texas.

Tips for Keeping Spiders Out of Your RV

Many members of the RV Lifestyle group responded to Lauren’s post with helpful tips to keep (or get rid of) spiders in your RV. Here’s a list of their suggestions, as well as some of our own.

NOTE: We do NOT recommend applying these products to the ground or around your campsite, as that affects the natural ecosystem you’re visiting. It goes against the Leave No Trace pledge every camper should take.

1. Spray Ortho Home Defense

A LOT of RVers recommended Ortho Home Defense for indoor and perimeter use. It effectively kills spiders, ants, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, scorpions, and other listed bugs. The formula is odor free and won’t stain.

RVers often spray along the seals of their RV or any potential bug access to prevent them from entering their RV. It will also kill bugs inside your RV.

This product comes with a wand that makes it easy to apply.

2. Deter Spiders with Peppermint Oil

Many RVers suggested using peppermint oil to deter spiders and other bugs. This is an eco-friendly alternative to using pesticides that creates a barrier without hurting the spiders.

Thelma shared a commonly used recipe: “…water in spray bottle, 10 drops of (peppermint) essential oil, 5 drops Dawn. Shake. Spray doorways and windows and any spiders you see.” 

3. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth in Storage Areas & Cabinets

Another popular tip is to sprinkle Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth in your RV storage compartments and cabinets. This natural product kills spiders but is safe for humans and pets (*make sure it’s food-grade).

Spider Horror Stories

Spiders While Camping: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly 1

Some of the responses to the Facebook post included stories and pictures of spiders people have encountered while camping. Including this big beauty above! If you love spider stories – definitely go over and read the Facebook post…

You can join our RV Lifestyle Facebook group to see more and learn more about all-things-RV! 

The Ultimate ‘Bug Off!” Shopping List for Your RV

Not long ago, we created the Ultimate Bug Off! Shopping list to equip RVers with everything they need to combat bugs while camping.

There’s something for everyone on this list or even everything for one very determined bug-despiser (like me!). Read more… or see all of the items listed in our Outside the RV – Camping Essentials list on Amazon.

Easiest Way to a Clean & Bug-Free RV!

Like what you see in these videos? We'd appreciate it if you would Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (easy to do right here) and consider “ringing the bell icon” to be notified of any new video from us. 🙂 Thanks!

We found a terrific product that gets bugs off our RV! Join us as we share our favorite way to clean off 5 states' worth of bugs from our LTV Wonder. Click this link to check out these Bugs Off! Pads.

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Spiders While Camping: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly 2

This bundle is our popular Upper Peninsula RV Adventure Guide PLUS our newest Adventure Guide – The Great Lakes Shoreline Tour! Both ebooks will give you plenty of ideas and resources to enjoy this part of the US.

Explore this Bundle and plan your next trip!

Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-04-22

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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