a tool for relocating spiders

I don't usually do advertisements in this blog, but I make an exception for a brilliant little invention called the bugcatcher. It was bought in a toyshop about 30 years ago and on many occasions since has enabled me to deal with spiders with confidence and fearlessness.

A bugcatcher is a simple trap that doesn't hurt the spider (but you do have to be careful of its fragile legs). Painless, relatively untraumatic for both the spider and the involved human(s), it facilitates the removal of an uninvited and unwanted spider guest from the house to the garden efficiently and without the worry of direct skin contact

Last night a dark hairy large-ish spider was noticed on a wall in our house. The Victorian Spiders Database identified it as a Brown House Spider, Steatoda grossa.

I wanted to leave it on the wall to do its own thing, but was out-voted by three anxious family members. I later learned that a bite from this spider gives you a headache, nausea and causes blistering. So I suppose their desire to relocate it did have a certain logic.

Here you see the spider starting to move into the bugcatcher.

Once it's in - you put the lid on and there's relief and pride in a job (nearly) well done.

The final step is to go outside, take off the lid and go to bed (if it's bedtime which it was). In the morning the bugcatcher is empty, and hopefully that spider has found a home somewhere else.

This post is dedicated to my cyberfriend Wendy, whose determination to garden enables her to overcome her fear of spiders and insects.


  1. Good idea, I'm not keen on things with too many legs.
    Happy Christmas.

  2. Hi Catmint.
    A spider outside is a spider which is NOT inside.
    I am OK with them, but my daughter "freaks" especially at the big guys (Huntsmen here) or the occasional fast ones (usually White Tails).

  3. Hi Hermes, I'm not too keen on direct contact but indirect is great.

    Hi Denis, I think this must have been a huntsman now you mention it. I just discovered a cool video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCO56iyBXtU - about them. For freaking daughters I recommend the bugcatcher - it gives you a sense of (limited) control.

    Happy Christmas (nearly over) from catmint

  4. This is a good bug trap. Here's wishing you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2011!

  5. How does it work? Is it like using a jar and a piece of paper?

  6. I have a spider phobia so I am not sure this trap would work unless it would come with a room length arm attachment. Or my hubby, he could use it and I could hide around the corner.

  7. Great idea. I have not seen any large spiders over here, except for tiny ones making pandan leaves their home.
    Cheers ~bangchik

  8. ha ha!! Thanks for dedicating this to me. Helps to steady my nerves for the coming year. :)

    I like how the bug catcher looks stable and has a large cup. What I don't like about it is the bottom that you have to physically put under the catcher. That is the point where I would be sweating with heart palpitations, and when the spider would inevitably move, that is the point when I would chuck the whole operation and scream.

  9. I remember my children having bugcatchers many years ago. I must admit that I'm not too keen on spiders either in the house or outside it, although most of them I will leave alone.

  10. I used to have that bug catcher when I was a kid...had forgotten all about it until I saw yours! It would have come in handy on my recent post about the huge spider I found in my house! Happy New Year!

  11. Good to see the tool has come to be so handy to you! I know the spider will prefer it to the bottom of a shoe.

    Hope you have very happy holidays!

  12. Ooo I don't know if I'd be able to come that close to one, even with the plastic in between!

  13. Dear Autumn Belle, thanks for the comment, and happy new year to you.

    Dear Redhead, the principle is like glass and paper, but it is cleverly designed and mostly entices the spider in.

    Hi LH, I guess if you've got a real phobia it won't work for you. You're lucky to have a husband who is a willing spider catcher.

    Hi Bangchik, your comment set me thinking: I haven't seen many big spiders either lately. There used to be so many ... sadly they must have gone the way of other wildlife in the suburbs.

    Hi Wendy, I hope the thought of the BC will help your nerves in the direction of steel.

    Hi Alice, I am thinking about the difference in our feelings towards the spiders. I don't find them cuddly either but not as scary as Wendy or Life's Highway.

    Hi WG, bugcatchers are marketed as toys but I think I have demonstrated they're worth using as adults too.

    Hi fer, yes - definitely preferable to shoe (lol)

    Hi Ali, I hope your spider-nerves cope well in 2011! Thanks for the comment.

    happy new year cheers, catmint

  14. Found this page on Google while looking for advice on relocating an orb-web spider... not so useful with the bug-catcher I suppose!

    Anyway, I'd say your spider is a huntsman, or maybe a wolf spider - never been quite sure of the difference but I think the flat, forward-curving legs are a huntsman trait. Brown house spiders are small and quite different - I get a lot coming into my house, and it took me a while to identify them; I was worried it was some variation on a redback.

  15. i just recently caught a steatoda grossa in my backyard, and i can almost certainly say that the spider you caught was a huntsman. s. grossa look more like black widows, except that they have a marbled brown coloration. the upside is, they eat true black widows. very glad i didn't take my mother's suggestion of stomping on sight.

  16. For the smaller ones, this spider catcher vacuum works well, look http://youtu.be/bplt2U81EzE

  17. thanks so much Jonathon - that is a really brilliant design. I prefer mine because it doesn't give the spider such a fright, but mine is useless for smaller spiders, so I need both.


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