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How To Get Rid Of Dock Spiders

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Among many other bugs that can come aboard your boat, spiders seem to be the least tolerable. They can be a nightmare not only for their creepy looks, but they can also cause serious damage to your boat if left unattended. Despite their importance in the ecosystem, spider infestation definitely needs immediate attention. To protect your boat and the people boarding it, here are some effective ways on how to get rid of dock spiders.

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What Are Dock Spiders?

Dock spiders are also called wharf spiders or fishing spiders, they are also known as Canada’s largest native spiders. These arachnids are feared for their large size with the female dock spiders growing up to the size of an adult human hand. Due to their widely-spaced legs and water-repelling hairs, there are some of the few animals in the world capable of walking on water. 

Dock spiders have 2 rows of eyes, brownish-grey coloring, and have black and brown markings found on their abdomen. Their 8 legs are stripped and have water rappelling hairs on them. 

Where do you find dock spiders?

There are 5 varieties of dock spiders that live near rivers, streams, ponds, marshes, and reservoirs. The most favored habitat for these spiders are shorelines with dense plants, man-made structures such as boathouses, they are also found within the forest, under rocks, and tall plants.

Do Dock Spiders Bite Humans?

The main food sources for these spiders are minnows, frogs, tadpoles, and water insects. Dock spiders have a pair of fangs that deliver venom to their prey causing paralysis. They are capable of delivering bee sting-level bites to humans. While this is uncommon and only happens when they are startled or threatened, it is dangerous for some people as it can cause an allergic reaction.

How Do Dock Spiders Damage Boats

Besides leaving webs everywhere, dock spiders tend to poop a lot and that’s where they cause the nost damage to boats. Their grayish, brown, or black droppings are typically found on the corners and seats of your boats, and won’t do much harm if you remove them immediately.

Trouble comes when these spider poops are left for long periods and eventually develop into a hard crust that is definitely hard to get rid of. Even if you managed to remove them, they can still leave stains that can ruin the appearance of your boats. Having spiders on your boats can also cause harm to the people on board since they have the possibility to bite them if they are left unnoticed. 

Related Reading: The Best Pontoon Boat Covers in 2021

Ways To Get Rid Of Dock Spiders

Although we cannot totally erase them from our boating life, there are still several ways from which you can prevent spiders from wreaking havoc on your boats. Here are some tips and tricks you can do to keep these creepy crawlies off your boats.

Use Spider sprays

One of the best and easiest ways to get rid of dock spiders on your boats is by using spider sprays. But don’t make the mistake of using sprays that are filled with chemicals that are harmful to the environment, for humans and can damage the interiors of your boats.

Instead, use sprays that are made from natural ingredients such as peppermint oil, geraniol, or rosemary oil that are all effective in repelling spiders. 

Constant Cleaning 

To help reduce the number of dock spiders on your boat before they get to reproduce is by cleaning your boats regularly. You can do so by using portable vacuums and let that thing suck up any cobwebs and spiders on your boats. 

Cover Your Boats With Screen 

It’s better if you can install a screen wherever you can, sealing every gap and opening that spiders can use to enter your boats. By blocking their entryways you are significantly reducing the number of spiders that can infest your boat.

Use Dock Cover or Spider Netting

Using the same idea as with the screen, by using spider netting we are creating a physical barrier to prevent spiders and their dropping from entering your boats. The great thing about these spider netting is that they can be custom made to fit your boat, providing excellent coverage and leaving no gaps and openings for the spiders to get in.

Let The Professionals Handle It

If the problem gets too big for you to handle, you can hire professional pest control experts and let them handle the problem for you. These professionals are equipped and knowledgeable about these kinds of things so getting their help can be your best solution.


The best and easiest way to keep these annoying spiders off your boat is to prevent them from breeding in the first place. Do these simple steps to prevent these creepy crawlies.

  • Don’t leave any food waste on your boats that can attract insects like flies, which can eventually attract spiders since they are one of their main food sources. 
  • Remove possible locations for shelter for these spiders like rocks and piles of wood.
  • Trim shoreline plants to eliminate nesting sites. 
  • Remove or minimize any standing water on your property as much as possible.


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