Where Do Spiders Go in the Winter?

Have you ever wondered what happens to spiders in the winter? Many people hope that they just die. But do they? Or do they hide and wait to catch us by surprise?

Spiders are cold-blooded, meaning that their body temperatures fluctuate with their environment. So, what do spiders do in the winter to avoid dying in the freezing temperatures? Over the years, they have become quite resourceful and have found ways to survive.

Some spider species handle the cold months by hibernating while other species remain active even in the dead of winter.

Do all spiders die in the winter?

Some spiders, like the North American black and yellow garden spider, only live one season and will die once the winter arrives. But by then they will have already taken care of things for the next generation.

However, there are also species of spiders that live two years and more.

How do spiders prepare for the winter?

Adult spiders are able to sense when cold temperatures are coming, so they begin to prepare by mating and laying eggs in the late summer and early fall.

Eggs are prone to freezing, and the cold temperatures could destroy them. So, before the females lay their eggs, they carefully choose a safe, dark place for the egg sac to protect it from the harsh winter temperatures.

The best places for spiders to lay their eggs are in dark, secluded locations, which will help keep the eggs warm. The spaces under tree bark, rock piles, leaves, or even in your nice, warm home are the perfect places for spiders to protect their babies.

The eggs of some species will not hatch until spring, while the eggs of others will hatch in the winter, and the baby spiderlings will live together in the egg sac.

Once it is warm enough for the spiders to survive, they will use their fangs to cut a hole in the sac. They will emerge through this hole and set off to find new homes.

Do spiders hibernate in the winter?

Some spiders, like the fishing spider and the tarantula, live longer than a year and will hibernate during the cold months.

Both adult spiders and young spiders will hunker down under tree bark, rocks, between the ground and the snow, or even burrow into the soil (e.g., wolf spiders). Some prepare for the winter by spinning a web in their hiding place.

Spider antifreeze

No spider can live without a little help, though. Once the weather starts to change, so does the spider.

Their bodies slow down, and they begin to produce an antifreeze-type chemical, polyhydroxy alcohol, that works with the existing fluids in their bloodstream to help prevent ice crystals from forming inside their bodies. The combination of their insulated shelter and this natural antifreeze helps the spiders survive the winter.

Once the weather starts to warm up, their bodies stop producing this antifreeze, and they come out of hibernation and become active once again. 

Winter spider activity

Remarkably, there are some spiders that remain active during the winter.

Most of these spiders remain hidden under leaves and other items on the ground to take advantage of the warmth from the decaying debris and the geothermal heat. They are not as active in the cold and are not usually seen but will come out on warm winter days and can sometimes be seen taking a stroll across the snow. They are able to stay alive during the winter months because their metabolism and digestion are slower in the cold, so they need less food.

Some spiders also have learned to live with humans. The common house spider is a great example. It lives its whole life in a house, barn, garage, or some other kind of protected structure.

These spiders have become accustomed to indoor conditions to survive the winter and to continue to mate and reproduce. Typically, only about five percent of the spiders you encounter inside have ever even been outside.

How to get rid of a spider in winter?

If you find a spider in your home in the winter and you want to save it by putting it outside, you are actually giving it a death sentence.

It takes a while for the antifreeze chemical to build up in a spider’s body, so if you put it outside, the little creature will probably end up freezing to death.

The best thing for the spider is for you to leave it alone and just to let it live peacefully alongside you.

But if you cannot deal with a spider living in your home, find a safe place for it to live in a garage or a barn.

Spiders have gotten a terrible reputation over the years, but most spiders are harmless and are not aggressive unless provoked. They actually prefer to avoid humans and would like for us to avoid them as we are much more dangerous to them than they are to us.

Spiders are very good for the environment and kill other pests, including the disease-carrying mosquito and the pesky housefly. There are a few venomous species such as the black widow and the brown recluse, but their bites are very uncommon. If you do have these living in your home, take the proper measures to have them removed.


So, where do spiders go in the winter? Well, that actually depends on the species.

Some adults and young will survive by winterizing themselves while others will die and let the next generation take their place.

Does having an extremely cold winter mean that there will be fewer spiders? Probably not.

In some cases, there may be a few less, but all that depends on how well the spiders have prepared themselves and their egg sacs to withstand the harsh winter conditions.

Getting ready for winter is a natural instinct for spiders, and they have learned many ways to protect themselves and their young. Some spiders will not make it through the winter, but you can bet there will be plenty more to take their place.


Bonnie lewton

I have What I believe is an orb weaver between my kitchen window & the screen. We are friends! Will she die this fall? How can I help her through the winter?


    You can try making it warmer, but that’s about all you can do. Some spiders deal with the cold better, some do a bit worse. Some can even survive some rather extreme temperatures, due to having compounds in their hemolymph that are a bit similar to antifreeze. Still, Orb Weaver Spiders are a rather large spider family, so I’m not sure about the specific type you’re talking about.
    You also have to keep in mind that this specific individual might already be getting close to the end of its natural life. I’m also not sure how cold it is wherever you come from, but perhaps you should think about letting the spider go? Since males are less likely to be spotted, I would assume that you’re seeing a female? If it’s not too cold, the spider might still have time to lay some eggs.
    Also, since you seem somewhat emotionally attached to the little one, I want you to know that spiders don’t freeze the same way people do. They sort of just become slower as it gets colder until they’ll enter a hibernation-like state.

Maureen Linda Jacobson

Neoscona crucifera-does she die or hibernate in the winter?


    Adult spiders usually die with the first freeze while the eggs of these spiders overwinter to hatch in the spring.


A beautiful argiope aurantia laid an egg sac on my azalea bushes about a month ago. However, she didnt secure it very well and with a recent storm it fell down. I picked it up and brought it inside but unsure if this is the best thing to do. Should I put it back out (will the babies hatch before winter or in the spring, do they need the cold of the winter to develop properly, etc)?


    Eggs might hatch sometime around late summer or fall, however, if you live in a place with a rather cold climate, the baby spiders will stay in the sack until the following spring when it gets warmer. You don’t need to worry about them too much, nature is smart and species have their own ways to survive the conditions of places they live in.


    Over the last few years spiders have taken over my perennials. There all over my plants. It is spring now and I started pulling out my dead annuals, finding some spiders coming out of the dirt. What can I use to get rid of them before my perennials come up? I live in northern michigan


    First of all, you need to be aware that spiders are actually beneficial. They are great at eliminating other types of insects. However, if you find yourself in a position where you need to get rid of them, here are things that might help you.

    Remove all debris, wood, compost, etc, from your garden, to make the general area less attractive to spiders. Once you’ve dealt with removing hiding places, the next step would be eliminating food sources (e.g. garden insects). You can also try adding some plants that are natural spider repellents.

    If the situation has really gotten out of hand, you can think about the use of chemical pesticides. You can try treating the area with Tempo Ultra SC. Just make sure to read the label and be careful, since the product is harmful to bees and aquatic organisms. Alternatively, you can also ask for professional help.

    Either way, keep in mind that with these spiders leaving, your garden might experience an influx of insects.


I have had a White Widow hanging out for about two months. I didn’t know there was even such a spider but I looked her up and found a picture just like her with identical markings to those she had on the top and bottom of her bulbous body. She was only out at night clinging to her web between a fence and the wall that she re-spun frequently. We had struck a bargain. I would let her be if she promised not to harm me or my pets. I’ve always killed Black Widows but there was something special about her and I let her be. Apparently they are quite venomous so not dispatching her may have been the wrong decision. But when the weather got chilly she disappeared. Now I’m concerned that she’s hiding somewhere in my house’s siding. Any suggestions as to what I should do? It was fascinating to watch her. But should I get rid of her? Thank you. (I hope you will notify me when and if there is a reply.)

    Kristiana Kripena

    White widow spiders are indeed venomous however the good news is that in the winter months widow spiders find a warmer spot and become dormant. This means that during the winter the spider shouldn’t cause you problems. However, once spring comes the spider will emerge from its low-energy state and become active again, which means that finding the spider sooner rather than later and dispatching it away from your home would be wise. You can start by wearing gloves and carefully checking places like old, unused boxes and items, your crawl spaces, and dark,less-trafficked corners of your home, shed, garage, attic, and similar spots, since these are the places where widow spiders like to hide in. However, if you still can’t find the spider it might be wise to seek help from a professional pest control service.


I live in northeast Ohio and was wondering how many deadly/poisonous spiders live here. Im not a big fan of spiders. i can live with them as long as they stay where they are

Jeremy Farabee

Is it rare to see a recluse or widow in south western Pennsylvania? If so what are the percentages of having one in my home?? Also do they hibernate in tje winter month’s and will they wake out of hibernation if disturbed??? I was also wondering if there were any actual true ways to keep spider’s away or act as a sort of repellent???


    Type ”spiders” in our search bar, and you’ll see some of our articles, both explanatory about spiders and their removal, as well as product guides. Read some of them to get an idea of what might be the best option for you.
    As for widows and recluses in Pennsylvania. Both black widow and brown recluse are rarely seen in Pennsylvania, however, such sightings have happened before, so there is a possibility of encountering these spiders.
    Unlike most spiders, brown recluse might not be hibernating during winter. Given it finds enough food sources, the spider might as well stay active during the cold period.


I live in Nova Scotia and was cleaning my garage one night in January. The temperature was just above freezing. I moved some damp plywood that was on the floor and discovered a group of spiders scurrying away. They were almost black in color and about the size of your fingernail. I’ve never seen spiders outside in the winter before and thought I would share this.


I have a cluster of baby garden spiders which I moved from my back door into the garden in-between some long daffodils. Last night it was frosty and I’m worried that I’ve killed them, or could they possibly just be still in the cold? Feel really guilty. I wouldn’t have moved them if I’d googled that the mother lays them in a safe protected place to avoid exposure


    It’s hard to tell what happened to them but there is a chance they might have survived after all. Therefore, you shouldn’t be too harsh on yourself. Besides, you had no idea when you moved them. You could, however, make some more check-ups to see how things go from now on. Also, if they have gone into hibernation, they will likely remain still until it gets warm enough for their bodies to function normally. Good luck!

Cheryl Weasler

The home my wife and I moved into last summer has a large pre-existing garden, which is (also) home to many large European garden spiders (white cross spiders)! There was one spider in particular that was absolutely monstrous. She spun her web between our siding and a porch light and we would see her every night in the warmer months, always busy. We nicknamed her ‘Big Mama’. The weather got colder soon–we are in SE Wisconsin–and we didn’t see her anymore. We were hoping that she found somewhere safe and warm for the winter months. Two days ago, my wife noticed a Web spun in the same place in which she had made her web last year. The night after that, when taking our dog out around 11pm–I SAW HER. She was very, very still, and malnourished, almost dessicated looking…to be honest, it was shocking how different she looked. I stared at her for about 15 seconds and then ever so lightly blew at her. No movement. I waited another 15 or so seconds and tried again, and again, no movement. Hoping she hadn’t made it the entire winter and became so weak after spinning that she passed away. This morning I take our dog out, and–SHE’S GONE–and I’m so happy to report that there are a couple little lake flies in her web! Hooray! Now this may be a silly question, but if a spider survives the winter is it normal for them to look so emaciated when they emerge after hibernation? She looks quite..dry, I guess, and her body actually looks a bit shriveled, like pruny fingers. Thanks much your site is absolutely wonderful.


    Thanks a lot for the kind words! As for your little friend, spiders become desiccated under certain circumstances. Not sure about whether it’s a common thing during hibernation, though, it generally can happen. It depends on several factors, such as the humidity in the area, metabolism of the spider, etc. Even though sometimes spiders do ‘’drink’’ water droplets, most of the moisture they ingest comes from their prey. If she’s capable of hunting, she might end up being just fine in some time.


What to feed a spider in winter
(spider that eat flies)
Please I want to know about this my spider will die in the winter


    Do you have a pet spider? Or are you simply hoping to keep a random spider alive? If it’s just a spider you’ve found in your home, you should know they are very good at finding their own meals, even if it appears there aren’t any. Also, spiders are good at surviving cold environments, as well.


Thank you for not adding in pictures!! I am scared of spiders and avoid reading about them because there are always terrifying photos. So I got to read about them today which was nice, and might help me overcome my fear a bit!


I live on the 19th floor of a high rise in Chicago near the lake. Why do spiders overtake my balcony during the summer? How high can they go in a high rise and how do they get there? Finally, can I do anything to repel them without harming them? I prefer sitting on my balcony without their company.


    Make sure to remove all debris and clutter, as well as cobwebs. This won’t resolve the issue but it should help. We also suggest taking a look at our article about spider repellents.


So I’ve recently become quite enamored of spiders in my home and outside. I live in Maryland and I see that there is a lovely web placed in my window next to my desk. I can’t see the weaver of this web, lots of places to hide in a window frame, so I have no idea what kind of spider, but I did see a meal wrapped up in the center and now that’s gone. My problem is that I use this window to access a bird feeder which I would like to fill, but I don’t want to disturb the web to get at it. How can I tell if the weaver is still alive and active and if I do disturb the web am I putting it’s owner in danger of starving? Thanks. Great information here.


    Even if you accidentally destroy the web completely, the spider will most likely be fine. There are many spiders that rebuild their webs every day even without any damage. Though, we do suggest trying to be careful, if possible.
    As for whether or not the spider is still active. If the prey had disappeared, then the spider is most likely still there.

Rita Wall

I live in NE Pa and am deathly afraid of spiders especially since I was bitten by a brown recluse years ago. Didn’t know I was bitten but found a brown spider on my curtain in the morning right before leaving for Niagara Falls for a weekend. By the time I got to the Falls I needed to go to the hospital. The doctor knew right away it was a brown recluse bite. Stayed in hospital for several hours with an IV. 2 days later came home and back to hospital I went. Spent 2 weeks in bed. Needless to say spiders are not welcome in my house. Oh and the doctors told me if I was bitten by a young spider I would not have made it to Niagara Falls. Apparently their venom is much more potent than the adults.

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