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Photo Quiz: What Are These White Spots?

Michael Purser
7 16 15 Michael Purser Spider Poop

We've all seen this on wood floors. What is it?

Hint: You can't blame the painter.

The most common place to see this is in corners and under furniture. I've seen some homeowners looking to take a painter's head off only to remember their place hasn't been painted in decades. I've also seen them shriek in horror when they find out what this is: spider poop. That's right, folks, if you didn't know it before, spiders have no shame and no desire to be discreet. They poop in public and they poop often. From the looks of this pattern on a standard tongue and groove floor, some spider has a diet that might be a bit too high in fiber. I guess a diet of flies can do that to you.

The challenge is convincing a homeowner that most spiders don't represent a threat. I had one woman drop the phone and start screaming for her husband to finish the conversation that got side tracked when I told her what was under her furniture. As he said when he got on the phone, "Man, she saw that s*%t under our bed and she's out the door. Gone! On her way to Mama's." And be careful with those who seem to be a bit more obsessive about maintaining a spic-and-span appearance. I had a firsthand experience of a homeowner melt down when she learned the truth about the spots. In hindsight, I don't think having her mother-in-law present helped all that much. Face it: Some people don't cohabit with arachnids all that well.

As you might expect, spider poop is easily dealt with using any wood floor cleaner. I may have to let it sit for a minute to make for an easier cleanup. The hard part can often be what to do to motivate the spider to relocate. It's kind of hard to tell that they're colonizing your favorite couch or chest of drawers until you see the pattern on the floor. Pest control and insect bombs can be helpful, but believe me, they'll be back. I typically vacuum the boogers up and let them party in the dust bag. I try and do it a couple of times a year but I have been known to skip a cleaning or two. On those occasions, I just sit back and marvel at how few flies are zooming around the room!

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