A Simple Technique for Insect Removal

Place the cup over the insect quickly

It’s summertime in Texas. As the temperature gets hotter, we all retreat into our air conditioned homes from the exhausting heat. Unfortunately, many insects have the same idea. There is, however, an easy way to get pesky insects, spiders, and even geckos, out of the house without hysteria and breaking things.

The Jar Technique is a simple way to capture small crawling animals using just two different materials found around the house: a jar and an index card, credit card or a piece of paper.

Many first reactions are to spray household pesticides or for the brave of heart to tell someone to hand them “the shoe.” Although vacuums are especially useful for removing spiders, webs and flea larvae from the home, sometimes you just need a quick, humane technique for for disposing of larger insects and spiders.

Slide the card underneath the cup and catch your bug!

The Jar Technique can be used for flies, beetles and, if practiced with care, bees and wasps. A wide-mouthed clear jar or glass works well, as well as Tupperware containers.  It’s nice to use something you can see-through, so you can get a closer view of your soon-to-be-captive.

To start, hold the jar or glass by the bottom (Fig.1). Then, carefully approach the insect and trap it in the container by placing its mouth flat on the surface on which the insect is sitting (Fig.2). Next, take a stiff card and slide it under the glass, trying not to lift the glass far from the surface (Fig.3).

Take the captured insect outdoors to release. All drawings by Bart Drees.

Once trapped, the insect in the closed container can be killed in the freezer for the children’s insect collection, or released outdoors.  For the catch and release program, bring the captured victim outside in the jar and go to a spot far enough away from the house.  Point the mouth of the jar towards the ground and remove the card (Fig. 4). The insect will generally fly or crawl out when dumped out of the jar towards the open area. If the insect does not fly, shake it out of the jar towards the ground.

Why do insects come indoors?

Many insects and arthropods, like spiders and scorpions, are prone to coming into houses year round, not just summer, but also fall, winter and spring. Many house invaders are nocturnal and simply look for a dark crack in which to escape from the sun.  They enter the home through cracks, crevices, or even through open doors or windows. Houses are paradise to the “creepy crawlies” since they supply regular food, water, and shelter. Once invited in, they tend not to leave so eagerly.

How NOT to remove a bug!

Just a word to the wise… Don’t try this method on BIG spiders while standing on a rickety ladder!



I would like to thank Dr. Bart Drees for supplying the pictures and  information from his previously written article. Thanks are also due to Dr. Merchant for the structural  support throughout.

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