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Ahh, spiders! Arachnophobia (fear of spiders) is probably one of the most common phobias. I even have it myself, but curiously, although I would scream if I saw one crawling across my hand, I can’t bring myself to kill them. And as for using any kind of chemical pesticides, well I just don’t ever want those poisons in my living environment where I might absorb them by breathing or touch.
The reason for this “pacifism” is that aside from the fact that I do my best not to kill anything unless I really have to, I can’t help admiring spiders (even though they creep me out). They are truly amazing creatures in so many ways that I hardly know where to begin describing their many astounding attributes.
Over 40,000 species have been identified so far. Spider silk is incredibly strong for its weight and has superb elasticity compared to even the best synthetic materials. But here’s the “spider factoid” that amazed me most of all: During courtship (yes, spiders have elaborate courtship rituals!) the males create a precise pattern of vibrations on their webs (is this a kind of music??) and do various movements and dances to attempt to impress the females! But let’s not talk about they part where the males get eaten afterwards. ( Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider )
You have to admit, they are remarkably clever little creatures. And I must confess, I can’t help thinking of them as having magical powers. But regardless of whether your sentiments towards spiders are those of fascination or horror, there are good reasons why you might want to serve an eviction notice or a “no trespass” on spiders in your home: Some spiders are dangerous, even potentially deadly. A bite from a brown recluse spider is a serious incident and something to avoid at all costs – though many of the reports of brown recluses (aka. the “violin spider” or “fiddleback”) turn out to be misidentification. Did you know that in addition to the violin-shaped marking on their bodies, recluse spiders also have 6 eyes (3 pairs) as opposed to the 8 (4 pairs) of most other spider species. Although many people will not want to get close enough to figure this out, you could use a magnifying glass.
It’s worth also bearing in mind that most spiders actually prefer living outdoors – there is more food there for them. So with all the above in mind, we’ve researched and found ten ways to deter spiders from your home.
1) Keep up on cleaning. This is #1 for a reason, it’s because it may make the biggest difference. A clean home is less appealing to critters in general, giving them less places to hide, less things to eat, less food for the other bugs that spiders eat and so on.
The less there is for them to eat, the more likely they are to go somewhere else – and you may find that if you keep the place super clean, they simply move out of their own accord. Really thorough vacuuming will also clean up most eggs and also the eggs of other insects which may act as food for the spiders. Oh – and empty the vacuum afterwards / take the refuse outside the house. So start by giving your house a very thorough spring cleaning! Every drawer, cupboard and closet, top to bottom. And if you find spiders in the process you can catch them in a plastic tub or jar and put them outside. 🙂
2) Eliminate obvious “spider hangouts” outside the home. Have you noticed how if you are chasing a spider, they will dive under the nearest thing that offers protection? This is because they have an instinct to hide in places where bigger predators can’t get them and so they love to lurk under things or in cracks. See what you can do to eliminate these habitats from right outside your home. Spiders like to party in wood piles and vegetation – so you might want to consider moving such things a little way away from the house if you can.
3) Seal the cracks. It stands to reason that if there are no ways for them to get in, they won’t get in – and neither will things that they eat. So you could consider donning the caulk gun and a fresh tube and simply going around sealing up whatever cracks and holes you can. Obviously, if you live in an old house this task might be difficult to impossible. Check window screens also for holes and replace the mesh if it is torn (window screen mesh is fairly cheap and will also deter other flying insects). Also, see if there is anything you can do about doors and windows fitting well and having draft proofing.
4) Peppermint essential oil. This is now well documented and well known. We’ve written a page about it here: http://www.herbs-info.com/blog/spiders-hate-peppermint-essential-oils-as-insecticides-and-other-curious-tales/ You may also find other essential oils have a deterrent effect on spiders – try rose, eucalyptus and others. Bonus points if you can find one that works and smells amazing 🙂
5) Vinegar. This works in similar fashion to the peppermint essential oil, but the trade off is that while it’s super cheap, it doesn’t smell so nice. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and water, and spray it around the cracks gaps and other places where spiders might enter your home.
6) Cats. Cats are renowned for pouncing on spiders – although they may simply play with them for a while before getting bored – depends on the cat. There are better reasons to get a cat, to be truthful…
7) Cedarwood chips. In addition to deterring moths, cedarwood chips are reported to deter spiders. So you could sprinkle them around the outside of the house – and also put them in cupboards or other places. Cedarwood essential oil mixed with water and added to a spray bottle is another great option and also considered a valuable bedbug deterrent.
8) Citrus oils. Another natural deterrent. Use these in a similar fashion to the peppermint EO – add to some water and spray round the cracks and other places they get in or lurk.
9) Baking soda. Apparently they don’t like it and sprinkling a little around will act as a deterrent.
10) Chestnuts. Ok well we had to throw in at least one “weird” one. Apparently, chestnuts will deter them and putting them on windowsills or baseboards will deter them from lurking there. Is there any truth in this one? I don’t know and will have to wait until the fall to put it to the test!
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