Spiders…Yikes! Most of us, if not completely terrified, are at least a little uncomfortable confronting them. And most of us have at least one personal horror story as a result. My own involves battling a quite sizable wolf spider with a can of AquaNet Extra Super Hold. Yes, it was the 80’s, and no, the hair shellac didn’t win…a braver-than-I neighbor lady was called in to help and conquered the by then very sticky beast with a good, old-fashioned foot stomp. Ew.
Spiders are a great natural pest deterrent, as they love to dine on mosquitoes, flies and other tiny things we’d rather not have around. But most of us would agree we’d rather keep spiders busy OUTSIDE, rather than inside our homes. Read on as Moxie Girl shares some tips to rid your living space of these eight-legged creatures!
Is Your Home an Arachnid Playground?
Often we see far more evidence of spiders in our homes, rather than the actual spiders themselves – collections of intricate webs hanging out in corners, underneath furniture or between those stacks of magazines, newspapers and junk mail we’ve let pile up. And sometimes we walk into webs without ever seeing them until it’s too late. That’s always fun, right?
So, we know they’re there – and clearly they’re comfortable. The key to a spider-free home is to make them UNcomfortable enough to move along. And think how much more comfortable YOU’LL be in your home without having to be on the lookout for spiders!
First, Let’s Clear those Cobwebs…
While it may be tempting to let those cobwebs “do their thing” and get a jump on some very authentic Halloween decorations, unless you’re a fan of sharing your home with the spiders that are creating them, it’s probably not the best idea.
As a first step, Moxie Girl suggests removing any existing cobwebs you see inside the house. Use your vacuums attachment tool to suck up cobwebs – and any lurking spiders! They’ll be quickly and neatly contained in the canister and easily disposed of without ever touching them with your hands. For webs in areas surrounded by delicate items, use a disposable duster. Be sure to check your window sills and door jambs for cobwebs, too!
Spiders love a good hideout, making clutter a most inviting place to lay down a web. By de-cluttering your home, you’ll automatically decrease the potential places for spiders to set up camp. After you’ve vacuumed up all those webs you found, set about getting rid of the clutter! Spiders aren’t the only creepers preferring a hidden, cluttered habitat – and as we know, spiders love dining on other pests. Clearing the clutter will deter these other pests as well, cutting off the food supply to the spiders you’re attempting to oust.
Get rid of stacks (and piles) of stuff just waiting for a spider invasion. Do you really NEED those magazines from 2014? If so, at least consider plastic storage tubs or boxes with lids to keep your treasures spider and insect-free.
Don’t Forget the Outside
Exterior doors, window ledges, patio structures and furniture (including umbrellas) and corners should all get the web-removal treatment. Moxie Girl recommends using a wet/dry shop vac for this task, since moisture may be a factor outside. While you’re at it, you can use that shop vac to quickly collect any other patio debris at the same time.
You’re not the only one thinking your patio furniture is comfy. Spiders may find it a most attractive, too. Pay special attention to removing webs from your patio furniture – especially cushions!
Falling Through the Cracks
Okay, so it’s not so much “falling” through the cracks as is it CRAWLING through the cracks we should be worried about. Spiders – and lots of other pests – may be using the tiniest of entryways into your home. Make a thorough walk-through of your home, looking for any gaps needing to be sealed off. These types of “secret entrances” seem to be more prominent around exterior doors and windows. Your local hardware store staff can steer you toward the best products to use, depending on what and where you need to seal.
Nature’s Spider Remedies
Moxie Girl takes special care to use eco-friendly products whenever and wherever possible, and pest deterrents are no exception. We’ve got several natural remedies for keeping spiders from making their home in and around yours!
Essential oils, especially lemon, citrus, lavender, and peppermint may be quite effective in deterring spiders in the home. Make your own “spider spray” by mixing 5-10 drops of any of these essential oils and 5 drops of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid with 1 quart of water. Because essential oils may spot or stain, always test first in an inconspicuous area. Once you’ve determined it is safe for your particular surfaces, spray away – especially in areas where you previously found cobwebs.
Cat owners: Please beware that essential oils, especially those hated by spiders and other pests, may be harmful to your felines. (This goes for using aromatherapy infusers as well.) Better to keep Miss Kitty safely away from ANY essential oil use than to wind up sorry!
Diatomaceous Earth is another chemical-free deterrent that works to kill many types of pests including spiders. “DE” as it’s commonly known is mostly just fossilized plankton, ground into a powder. Under a microscope, DE resembles miniature shards of glass! It is generally harmless to humans and other mammals, but to any pest with an exoskeleton, a walk through some DE will literally make cuts to their bodies, causing dehydration and eventually death. Moxie Girl suggests putting a small border of DE outside, around your entire home as “Not Welcome” sign to any invading pests.
Important to note: DE is ONLY effective when it’s DRY. Moisture turns all of its sharp edges to mush. If your DE “line of defense” gets wet but doesn’t wash away, it will become effective again once it dries out. DE is safe to ingest – it’s even sometimes added to dry food items during production to kill any pests that may lurking in the food. (Try not to think about that last statement too much. Double “ew.”) But do be aware that you should refrain from breathing in DE since it could have the same effect on your respiratory system that it has on exoskeletal pests!
Certain plants may also be helpful in repelling spiders. Eucalyptus, lavender, mint, lemon verbena and lemongrass plant smell great – to us, not spiders – and bring a little of the outside, in! If you already use a furniture polish containing lemon oil (and many polishes do) consider spraying it on a rag and wiping interior window sills and doorways with it as an added layer of repellent.
Even though spiders aren’t drawn to light themselves, many of their favorite treats are, making outdoor light fixtures the perfect place for a spider feast. If you’re leaving outdoor lights on and your fixtures happen to be right next to doors and windows – as they often are – you’re actually encouraging spiders to hang out there by attracting a steady food supply for them.
You can create much more pleasingly ambient outdoor lighting and draw pests AWAY from your home’s points of entry by using rope lighting, LED candles or solar-powered stake lights – and turning off those traditional porch lights. Other outdoor pests will be drawn to these light sources, and the spiders will follow their food source!
Spidey-Senses, Weird Facts and When to Call in a Pro
Even though spiders have just as many eyes as they have legs, most are also what we humans would call “vision-impaired.” Spiders rely heavily on vibrations to guide them away from danger and to their prey. Spiders can also smell and taste using special sensory organs located on their legs. Weird.
Most spiders aren’t “poisonous” even though they may look pretty scary. If you do suspect your particular eight-legged invaders to be Brown Recluse or Black Widows, calling in a professional exterminator ASAP is advised, since your potential problems are far scarier than some cobweb build-up. Bites from either of these two generally require emergency treatment, so you’ll definitely want to get them out, once and for all!
A regularly scheduled and thorough cleaning inside and out will not only make your home nicer for you, but a clean, clutter-free home is a total buzzkill for spiders. Moxie Girl isn’t JUST your vacation rental home specialist – we’re happy to help at your residence, as well! Just tell us what you’d like us to do for YOU!