There may be a reason other than the “eew” factor that spiders are associated with Halloween. Here’s why you are probably seeing more of these creepy crawlies in your home this fall and how you can keep them out.
Cooler temperatures signal the start of spider mating season. Autumn is when most spiders reach maturity and they start to come out from their hiding places to mate and find more insects to eat. Unbeknownst to you, a few have been enjoying their time living under your furniture, behind cabinets, and in cracks and crevices inside your home as well as in your garden. Like the insects they eat, they are also looking for a warmer place to live, and that is inside your home.
W,hile this may send shivers down your spine, spiders play a significant role in keeping insect populations in check and are the most important biological control of pests in and around homes, yards, gardens and crops. They are also a good source of food for other creatures like birds, frogs, and other predatory insects – and on up the food chain you can go. All spiders are poisonous, but few have the jaw size to bite you, and fewer are dangerous to humans and pets.
So rather than squishing or vacuuming up spiders, here are some ways to convince them to leave or never enter your home.
These handy devices can quickly suck up a spider relatively safely so you can deposit it outside your home. This way, you never have to touch it or even come within more than a foot or so of it.
Spiders use the tiny hairs on their legs to detect smells and vibrations. Strong odors can overwhelm them and send them scurrying away. Here are some of the scents they dislike most and how you can use them.
Spiders hate citrus: lemon, lime, orange, even grapefruit. You can make your own spray by mixing 20 drops of lemon or lime juice or essential oils with water in a spray bottle. Spray your countertops, tile floors, and outdoors around window and door frames. You’ll have to repeat this to keep the spiders from coming into your home.
Use a Lemon Peel Rub
Don’t throw away those lemon peels after you squeeze a lemon, rub them over windowsills, door sills, or anywhere else spiders may perch (like cabinets or behind toilet tanks). The scent will repel the spiders
You can burn citronella candles or use air fresheners with citronella in them to keep spiders at bay, along with other bugs that aren’t fond of the scent.
If citrus or citronella is not to your liking, spiders also dislike peppermint. Spiders use the tiny hairs on their legs to sense smell and vibration. Peppermint is too strong a smell for them and overwhelms their systems. Combine 5 drops of peppermint oil and 6-7 drops of dish soap in a 16-ounce water bottle, then spray where needed. You can use this to clean up fingerprints or dust from your window sills and doors too. Use once a week until it is all used up.
You can also use peppermint oil in a diffuser which will work almost as well as a repellent.
If you don’t want to add any smell to your home, vinegar will work well and has little to no aroma. Its acid composition works well to repel spiders and can be used inside and outside your home. Mix half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle and spray it whenever you find a spider. Don’t spray on delicate fabrics or furniture with a finish that could be damaged.
Outside your home, spray around all openings and any corners or cracks where insects could enter your house.
Just in time for the holidays, you can use cedar to repel spiders too. Cedar branches or wood chips can be placed in small fabric bags and hung near your openings or in your closets to repel spiders and other insects.
If you have an area in your home that is spider prone, sprinkle turmeric around or place a turmeric stick there. This spice has a strong smell and taste that all insects despise.
Spiders don’t like mint, lemongrass, or eucalyptus. So bring in some of your outdoor plants this winter and place them in sunny spots.
Seal up your cracks and openings
Make sure your windows, doors, and vents are well sealed. Going into winter, your heating bill will thank you, and you will have fewer spiders next year by keeping them out of your home this fall.
Declutter and Clean
Spiders don’t like to be out in the open. Decluttering and cleaning will remove their hiding spaces and food sources like dust mites or tiny insects.
Turn off Outdoor Lights
Bugs and spiders will go to the light, so keep outside lights off, or use motion sensor lights if security is a concern. You can also use yellow LED light bulbs that don't attract bugs.
Horse Chestnuts contain a natural oil that spiders don’t like. Place some in a bowl or cup near the entry places in your home. Spiders will scurry away. Horse Chestnuts, or conkers, contain a poisonous chemical called Aescin, so keep them away from children and pets.
Tobacco leaves, not cigarette tobacco, are also a spider repellent. You can use them in two ways. The first is to muddle leaves into a paste and combine that with water to make a spray. The other is to knead the leaves with flour and place it around the exterior of your home to keep spiders out.
Cats and Dogs
If you have been considering getting a pet, cats and dogs usually go after anything that moves, especially cats. While they may not catch a spider, they’ll certainly chase it, hopefully away.
You can sprinkle baking soda around the outside of your house, on windowsills and near doorways to keep a myriad of insects away from your home, including spiders.
Wash Your Fruits and Cover Up Your Food
Spiders eat insects, and insects eat you fruit and food. So wash and store your fruit so spiders won’t have a food source too.
Diatomaceous Earth, also known as DE, is a white powder made from fossils of tiny sea creatures called diatoms. While a powder, it is one with sharp edges that stick to a spider and cuts their skin. It will kill the spider in time but is very effective against spiders and many other insects. Gardeners use it to keep bugs from crawling up plants to eat the leaves, and some dog owners use it as a flea repellent.
Place the DE around your home to act as a barrier against pests.
Sources: independent.co.uk, geartrench,