How do you feel about creepy crawly spiders lurking about? Many of us respect all living things, even scary spiders. Admit it, though. The thought of all those furry legs waltzing around your home at night is unsettling, at the very least. Then, there are those of us who scream and dance the Irish jig as if we were being mauled by a saber-toothed tiger. Here are some pesticide-free ways to lessen the panic-inducing arachnid encounters.
- Keep Out!
Keep the porch light off because lights attract bugs, and bugs attract spiders. Cut back unkempt bushes and trees near your home. Keep the exterior free of leaves, grass clippings, and wood piles. Make sure all crevices, nooks, and crannies are sealed up tight. Caulk around windows and doors, and check screens for holes and proper fit. Inspect plants and firewood before bringing them inside. For those who are not averse to killing spiders, sprinkle food-grade (not pool grade) diatomaceous earth with a squeeze bottle around the exterior perimeter. The powder dehydrates them by getting under their external skeletal plates but is safe for animals. Diatomaceous earth can be found in feed stores or online, such as here.
- Botanical Bouncers
Let natural vigilantes enforce the “Do Not Enter” law. Grow spider-repelling plants such as lavender, mint, cilantro, and garlic—particularly under windows. Throw some eucalyptus sprigs and sprinkle cinnamon around the perimeter of your home/garage/shed. Place lemon, lime, and orange peels in your garden. Cedar mulch repels many insects, including spiders. While you’re at it, place cedar blocks in your home and use cedar hangers. Since spiders detest citrus, spray sugarless citrus oil outside the dwelling. You can also wipe your countertops with it. Sugarless citrus oil can be found in auto parts or beauty supply stores or online here. Spiders (particularly wolf spiders) are repelled by the smell of chestnuts. Place chestnuts outside and inside windows and doors.
- Essential Oil Spray
Make sure you are always locked and loaded with a spray bottle full of natural repellent. Dissolve a tablespoon of salt in a warm gallon of water. Mix in a few drops of peppermint, eucalyptus, citronella, citrus, or tea tree oil; 5 drops of dishwashing detergent; and a dash of vinegar. Why dish detergent? It emulsifies the oils in the water for a more soluble mixture. Spray not only outside but also inside the dwelling on baseboards, window sills, and corners. Reapply once a week. In addition, spray locations populated by other insects, which are spiders’ food. Eliminating spiders’ food is a great deterrent. Do not use essential oils if you have cats, however. Neem oil is another alternative and is safe for pets and children. Make sure it is pure neem oil and not watered own with additives, such as this one.
- Spice Things Up
If you would rather not use essential oils in your mixture, you can substitute them with a few cloves of garlic, capsaicin powder, chili powder, or hot sauce. Of course, this is best for outside use only unless you don’t mind your baseboards smelling like tacos. Bonus: The potent mixture might even repel pesky neighbors.
- Pet Patrol
Cats and dogs walking the beat in the homestead can’t hurt. Rest assured that their inquisitive nature and expert investigative skills will arrest any spiders you missed. Cats make exceptional undercover agents due to their stealth and agility—well, at least for the one hour per day that they are awake.
- Electronic Insect Repellents
Plugging in an electronic ultrasound unit in each room may help cut down on creepy crawlers entering your abode. There are mixed reviews on their effectiveness, but it may be worth a try. Look for units that constantly change up the ultrasonic waves so that the pests cannot adapt to the sound, similar to this. The units claim to be harmless to pets, but keep in mind that cats have very sensitive ears.
- It’s Time to Clean House
Regular dusting and vacuuming will help keep things under control. Reducing piles of paper, boxes and bags are key, too. Don’t roll your eyes; I know it’s easier said than done. Bright side: if you don’t have time to clean, at least you won’t know how many bugs are lurking under the clutter. Here’s an incentive: lemon-scented furniture polish is also a repellent, and rubbing citrus peels on baseboards, window sills and bookshelves is a quick preventative.
You are now fully armed and ready for battle with your natural spider repellents. Keep in mind that in the event that your proactive efforts fail, screaming and flailing your arms will most likely evoke someone else to take action.