Controlling Your Spiders Naturally!

I know Spiders are good for you and the environment, but I have a few friends that are afraid of spiders and my house is not exactly infested- but it seems that everyday, new spiders show up. The questions I have, should I keep them? How do I control them?  Who are the bad spiders? What are the non-toxic, readily available products to keep spiders in line? 

Spider Trivia 

  • It has been estimated that the number of insects eaten by spiders in that country every year exceeded the weight of the people who live in the U.K.
  • 3,000 different spiders in North America, but only a few of them cause problems for people.
  • The world wide benefit of pest control by predatory insects and spiders together may exceed US $100 billion per year. 

Benefits of Spiders 

  • Control insect populations
  • Reducing local disease-carrying insects, spiders
  • Provide humans with other medical benefits. Spider venom is used in neurological research and may prevent permanent brain damage in stroke victims.
  • Provide raw materials for new generation pesticides based on their venoms and new drugs and textiles based on venoms and spider silk.
  • The silk produced by spiders is used in many optical devices including laboratory instruments.

Dangerous Spiders

The Black Widow Spider

Only the female Black Widow bites. She is about a half inch long, black (hence the name), and sports a red hourglass on the underside of the abdomen. There are also Brown and Red Widow spiders in various parts of the US; these only sometimes have the noticeable hourglass.

 

 

 

 

 

The Brown Recluse Spider

The Brown Recluse is also about a half inch long, sometimes shorter. The spiders are brown (again, the name is a giveaway) and can be identified by their violin-shaped markings beneath the thorax (middle section).

 

 

Though the Black Widow and Brown Recluse Spiders are poisonous, they are not that much of a threat in most cases. Black Widow Spiders are very reclusive, tending to gravitate toward places where people aren’t. Brown Recluse spiders are rare except in the lower Midwest in the US. The Brown Recluse also tends to stay away from people.

Tarantulas 

 

Spider Prevention 

  • Indoors, get rid of their webs. Cleaning is the best method of spider prevention, so go through your home vigorously sweeping, dusting, and vacuuming. Do this weekly for a couple of months to destroy existing nests, not giving spiders time to rebuild and lay eggs.
  • Outdoors, get out the hose. Use the water to knock webs and spiders out from under the eaves. Repeat weekly or as necessary. Keep grass and weeds that grow near the house cut low, and likewise keep shrubs near the house small and neatly maintained.
  • Make your home less appealing to spiders. If there are cracks in your foundation or around windows and doors, seal them up. Check places where water pipes and electrical lines enter your house, and caulk any openings. Keep woodpiles and debris away from your house. In storage areas, put boxes up off the floor and away from walls. Seal boxes with tape to keep spiders from living inside them. In general, cleaning up clutter will mean you have fewer spiders.
  • Pruning vegetation away from your house and keeping the area next to the foundation clear will also make your house less attractive to spiders. Outdoor lighting sometimes attracts insects, which in turn attracts spiders. You can move outdoor lighting away from windows and doors if this is a problem around your home.1

Chemicals Are Ineffective

  • Using a pesticide is not a good solution to spider problems. “Insecticides will not provide long-term control” of spiders, according to the University of California, “and should not generally be used against spiders outdoors.” Inside, “control by spraying is only temporary unless accompanied by housekeeping.” Washington State University Extension has a similar perspective: “Most spider problems can be solved without the use of chemicals.”

All of the above is well and good- but being pro-active, (and wanting my friends to visit) what else can I do? 

Here are some ideas from other people for Natural Spider Prevention (except for the Lemon Pledge one) 

  • Remove spider webs is to take used dryer sheets and attach them to the end of a broom handle. Wave the broom handle like a wand to sweep away all the spider webs.
  •  Put chestnuts around the exterior walls of every room in the house as well as on all the windowsills. Friends, who live in the city and share a balcony with a neighboring apartment, put chestnuts under the sliding door to their balcony. They have had no spiders while their neighbors continued to be infested. I’ve read a couple of newspaper articles about the use of chestnuts to repel spiders, too.
  • Get a package of pipe or chewing tobacco, soak it in a gallon of boiling water until it cools. Strain the liquid into a clean container. Put a cup of tobacco juice and 1/2 cup lemon dish soap into a hose-end sprayer and spray. I.
  • “I learned this from the man who trained the spiders for the movie Arachnophobia. Spiders have their taste buds on the tips of their legs. They also hate the taste of lemon pledge. Dust your windowsills and doorframes with the pledge, both inside and out, and any areas where they accumulate. The spiders will find that they don’t want to live with you.”
  • “I live in Texas and have found the fruit from the bois d’arc tree or also known as osage orange tree (the fruit we call horse apples here) are a great repellant for spiders. I don’t know if you have these trees in the Midwest. But if you do, try quartering the apples and place one quarter in each corner of a room. The spiders just disappear. I used this when we moved into a house that had been unoccupied for a year and the spiders were in total residence. Within a week, they had all left! Judy
  • Essential oil of Lemon is a great natural deterrent for spiders. I make my own surface cleaner for cleaning counter-tops etc. and use a few drops of lemon oil in that to keep spiders out of the kitchen area, and I put some in my mop water and the water I use when I clean walls or ceilings.
  • I also make up a room spray with about two cups of distilled water, a couple drops of Seventh Generation dishwashing liquid (acts as an emulsifier to allow the lemon oil to mix with the water) and 5 to 15 drops of lemon oil depending on how lemony I want it (I occasionally mix in other essential oils as well for other properties they might have… essential oil of lavender is nice with the lemon… I never go above a total of 15 drops of oil though in one batch though). I squirt that in corners that I know spiders are attracted to and around the house.

 

Resources

Bug Guide

Spiderzule 

Do It Yourself Pest Control 

Medicine Net 

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Comments

  1. kanmani says:

    Nice….Good to read….

  2. This was a great article identifying the different types of spiders and the problems that they can produce. Nice to know that there are easy ways to keep the spiders under control. I like the idea of the dryer sheets and the chestnuts. Will give those a try. I have heard of the tobacco juice before too. Great ideas and great site. Keep up the good work.

  3. jenny says:

    Thanks for the tips on keeping spiders under control. There are several tip that will be helpful in my battle to keep black widow spiders away.

    I have two comments that, unfortunately, conflict with your statements.

    Dryer sheets contain several chemical that are hazardous, plus a few that actually cause cancer, so they’re not very green at all.

    Brown recluse spiders thrive in areas other than the lower midwest. I, personally, have killed them in central Texas, southeastern Ohio and Chicago.

  4. Ashley says:

    thanks for the tips! also helpful would be if ppl try these tips and report back as to whether they work or not.

    will keep checking back. :)

  5. Yeff says:

    Great article, thanks for the tips! I agree to what you write about chemicals and I don’t like to use them in my own house. But in autumn, when bulks of spiders come into my home I exterminate them with light stable pyrethrines, which seems to be save for use around children and pets.

  6. Meagan says:

    These all sound like amazing ideas! I am a total aracnaphobe so I hope the pledge thing works! I also heard that minty scented leaves might help repel spiders from a room, so im also trying that.

  7. Matthew says:

    Nicotine, or neonicatinoids, are used fairly frequently in commercial fruit and vegetable production.
    Pyrithrines, extracted from crysanthemums, are commonly used also.
    There are chemicals you can buy in the grocery store that a grower would NEVER use in a commercial environment.

    Matthew
    CA Pest Control Advisor

  8. I personally Feel blog, “Natural Spider Control- Key ways to control Spiders | Green Eco Services” was correctly written!

    I personallycould not agree along with u more! At last appears like
    I reallyfound a web site truly worth looking through. Thanks, Jeff

  9. I came on this site to check about ants for my son. There are two things that I know for a fact that also work. It is instant grits or cream of wheat. They eat the cereal and when they get water it expands in them and they die. What is most important to me is the article of how to get rid of spiders. I can beat any marathon runner if I see a big one!! I read somewhere that dried tomato leaves hung up in rooms would keep them at bay, but haven’t had enough to try. I definetly will try the lemon pledge first. And I know where there are osage orange trees , I will try and get some of those this fall. Thanks for the articles. I hope this works.

  10. Helen Naismith says:

    My problem is with the excrement the spiders leave. Every morning I’m out on my deck in the Blue Ridge Mountains scrubbing these black deposits off my railings and seat covers. It’s especially difficult to remove from fabric; I’ve tried hot water and detergent, but that doesn’t work very well. I’d appreciate any suggestions anyone can give me to 1) get rid of the spiders and 2) clean the mess they leave. (After reading this article and comments, I’ll try the Lemon Pledge today. Many thanks.)

  11. Helen S says:

    In response to ilene’s comment, although I don’t know about your total ant problem, I can tell you I’ve had my fair share of trouble with those little biters…. To keep them from coming into my home, I put 4-6 bay leaves on window sills and around doorways and anywhere I find a trail coming in… It’s been 3 months since I started doing this and haven’t seen an ant in my house since.

  12. cindy says:

    I tried Osage orange in my basement when we first moved to Kentucky. The next day a spider had made a web between two of the fruit and there was another just crawling along on it. I threw out the Osage Oranges and bombed them.

  13. Angela says:

    Thank u for the suggestions; will b sure to try several of them. Was wondering how often u should spray the natural mixture (logically after every rain of course).

  14. Susan says:

    How do you use the chestnuts? Do you leave it whole, crack it, crush it? Thx

  15. Norm says:

    Some good spider information, but a lot of nonsense on preventing or deterring spiders from setting up in your abode! And of course the internet will back up ANY claim, regardless of how whackadiculous it is. Instead of listing a bunch of folklore remedies, how about listing some research based and peer validated options from places like horticulture or biology labs or universities? Osage oranges? Seriously? Need to add vinegar with peppermint spray, quick-dry wax, catnip, copper strips, cinnamon and lavender oil sprayed in the corners of rooms, baking soda along floor trim, and so the list goes on. The trick is trying to find actual peer validated information based on hard research. I haven’t found it yet.

  16. Norm says:

    Oh…and a 5th grade class in England did an experiment to show horse chestnuts (or conkers) repelled spiders. They were astonished to find spiders were not repelled, but actually used the chestnuts for web anchors! The thought is that it is coincidental — by the time people are putting out seasonal chestnuts, the mating/invading season for spiders is over. Of course, I am stating this second hand based on a non-peer validated internet source…. ;O

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