Most of the spiders that you will encounter outside and sometimes indoors are not lethal and are in fact important in reducing the number of bothersome insects and pests that affect plants and people.
However, many cautious homeowners do not want to take the risk of a dangerous spider entering their home by using spider repellents to prevent entry. Fortunately, there are various effective techniques and products that are available to get rid of spiders.
When dealing with home maintenance, pest control is an often overlooked but important aspect that should be dealt with. With that said, spiders are one of the top home invaders.
Though common domestic house spiders are harmless to human beings and pets, they are still unwanted. The best way to keep spiders out of your home is to prevent them from entering in the first place. Fortunately, the best spider repellents are non-toxic, easy to setup, and can be done without requiring any professional supervision.
Points of Entry
Before entering your house, spiders need to first find a way in. Be wary of any cracks or other such openings that a spider can enter from.
Whenever possible, seal these openings with foam or caulk. Door saddles and windowsills are the most common entryways for spiders; examine the seals to determine if they are still intact and replace them if they are coming loose.
For the exterior of your home, be vigilant of gaps near venting fixtures and plumbing, such as trim, overflow pipes, and faucets.
Spiders will be attracted to your house if they can find food, moisture, and shelter. Therefore, to reduce the occurrences of spiders, you need to keep a clean house and maintain your landscaping. Garbage and clutter are excellent places for spiders to take shelter, as are overgrown vegetation, wood piles, and exposed pet food.
Place pet and bulk foodstuffs inside airtight containers to prevent exposure. Trim vegetation so that they are not in direct contact with your home. Garbage, wood, and compost areas need to be kept as far from your home as possible as these are prime spider habitation areas.
Organize and clean the home interior and vacuum thoroughly. While vacuuming, pay attention to any web and egg sacs attached to the backside or underside of furniture – you do not want to miss these.
How to Use Natural Spider Repellents
Create a solution using ½ ammonia and ½ water to wipe around the outside of your doors and windows. Spiders dislike the smell of ammonia and will not go near it. You may also try using some essential oils in a spray bottle and spray the exterior of the house. Oils like rose oil, citronella, lavender oil, and citrus oils are very effective.
Placing bay leaves around the exterior of the house may also detract spiders. Keep an eye out for any holes and cracks anywhere in your home that spiders may be entering from. Seal the cracks with caulk or cement. Don’t underestimate spiders. Even the tiniest pin hole is sufficient for a spider to enter your home, so be vigilant and do not let even the tiniest opening remain open.
Though you may not find them all, this will probably be enough to deny access to the majority of the spiders you would have encountered otherwise.
Using Ladybugs to Repel Spiders
Order some ladybugs and spread them out in your yard. Make sure that you disperse the lady bugs evenly around the perimeter of your home. Though ladybugs do not feed on spiders, they will feed on many insects that spiders also feed on. In this way, ladybugs will eliminate the spider’s main source of food, forcing them to find food elsewhere.
Pest control professionals should be called in if any household member is allergic or sensitive to spiders, or if all home remedies are ineffective, or if the spiders are poisonous. Electronic devices are available for purchase that emits a high-frequency pitch that is inaudible to human begins but supposedly wards off pests like spiders.
Baits, chemical sprays, and other such traps can be used to deal with spiders that have already entered one’s home, but they can be dangerous for pets, children, and even health adults. Purchasing and using traps and baits to eliminate other pests, like flies, can also reduce spider infestations by getting rid of a primary food source.
The outdoors are the ideal living environment for a spider because there they have an abundance of food, moisture, and shelter. However, they will not hesitate to travel indoors if a section of your home is capable of providing any of these things.
The best way to get rid of spiders from your home is to seal off any entrances in which they can enter. Get rid of any rocks, compost piles, wood piles, leaf debris, old beards, and other potential spider habitation sites in the vicinity of your home.
Changing your outdoor light bulbs from the standard white incandescent bulbs to yellow or sodium vapor lights will detract insects that spiders prey on and therefore detract spiders from appearing. Install tight-fitting screens for all windows in your home and seal up cracks and crevices so that spiders cannot find any spaces to squeeze in.
The exclusion and sanitation methods mentioned above are generally most effective when used in tandem with some kind of pesticide treatment. Contact insecticides can be administered direct onto any observed spiders, but to keep spiders away in the long term one must use a residual pesticide.
The best types of residual pesticides to use as a spider repellent are usually pyrethroid pesticide chemicals (cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, tetramethrin, permethrin, and others). Do not use total-release fogger insecticides since these have been shown to be useless in repelling spiders.
There are various commercial products that are effective in repelling or deterring spiders. These products will fall into two categories: those designed to repel spiders without harming them, and those that will kill spiders.
An example of a product that is designed to repel or deter spiders is StarBrite’s Spider Away spray, which is sold as an alternative to the dangerous chemicals found in other spider sprays. Star Brite advertises their product as non-toxic and it is supposedly safe for use around humans and pets.
The usual spider sprays and traps, like those made by Terro, are designed to eliminate spiders and other bugs. Terro sprays use the pyrethrin and permethrin as its active ingredients. These chemicals are highly effective spider killers and can wipe out spider colonies before further infestation can occur.
Though both of these chemicals are supposedly relatively safe for humans, some experts warn that permethrin might be harmful for cats and dogs.
Natural Repellent Myths
There are a few myths and misconceptions regarding natural spider repellents that are scientifically unfounded.
One such belief is that chestnuts, specifically conkers or horse chestnuts, can repel spiders. There is no scientific evidence that backs this belief; conkers simply do not have any effect on spiders.
Another belief is that the fruit of Maclura pomifer (osange-orange tree), or hedge apple, can be used as an effective spider deterrent. Once again, there is no evidence which backs this theory up.
Furthermore, studies have shown that the sap of this tree can result in dermatitis in humans, making it not only useless for keeping spiders away, but potentially harmful to humans.
Additional natural repellents that have been claimed to work, but are in fact scientifically unfounded beliefs, are eucalyptus, lemons, chewing tobacco distilled in water, and using essential oils like canola.
The difference between insecticides and other commercially available spider repellents are that insecticides are not designed specifically for any species, rather it is to be used to completely exterminate all insect populations within its range.
Experts recommend the usage of slow-release pesticides like that of bendiocarb and chlorpyrifos, carbaryl, and synthetic pyrethroids such as cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, and lambda-cyhalothrin for repelling spiders.
It is also recommended that one spray insecticides on spider webs, as spiders will return to it and lay eggs there if it is not currently present. Doing so will eradicate all adults and eggs, effectively ending infestations before they even begin.
Always read the manufacturer’s instructions printed on the side of the product, especially for first time users, to ensure that proper procedure is being followed.
Administer the spider repellent in locations where spider habitation is common, such as the back of baseboards, any cracks and crevices, inside and beside boxes in storage areas (attics, basements, etc.)
Observe the treated locations often to see if there is a reduction of the spider population. Make sure to clean up any spider egg sacks in these areas since the residual insecticides are ineffective against egg sacks.
For those who are worried about the safety of the inhabitants of your home, it would be in your best interest to learn the identifying features of spiders that can be harmful to human beings and pets, like the brown recluse, black widow, and hobo spiders.
One may try to attract natural predators of spiders into their gardens so that the predators can do most of the work. For instance, species of wren, like the Carolina wren (Thryothoros ludovicianus), enjoy eating spiders and their presence will repel spiders.
The wren is a tiny songbird. By erecting birdhouses in areas where spider infestations are rampant, the wren will flock there and naturally feed on spiders as well. Another natural predator of spiders are the spider wasp, though it is not recommended to attract these as they will prey on spiders that are beneficial to the garden’s ecology and humans.
Additionally, electronic spider repellents are sold which claim to emit ultrasonic sound waves that irritate insects and spiders, keeping them away. However, there is currently no evidence which support this theory. Other than these exceptions, spider experts generally recommend to leave spiders alone whenever possible due to their beneficial ecological effects.
However, if you have a spider infestation that has become more than just a nuisance, and if none of the advice outlined above is successful in repelling the spiders from your home, then hire professional exterminators to completely repel the spiders.
Spiders are intimidating for most people, and some can truly be dangerous. There are over 35,000 named species of spiders throughout the world. With this many spiders, it is no surprise why so many reach for the can of pesticide whenever they encounter one.
Pesticides, unfortunately, are dangerous to pets, so natural remedies should be the go-to solution to ward off spiders. With that said, the best remedy is prevention; plug up as many holes as you can, and the spiders won’t be able to find an entrance to your home.
Click here to learn how to keep spiders away from your siding.