Chances are, someone in your neighborhood used spiders as a theme for their Halloween decorations. And for good reason: spiders are one of the most-feared pests. According to the American Psychiatric Association, 10% of people in the U.S. are affected by phobias, and up to 40% of those phobias are related to insects, spiders, mice, snakes, and bats.
While a mere 2% of the 63,000 species of spiders are actually harmful to humans, most people don’t want to share their homes with spiders. And since spiders are happy to take up residence in your home throughout the fall and winter, you’ll want to take steps to ensure they know they’re not welcome. Here’s how to to keep spiders outside where they belong.
1. Turn Off the Outdoor Lighting
While spiders aren’t attracted to light (and actually prefer dark spaces), many of the insects they feed on are. If you keep your outdoor lights on, you’re setting up a buffet for spiders, who will be drawn to come out of their dark hiding spaces to feast.
2. Seal Your Home
Spiders are good at squeezing through the tiniest spaces to enter your home. Seal up your home by winterizing windows and doors, caulking faucets, and sealing cracks under baseboards, around your dryer vent, or around plumbing. Because you don’t want to restrict airflow in your home, you can place screens over vents and other openings that shouldn’t be closed off.
3. Clear Plants Away From Your Foundation
If you enjoy gardening, you know that spiders love plants since they provide excellent hiding places. And spiders are usually welcome in the garden because they eat aphids. However, if plants are near the foundation of your home, spiders will migrate from their plant residence into your home when it gets too cold for them. It’s a good idea to clear vegetation away from the exterior of your house. You may also want to move stones, leaves, and other debris that could be hosting spiders.
4. Spray Peppermint Oil
While there hasn’t been much research done on essential oils as pest deterrents, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that spraying peppermint oil works to keep spiders at bay. One theory is that spiders dislike strong odors, so they may avoid crawling through the oil. One study was done on the fumigant ability of the monoterpenoids that are found in essential oils, which indicates that the monoterpenoids exhibit insecticidal properties. To use, simply mix a few drops of peppermint oil into a cup of water in a spray bottle, and spritz windows and doors.
5. Spray Vinegar
While it doesn’t smell as nice as peppermint oil, many people swear by white vinegar to keep spiders away, and you probably already have some in your pantry. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which spiders are highly sensitive to. To use, mix equal portions of vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and spritz.
6. Vacuum Frequently
Vacuuming sucks up eggs sacs, preventing spiders from multiplying. If you vacuum frequently, you’ll reduce the opportunities for spiders to breed, preventing an infestation.
7. Spread Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth consists of the fossilized remains of an algae called diatoms, whose outer shell is made of silica. The substance is found and collected in the sediment at the bottom of rivers, streams, and lakes. Diatomaceous earth is completely non-toxic for both humans and pets, so you don’t have to worry about safety.
The silica in the diatomaceous earth absorbs the moisture out of not only spiders, but many types of insects, causing them to dehydrate. Simply sprinkle diatomaceous earth in areas prone to spiders. Or, mix 1 tablespoon of diatomaceous earth into a cup of water in a spray bottle and spritz wherever spiders gather, and spray around the foundation of your home. Just be careful not to inhale the dust, since you don’t want foreign substances in your lungs. (An advantage of mixing with water is that it’s easier to avoid the dust). You can also spread diatomaceous earth around the dirt in your indoor plants that attract spiders.
8. Get a Cat
If your children have been asking for a pet, a cat will earn its keep! Cats are natural hunters and they’ll catch anything that’s running through your home. (However, if your area is a habitat for poisonous spiders, be aware that they can be just as dangerous for your cat.)
Halloween may be over, but spiders are still out there, and they’d love to make their home in yours during the winter! But if you follow these steps, you shouldn’t need to fear.
If you’re concerned about spiders in your home, let’s chat. Give us a call at (864) 292-1919, and we’ll let you know what we can do to help you.