Spider season is almost upon us, and with it comes an influx of arachnids keen to make your bedroom their bedroom too.
Every autumn, spiders head indoors to mate, and avoid the coming cold weather. And although they pose little to no danger to you or your family (even the much-maligned false widow spider presents little threat, and will only bite if provoked) no one really likes them creeping around.
As the old adage goes, they’re more scared of you than you are of them – but that might still leave you pretty scared.
Here’s how to keep eight-legged insects out of your home this spider season…
1. Keep things clean
Spiders thrive on the damp and the dark – the little nooks and crannies they find in dirty corners and cluttered floors. If you vacuum and dust regularly, store items in boxes that have lids, and generally keep floors and surfaces clear, spiders will be much less inclined to risk venturing inside.
2. Seal your windows and doors
Spiders are small and sneaky, but they still can’t get in through solid walls. Use a DIY sealant to close up the little crevices that surround so many doors and windows. A watertight home keeps out creepy-crawlies, and has the added bonus of squishing your heating bill.
3. Eat more oranges
Sounds weird, we know, but hear us out. Spiders ‘taste’ with their legs, and if their legs taste something they don’t like – in this case, citrus – they’ll be out the door as fast as their eight legs can carry them. One strategy is to rub citrus on your door and window frames, although we’re not totally sure what the neighbours would think if they spotted you absent-mindedly massaging your door frame with an orange peel.
4. Get a humane spider catcher
A lot of people take a confrontational approach when dealing with spiders (i.e. splat), but it might be better for the ecosystem and your conscience to redistribute them somewhere other than your home. Spider vacuums will suck up spiders into a long tube to be released at your leisure, without you having to get within striking distance.
5. Let natural light in
Spiders are attracted to the dark and the dank, while spiders’ prey (flies, moths etc) are attracted to light bulbs and lamps. Sidestep both by keeping your blinds open, and flooding your home with natural light.
6. Use a vinegar-based deterrent
Spiders hate vinegar just as much as they hate citrus, so vinegar-based cleaning products often send them scurrying back the way they came. The only drawback: you might think it smells awful too…
7. Clean up your exterior
Tidy anything outside your home that spiders might hide in, and use as a bridge to your interior. Think leaves, woodpiles, climbing plants, compost heaps, and even bins.
8. Get a cat
We might think they’re cute and cuddly, but in the urban ecosystem, cats are apex predators that kill on sight. Just as good at munching spiders as they are mice, cats are all-purpose pest control, though some are more energetic than others. Rather drastic as a standalone measure, it’s probably wise to only get a cat if you also happen to want one.
9. Coexist peacefully
We know, this isn’t what you came here for, but spiders are an excellent vanguard against most other varieties of bug. Once established in a home, they rarely venture into the open, and from the safety of their webs, dispatch any number of other insects, including mosquitoes. If you’re really not a fan of creepy-crawlies, spiders could be an unlikely ally at home.