They may know in their heart of hearts that they don’t want to hurt anyone – and that they can keep other nasty pests at bay – but some people are still not happy at the thought of having spiders in their houses.
Late summer into autumn is the period when spiders begin to look for breeding partners, and wet weather can also encourage them to leave their webs and take shelter wherever they can find it.
If you’d rather not share your space with our eight-legged friends, here’s some tips to help prevent them coming into your home.
So how can I keep spiders out of my house?
Sorry to break the bad news to you, but there’s no absolutely fool-proof way of keeping spiders out. Being small and great crawlers, they can squeeze through the tiniest of gaps to get undercover – though keeping doors and windows shut will obviously help.
Apart from that, keeping your house as neat, tidy and clean as possible is a good deterrent. Spiders like to have places to hide, so keep clutter to a minimum, and of course dust and vacuum to keep webs at bay.
Spiders will naturally try to find a food source, so keeping your home clean – thereby deterring other bugs which spiders feed on – is a good idea generally. Be sure to wipe up crumbs and stains that might attract them, keep your bin lid closed and empty it regularly.
Is there any other method for keeping spiders away?
Fortunately, there are plenty of natural remedies for putting off arachnids which will also help keep your house spider-free. These have the added benefit of not actually killing the spiders.
In particular, spiders are repelled by strong scents. Add some essential oil to water and spray the mixture into corners of rooms, wardrobes and other nooks and crannies, and this will help put them off. Oils you can use include peppermint, tea tree and lavender.
A more prosaic version of this remedy is to make up a mixture of half white vinegar and half water and spray it around the house in the same fashion. However, this is a slightly less pleasant-smelling option – and be careful not to spray the mix on anything that might stain, such as varnished surfaces, as the vinegar might affect them.
Citrus scents are also off-putting to arachnids, so try rubbing orange peel along skirting boards, around coving, and along window sills. You can also cut up peel from citrus fruits into small chunks and leave them in places spiders might access such as under the sink or at the back door; remember to change these regularly, though. Using citrus-scented cleaning products around the house will also help.
Anything else I can try to keep spiders out of my home?
Light doesn’t attract spiders, but it will entice the creatures they feed on into your house, so keep external lights to a minimum and use lined curtains or blackout blinds to prevent indoor lights from spilling outside too heavily.
Try having a eucalyptus plant in the house, or planting one near it in your garden. Again, spiders will be repelled by the strong scent – but remember, the plants in particular will need a lot of attention. Cedar is another plant scent that will supposedly put the creatures off.
Another oft-mentioned trick for keeping spiders away is to scatter conkers around your home. While there’s no real evidence for this being an effective deterrent, many people swear by it. Just be careful if you have pets - conkers may be poisonous to them, so check with your vet first.
Speaking of pets - if you have been thinking of getting a cat, you’ll be pleased to hear that they are very good at keeping the spider population down in your house – so maybe it’s time to fork out for a feline friend…