While they’re present in the home throughout the year, late summer and early autumn are when spiders are at their most active and visible. It’s at this time of year that male spiders will skitter around in search of a mate.
Given that so many of us are absolutely terrified of the eight-legged creatures, their increased visibility is not going to be universally welcomed. Therefore, you might be looking for a way to deter spiders from the home and generally make their lives unpleasant. So how might this be achieved? And do we really want to stop spiders coming into the home?
What’s good about spiders?
If you’re one of the arachnophobes we’ve mentioned, then this question might seem a strange one. Spiders are self-evidently dreadful, right? They have eight legs and they crawl around in a profoundly unsettling way. Six-legged beetles are comparatively cuddly. And yet there’s reason to suppose that spiders have gotten a bad rap. A single spider can chew through thousands of insects in a given year, and they’re thus capable of deterring houseflies and other pests. For this reason alone, they’re good to have around.
How do spiders get into the home?
If you’re unconvinced of the benefits of spiders, you might be ready to go around the outside of your house, sealing up any visible entry points. But the truth is that the spiders in your house have adapted for indoor conditions. Outdoor species of spider wouldn’t want to come indoors, because they’ve evolved to live outdoors, and can’t endure the year-round high temperatures in the home.
The overwhelming majority of spiders found in the home will have been there for their entire lives. They might have been unwittingly brought in when you first moved into the building. Egg sacs can remain hidden in stacks of bricks, furniture and timber. They’ll then hatch into spiders, which go on to produce generations upon generations more spiders.
For most of the year, spiders tend to live in disused spaces where they can feed and sleep undisturbed. Garages, sheds and other places where humans don’t often visit are particularly popular. After all, spiders have adapted to be averse to us just as we’re averse to them. Of course, just because they’re out of sight doesn’t mean they’re far away: if you’re sitting in the home, the chances are that there are several dozen spiders just beneath you. It’s just that, up until this point, they’ve had no reason to come out and say hello!
How do I limit the spider population?
With all of this said, you might still want to minimise the number of spiders you catch sight of this autumn. Let’s run through a few tips.
Reduce the number of insects
The fewer insects there are in the home, the less prey your local spiders will have access to. This means putting up fly-paper and traps, and closing windows. If your lights are on at night-time, you’ll draw smaller insects in (as well as wasting electricity). Make a point of leaving them off where possible.
Get a cat
Just as spiders prey upon houseflies, cats prey upon spiders. They’ll take particular pleasure in chasing them around, swatting and eating them, even when you’re not there to see. During the spider’s mating season, they’re able to do this all the more effectively. With all of this said, only some cats will take their duties seriously; others will simply sit back and wait to be fed. Thus, the services of a cat can’t really be relied on.
By creating a tidy home, you’ll provide fewer places for spiders to hide. Vacuum any concealed or sheltered spots, such as those on the top of your kitchen cupboards. If you see a web, destroy it – the spider will need to spend time building a new one, and it may do so in a space that’s out-of-the-way.
Deploy aromatic spray
Certain fragrances deter spiders. Most notable among these are peppermint and eucalyptus. Get a dozen or so drops of the stuff and dissolve it into a sprayable bottle of water. Spray it around your living spaces, and any other places where you’d rather not encounter a spider. This trick will leave your home smelling fantastic, and it doesn’t call for the use of corrosive chemicals.
How to get rid of spiders
If there’s a spider in your vicinity and you’d like to get rid of it, you might employ one of several methods. There’s little doubt, however, that one of these is best: the glass method. Take an upturned glass and place it over the top. Slide a suitable piece of card (or paper) underneath. Take it to the nearest window and drop it. What could be simpler? Spiders can survive a fall of a few metres, but if you’re feeling sympathetic you can leave it on the outside sill.