The blood-curdling scream from my daughter's room at 6 this morning was no surprise. It happens every spring. Roused by my digging in the garden, a small army of 8-legged crawlers was making its way indoors. My daughter had opened her eyes to a member of the scouting party, rappelling its way from the ceiling to her bed. I grabbed the harmless little creature with a tissue, shook it out the window and went in search of my homemade "spider spray."
Despite the fact that most varieties of spider pose no threat to humans (and given the way they keep the insect population under control we should view them as allies) many people dislike, and even fear them.
In looking for a natural spider repellent, I discovered that all spiders have their taste buds on the tips of their legs. There are certain natural oils they hate, including citrus, lavender, peppermint, citronella, cinnamon, tea tree and cloves. This natural spider deterrent does wonders to combat an arachnid invasion, and with repeated use will help repel spiders year round:
- Add up to 5 drops of essential oil (lemon is my favorite and spiders detest it) and up to 5 drops of dish washing liquid to 1 qt. of water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and shake well.
- Spray the mixture on cobwebs, around doors and windows, around the lawn and garden and on any surfaces where spiders lurk. In addition to having a pleasant aroma, this mixture is nontoxic.
- Oils may stain or cause spots, so be sure to test the mixture on a small section of carpet or upholstery before spraying an entire surface.
- Reapply the spray once a week during peak "spider seasons."
Natural spider repellents have to be applied more often than pesticides, but they are safer for to use in your home and have a pleasant smell. Pots of mint and lavender inside your home on a sunny windowsill will also help deter indoor spiders. Or you can dust your window sills and furniture weekly with a lemon-scented cleaner to help deter spiders.
Last, but certainly not least, you can stop a household spider infestation through simple, nonchemical means. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up spiders and cobwebs. Seal cracks in the foundation and close gaps in windows or beneath doorways to deny spiders access to your homes. Spiders thrive in dark, cluttered places, so keep stacks of debris, woodpiles and thick plant growth away from the sides of the house. The fewer places spiders can easily inhabit, the more effectively they can be repelled.