Do you welcome the cooler days of late summer but dread the influx of spiders that abound in homes this time of year? Spiders can be more active in August and September; some are looking for a place to hibernate before winter arrives while others are matured males on the prowl for a mate. But don’t call the exterminator just yet. You can repel the creepy crawlers without chemicals.
Fiction: Fruit placed around walls repels spiders.
Fact: Decaying fruit brings bugs, and according to P. G. Koehler (University of Florida), “… [spiders] are predators, feeding primarily on insects and other arthropods.” Instead of providing fodder for them, try non-toxic sticky traps (available at home improvement stores) on floors near interior walls to catch spiders.
Old Wive’s Tale: Spiders live in drains, so close them at night.
Truth: Donald Lewis (Iowa State University Extension) says, “… it is unlikely there are many insects (and even fewer spiders) surviving in your sewer or septic system … most insects are not good submerged divers.” Grab a flyswatter and use the old-fashioned method to squash that spider in your tub!
Aerosol Bomb vs Sealed Openings
Half-myth: Outdoor spiders move into your house for protection. An aerosol bomb kills them immediately and for months afterward.
Reality: It’s not an abundance of outdoor spiders that you’re seeing from August-October. Sharon J. Callman, et al (Washington State University) states, “… the larger species [of indoor spiders] mature and become more active from late August to early October. At that time, the house may appear to have been invaded.” Although an aerosol bomb might kill spiders (not to mention the dog, cat, and your first-born child), Callman says, “It will not provide residual control for insect[s] coming in later.” Instead, seal openings to prevent errant spiders–and males in search of mates–from entering.
Horse Chestnuts vs Eliminating Clutter
Fiction: Placing horse chestnuts on floors repels spiders.
Fact: Rod Crawford (Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture) states this is not true, and Susan Jones (Ohio State University) suggests that one of the more effective, non-toxic methods is eliminating clutter in closets, basements, and attics.
Broom vs. Vacuum Cleaner
Partial myth: Brushing away spider webs with a broom gets rid of them.
Fact: Brooms only do half the job. Ralph Williams and Gary Bennett (Purdue University) state, “Clean away all webbing with a vacuum cleaner so that eggs and spiders are picked up and destroyed.” And then–just to avoid those nightmares about spider eggs in your hair–throw that vacuum bag in the outdoor trash!
Mike Potter, “Brown Recluse Spider, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
Rod Crawford, “Myths, Misconceptions and Superstitions about Spiders,” Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington.