How to keep spiders out of your house

Spiders are heading back indoors, after a warm and wet winter — here's how to keep them out

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The Independent Online

As the nights draw in and the heating gets turned up, spiders make their way back into our homes. With False Widows and giant house spiders cropping up around the UK, here are the best (and most outlandish) ways to keep your home spider free.

Conkers

A popular old wives tale says that chestnuts can be placed around the home to deter spiders. Some claim they hate the smell, others claim they keel over in the presence of a walnut. There’s no real evidence to support this though, so use either as a last resort or for a good old playground game.

Where there are insects, there are spiders

As the evenings grow darker, it can be tempting to leave outside lights on which serve as a beacon to the insects in the area. The spiders aren’t attracted to the light, but will follow the insects. If windows are left open with the lights on, expect a lot of spiders to be following those moths.

Essential Oils and Vinegar Sprays

Eucalyptus, tea-tree or even peppermint oils might keep the spiders out. While some might enjoy the smell, the spiders do not. Spray around windows and doors. A similar option is vinegar. With an infinite amount of uses around the house, one of them had to be deterring spiders. Side effects may include deterring friends and family from your extremely fragrant home. Check out a good oil spray recipe here.

Get a Pet

Preferably a cat. Cats have been used as hunters since humans first began to interact with them, and even the most docile tabby cat will still follow his instincts. While they aren’t going to eliminate the entire spider problem, they’ll catch anything they see sprinting across the living room floor. Use caution if there are poisonous spiders in the house like the False Widow, as they can hurt animals too.

Citrus

Your recently adopted cat will hate this too, but lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruit smell terrible to the average spider. The peels work perfectly, so just save them whenever enjoying a healthy piece of fruit. They do need to be replaced every few days as they dry out and lose their potency.

Cedar and Tobacco

With a convenient source of cedar or the money to afford to sprinkle tobacco around the home, these may also repel spiders. Cedar wood will work, so hangars may work in wardrobes. Investing in cedar furniture is only for the serious arachnophobe.

Keeping your home clean

Perhaps the most boring method and the most effective. Spiders love to hide in dark and neglected places, and any leftover food will attract insects that will in turn attract more spiders. Vacuuming or dusting away cobwebs and egg sacs will make spiders less eager to return. Removing plant matter and debris from around your house will also work as a preventative measure as there will be fewer spiders to move inside.

Caulking the gaps

Spiders have to get in somewhere. Sealing up the edges of windows and gaps in doors will make it much more difficult for them to find an entry point. You can also use a fine mesh across any air vents around the house.

Keep in mind, these tips are for homes with the normal influx of autumn spiders. In the event of a serious spider problem or if all else fails, contact an exterminator. False Widows are not aggressive and will not bite without provocation.

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