Desperately Seeking Spider Repellent - Must Love Plants
May 17, 2014 11:12 PM   Subscribe

My apartment has a beautiful walkway lined with flowers and overhanging tree branches. This is great except that spiders LOVE it here and I do not love spiders at all. I'm looking for a spider repellent that can be sprayed on the plants along the walkway so I don't have to walk through webs every morning and evening. The hitch is that the aforementioned flowers belong to my landlord, who I respect very much and who loves his plants, so the repellent can't have negative effects on them.

We've tried Spider Bully.

Killed the spiders quickly.
Appears to have mostly repelled spiders from setting up camp along my doorway over the last couple weeks.

We used the entire $10 8oz bottle in one sitting (to kill two recently hatched nests and half a dozen adults).
Some spiders have returned to the doorway, so I'm not sure how well it actually worked as a repellent.
Not sure how the ingredients affect plants, as I know nothing about plants.

DIY solutions or available online is great. The "greener" the better.
posted by possumbrie to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I really don't think there's anything you can do to prevent the spiders from hanging out in the trees, short of removing the trees, or coating them with insecticides constantly. Where I live, in Land of Spiders*, if I have to pass between or past trees or bushes, I try to sweep in front of me with a stick or just my hand to brush any webs out of my way. Can you keep a designated web removing stick to hand, and just clear your way so the webs don't bother you? I once opened my back door and walked into a web line slung between the edge of the door and the bush beside it, that was so strong I went almost two metres before it snapped!

posted by Kaleidoscope at 1:49 AM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've seen a product based on horse chestnuts available, but I'd no idea how effective it is.
posted by Solomon at 1:59 AM on May 18, 2014

To second Kaleidoscope: spiders gonna spider. It's the time of year when lots of spiderlings are hatching and establishing new territory. If you kill them all, your landlord's plants are going to get hammered by all the pests the spiders are currently gorging on — after all, spiders don't happen if there isn't the food for them. If I have a web built in a troublesome place (like one across a path), I'll move it to a less annoying place with a garden fork or (arachnophobes, look away now!) my hands.
posted by scruss at 4:01 AM on May 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

The guy lines for spider webs - the ones which hold the central web in place, attached to walls or trees - are not sticky. You can grab them and move the web out of your way.

You can discourage spiders from your doorway with regular sweeps of the overhang and walls but I agree with others, I can't think of how you will discourage the spiders without making a drastic change to the environment.
posted by amanda at 6:01 AM on May 18, 2014

According to my pest control guy, the only pesticide that kills spiders is the one that hits them directly. So there is no preventative spray. Only thing to do is knock down the webs when they appear.
posted by cecic at 11:59 AM on May 18, 2014

Seconding scruss's answer: if you kill the spiders, the pests they are eating will most likely harm the trees. My advice would be to leave them alone, and if they really bother you, consider a little DIY desensitization therapy via videos of spiders and other arthropods. (David Attenborough's Life in the Undergrowth is marvelous.)
posted by brianogilvie at 2:19 PM on May 18, 2014

Response by poster: Hmm... This is not turning out as I'd hoped, but given how hard finding a repellent has been, I should have expected this.
How about another angle: the catalyst for asking this question is a party I'm hosting next week. I'd really like my friends to not have to deal with the spiders throughout the night. Can anyone suggest a deterrent that would keep them from hanging around at least for the night? I've considered a bright light and/or citronella candles. Maybe the noise would even be enough?
Thanks for the tips so far!
posted by possumbrie at 1:16 AM on May 19, 2014

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