Archnid Attack!Help me rid my house of them without chemicals.
July 15, 2007 7:52 AM   Subscribe

My wife, new baby and I just moved into a house that we love. The one problem is that it has spiders of every type, everywhere, indoors and outdoors. We even have these small spider webs all over our lawn. With the new baby, I am hesitant to go ape with the chemicals. We vaccum regularly, including ceiling corners, closets etc. and have moved vegitation back from the house a bit, though there is a ton of flowers and ornamentals. Any ideas for dealing with the critters without dousing the place in insecticide?
posted by pazoozoo to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, using a broad-spectrum pesticide on the lawn won't really hurt anything relating to the baby. Just get some diazinon and go to town. You shouldn't have to do anything except water it into the ground.

Alternately, do what I did -- I got a dog that loves attacking and eating spiders. All I have to do is point one out to her, she'll sit and stare at one until it comes down low enough for her to jump and catch on the wall...
posted by SpecialK at 8:29 AM on July 15, 2007

Pyrethrum Powder is made from dried and ground-up flowers. It is also a contact nerve poison - it stuns spiders, paralyzes their nervous system and kills on direct contact. The powder itself is only effective for about a day, so no worries about lingering poison.

Some people, however, are allergic to it, so I would use it in a small area before going wild with it all over the house.

Read the label carefully, because sometimes pyrethrum is combined with more dangerous pesticides.

Also, minimize spider hiding places - don't store firewood near your house, for example. Dust off plants before you bring them inside. Make sure your windows and doors are well-caulked.
posted by Ostara at 9:02 AM on July 15, 2007

We've got a similar infestation in and around my apartment - and when I purged the spider population, we found out the hard way that they were there for a reason. Once there weren't any spider webs over our windows, dozens of little bugs started slipping into the apartment.

So, we've amended our approach thusly - the spiders that come inside are summarily executed. the spiders outside are largely left alone, though we do scrape out any eggsacs they leave above our doors and windows. We appreciate their contribution as bouncers and gate guards, but I still don't want a couple hundred of their children coming inside.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:14 AM on July 15, 2007 [2 favorites]

i had same problem in a coach house i rented. once i started killing the spiders, i immediately had a big moth and fly problem. concentrate on stopping the food source before going after the spiders.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 9:35 AM on July 15, 2007

Harmless spiders are a joy to share your home with because they eat the other, much more annoying insects. That doesn't mean that I want my house looking like something out of a Scooby-Doo episode, with giant webs blocking the hallway, but I don't go out of my way to eradicate every spider in here.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:36 AM on July 15, 2007

Maybe a bird feeder or bird bath would attract birds that also eat bugs and spiders.
posted by Eringatang at 9:37 AM on July 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

I found the more healthy I was able to keep the lawn, the more the spiders stayed away. They are there because they are eating something else. I found the wolf spiders loved the new sod and anyplace moist where they can hide. I found even in a new house areas where utilities or vents come in to the house are often not sealed letting moist air and bugs in. I also took the rain drainage away from the house via buried pvc to a the retention pond. At least get it away from the house as far as possible.
posted by arh07 at 10:22 AM on July 15, 2007">Richard Fagerlund says, "All insects and spiders can easily be killed with a mixture of water (40%), alcohol (40%) and dish soap (20%)." Look through his website; he's very anti-pesticide.
posted by Daddio at 10:37 AM on July 15, 2007

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posted by Daddio at 10:38 AM on July 15, 2007

A friend of mine swears that raw chestnuts keep spiders away--spiders are repelled by something the chestnuts give off, I guess. Maybe put a couple around significant corners of your house?
posted by elisynn at 11:34 AM on July 15, 2007

I'm with EtW, lester, Optimus, etc. — the spiders are there because they're eating something that's probably even less welcome than they are. Eliminate their food source and the spiders will finish cleaning up and then leave for better pastures. Meanwhile, they're doing you a service.

My reaction might change if some of them are poisonous to humans (especially with a baby in the house).
posted by hattifattener at 12:16 PM on July 15, 2007

"There was an old lady who swallowed a fly...."
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 10:09 PM on July 15, 2007

Especially Eringatang's comment.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 10:09 PM on July 15, 2007

Hopefully you don't have this problem.
posted by polyglot at 2:49 AM on July 16, 2007

Do you have a cat? Or want a cat? This may not be a possibility with the baby, but my cat sure loves to hunt spiders and other bugs! When I moved into my apartment 2 months ago, I'd see a creepy-crawly about every week or so, but he seems to keep that population under control at this point.

You might also try this if a new feline friend isn't an option.
posted by at 6:26 AM on July 16, 2007

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