Too many spiders!
August 8, 2008 10:26 AM   Subscribe

I need spider control options, please!

We have a backyard that's almost completely deck. In the middle of the deck is a very large evergreen tree, that predates the house and around which the deck was built. It's a great tree, but it's also, not surprisingly, a haven for bugs and things.

The tree has a ton of spiders and those spiders build webs that come down off it and join up with our table and chairs - and if we get rid of the webs, they're back the next day (I am not surprised by this, I know that's how they work, I'm just stating the facts). it's to the point where my wife refuses to use the deck, even on these beautiful Portland summer nights, because there's too many spiders out there.

I understand that spiders are part of the outdoors, and I know I'll never get rid of them, but I still want to try to thin their ranks as much as possible.

So, my question is, how do I control the spiders? I know this is a very anti-Portland thing to say, but I'm not looking to coexist with the spiders and their webs - I want them gone, as much as possible. I'm also not opposed to using noxious chemicals if necessary - I'd rather not, but if that's what it takes to make our great deck usable by my wife again, that's what I'll do.
posted by pdb to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Holy god, I have the exact same problem in my PDX backyard, front yard and side yard. I wave my arms frantically when approaching my front door because they weave webs between the two plants on either side of the walk.

My solution thus far has been to keep long stick-like objects handy and to clear the path in front of me before I go in my yard/front door. I'm afraid that if I get rid of the spiders, the rest of the bugs they're keeping under control will swarm my apartment and kill me in my sleep.
posted by oreonax at 10:43 AM on August 8, 2008

Liberal use of insecticide should do the trick.
posted by Vindaloo at 10:45 AM on August 8, 2008

Response by poster: We're using sticks too, but that seems so...inefficient.
posted by pdb at 10:46 AM on August 8, 2008

My experience with less-extreme spider situations leads me to suggest the following:

Nuke it from orbit. (It's the only way to be sure)
posted by toomuchpete at 11:18 AM on August 8, 2008

As a native Northwester, I speak from experience - it's high spider season right now. They should start dying soon, even without your help. All we need is a long stretch of really hot weather to kill them off.
posted by fiercekitten at 12:28 PM on August 8, 2008

You have orb weaver spiders and they do build a new web every day. Your best bet may be simply to try and get rid of their egg sacks for next summer/fall. I can often find their egg sacks on the sides of my house in the late spring. I saw one hatch from our frontdoor wreath this spring and it was really amazing and cool and clearly not what you want to have... That is the only advice I can think of that will be of use to you.

Most of the spider minimization techniques involve getting rid of their preferred habitat, which in your case is your tree, deck and any tall vegetation... You might try a methodical removal of webs every morning (they tend to weave them at night/dawn), it's worth a try for the time being.

If you need an upside to living with them, orb weavers do catch an awful lot of mosquitoes.
posted by rosebengal at 1:16 PM on August 8, 2008

So, my question is, how do I control the spiders?

If by chance there's a light that's attracting night-flying insects nearby, you should shut it off and keep it off. Any light in your backyard-- porch light, deck light, security light, whatever. Lights attract all the night-flying insects, and those attract the spiders.
posted by Tehanu at 12:06 PM on August 21, 2008

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