Sunday, October 25th, 2015 by Bill Cowley
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, arachnaphobia is the most common animal phobia, affecting more people than even snakes and bats. The excessive fear of spiders affects over 17 million people and, as you may have guessed, studies have shown that this phobia affects women much more than men. However, even for those of us who don’t have a full-blown spider phobia, most of us have a natural aversion spiders and their sneaky, fast, creepy-crawly behavior. There’s a little Miss Muffet hiding in all of us. No one likes seeing spiders inside our homes. As with many other pests, dropping fall temperatures trigger spiders to leave their outdoor summer homes and look for sheltered habitats to protect them from the harsh outdoor elements. Unfortunately, the warmth and accommodations of our homes make for a very inviting location.
It may be unrealistic to prevent every single spider outside your home from finding their way inside. However, there is much you can do to substantially reduce spiders from crawling their way inside.
Starting with the outside of your home, while temperatures are still cool and spiders are not actively seeking to get inside, taking a look outside your home. You may be inadvertently welcoming spiders to come inside. You can take two important steps to roll up the welcome mat:
1) Clear debris from your home’s perimeter. Spiders like to hide in dark places. They are not aggressive creatures, and they prefer to avoid all of the potential predators that look at them as their next meal. Wood piles, grass clippings, and empty containers are common hiding places that encourage spiders to stay near your home. If you cannot remove these types of spider harborages, at least keep them at the farthest point away from your home. As long as there are active spiders around your perimeter, it is only a matter of time before some of them find their way inside.
2) Avoid outdoor lighting. Outdoor lights may help discourage human prowlers, but they encourage spiders. The lights themselves do not directly attract spiders, but they attract the types of insects upon which spiders feed. When you draw potential food sources to your home, spiders will soon follow. Limit the amount of time outdoor lighting is used, or better yet, use motion-sensitive lighting. Also, direct the lights away from your house and use yellower light. Bright white light is a magnet for bugs.
Once you have taken care of the outside of your home, you can take a couple of steps to make your home less spider-friendly:
1) Seal cracks in your walls. Fall is a great time to check your home for cracks and holes that are large enough for spider, as well as bugs, to use as potential entry points. Seal any cracks or holes with silicone caulk. While you’re at it, for added protection, caulk around your windows, doors, and along the foundation of your home. Sometimes spiders come into your house right through the door just like you. Adding a door sweep to the bottom of your external doors or replacing the current ones if they are worn will block a major entry point.
2) Remove webs. Removing spider webs from around your home discourages the spider that built it from returning. Use a vacuum cleaner with an attachment to reach webs near the ceiling. However, if you don’t have an extender, sweeping up the webs with a simple broom also works. Spiders are reclusive creatures. They prefer undisturbed areas. You will go a long way making your home inhospitable by regularly dusting and vacuuming, especially those areas not regularly visited by you, a family member, or a pet. Also eliminate potential spider harborages like clutter in dark corners. Rooms that are open and exposed with activity going on, are not welcoming to spiders. They avoid staying out in the open, and they definitely don’t want to be around you or your pets.
Following these suggestions will go a long way toward keeping spiders out of your home, and reducing the frequency of ear-piercing shrieks from your kids and significant other (males not excluded). However, if you find yourself dealing with more than the haphazard spider inside your Avenel, NJ, home, or nearby, a pest control professional can apply periodic preventative treatments around the perimeter of your home that will effectively repel spiders from your home.