Spiders can be scary little things. To a lot of people, the mere sight of them is enough to send chills down the spine. While most species of spiders are not harmful to humans, there are certain spiders whose bites can be fatal. Which explains why some people prefer to get rid of any spiders in their apartment to ensure their peace of mind.
Spiders are eight-legged arthropods that differ from insects in that they have fangs and spin silk-like webs to catch their prey. They are attracted to the household for food, mating, or to seek shelter. Some spiders may be advantageous in the apartment as they prey on insects that are viewed as pests.
While most spiders prefer to flee from humans, seeing one may indicate the presence of many others. This article, therefore, seeks to explain how to prevent an infestation from occurring in the first place. Of course, doing this requires some understanding of the spider’s lifecycle as well as habitat characteristics.
What attracts spiders into the apartment?
Some spiders, especially males, will make their way into the apartment to look for females to mate with. This usually happens from late summer to early autumn. This is the spider mating season. Females then lay the fertilized eggs in sacs that may contain upwards of a hundred eggs.
The eggs typically hatch in warm and wet weather, mostly in spring. The spiders then go through 4 to 12 molting stages before becoming adults. This process takes roughly a year.
Secondly, spiders may also come into the apartment to seek shelter. They may do so if the outside conditions are no longer favorable. As they are attracted to dark secluded areas, most spiders will likely be found in the attic or other dark spaces within the apartment. If that’s not present, spiders may be spotted in high ceiling corners or wherever there is clutter in the apartment.
All spiders are predators. Their main prey is insects which may be found within the apartment. As a result, if your apartment is infested with insects, most likely this will attract spiders. The web they spin is used to catch these insects.
Most important to note is that there are very different species each with distinct characteristics. This then determines their various habitats. Some species do build webs to capture their prey while others live in burrows. Some species are attracted to moist and damp conditions while others prefer dry and darkened places.
Getting rid of spiders in the apartment
1. Closing all the loopholes
Spiders have a malleable body meaning they can squeeze and fit through holes and cracks. This is the main way by which they get into the apartment in the first place. Other than this, spiders can get in through objects carried into the apartment from outside.
The most common way therefore to ensure that they do not invade our living space is through sealing of cracks and gaps on the wall, pipe works, or under the door where possible. Also, check to ensure doors leading outside do create a tight seal when closed. For windows and vents, it is recommended you use a screen.
Another way of ensuring spiders do not invade the apartment is through key observation of objects you carry into the house. This is because spiders do hitch a ride on items that have been left outdoors for a while.
Once all the loopholes have been sealed, you can get rid of the spiders that have already invaded the apartment. The first step involves vacuuming the entire apartment while paying attention to areas that may be conducive for the spiders to settle. These are mainly the hard to reach and darkened areas of the apartment.
2. Vacuuming and cleaning
Vacuuming not only kills the spiders due to the trauma caused on their soft bodies but also removes the webs and egg sacs. In areas where it is hard to reach such as high ceilings, do use a broom to sweep off the webs. While doing this, make sure to put on protective clothing to avoid a nasty bite from the falling creatures.
Another step in ridding yourself off spiders involves a general cleaning of the apartment. This involves de-cluttering the apartment. Remove all forms of clutter from the apartment as this may be used as hiding and breeding grounds. Wipe clean the surfaces underneath furniture and closets.
Depending on the frequency of their hunt, many spiders build their webs afresh every day. Some do this by eating and recycling their old webs. Therefore to get rid of the spiders, the regular process of removal of the webs should be done. Special attention should be paid to corners of the ceiling, picture frames, and even mirrors.
3. Choking their food supply
While spiders are not attracted to human food, their favorite prey on the other hand feeds on it. Insect infestation occurs in the apartment as a result of organic foods and waste being readily available.
Spiders then get into the apartment because they have a constant food supply source. To rid yourself of them, you also need to choke their food supplies. This requires that you get rid of insects and other pests in your apartments. The simplest way to do this requires an upgrade in your sanitary measures around the house. This involves not only cleaning but good food storage techniques.
Make sure to clean the apartment while clearing out the garbage and other sources of food for the insects. If the insect infestation is extreme, you can use insecticides. However, ensure the product you pick is environmentally friendly. There are other natural ways of killing and repelling insects such as the use of plants with fragrances that repel the insects.
Once the insect problem is brought under control, spiders will tend to naturally move on in search of other food sources.
4. Limiting bright lights inside the apartment
While most insects tend to stay away from bright lights, those that attract spiders to your home do love bright lights. This occurs especially at night and on outdoor light. The light and heat from the bulbs act as a hypnotic mixture for most insects.
While it is essential to have good lighting around, the placement of such lighting fixtures is pertinent to controlling the insect problem. If placed close to the doors, soon enough spiders will also set up shop as they try to hunt the insects. To limit this, you should reconsider how you light up the apartment.
First of all, you should place the lighting fixtures away from doors and windows if necessary. Secondly, you can use certain types of lighting with sodium vapor lights or yellow lights. This tends to be less attractive to bugs and insects. If there is no need for the lights, you can shut them off. This will not only keep the bugs away but also lower your electric bill.
Natural remedies to keep the spider away
Apart from the above measures, there are also ways to keep the spiders away without harming them or yourself in the process. This includes;
1. Essential oils
Both bugs and insects do not like strong scents. It happens then that strong scents released by these essential oils act as natural spider repellant. An example of this is peppermint oil. To create this mixture, add 15 to 20 drops of the oil to a spray bottle containing water. Mix the solution thoroughly and spray in areas that may be infested.
Other than repelling the spiders, essential oils will also repel insects that attract the spiders. The essential oils will also leave your apartment smelling nice and is known to have therapeutic properties. If peppermint oil is unavailable, you can use cinnamon or even lavender oil.
For the remedy to remain effective, ensure you change the oil regularly. The added advantage to these essential oils is that other than the insect and vermin repellant qualities, they also are multipurpose.
Vinegar’s odor and sour taste is a repellant not only for spiders but insects as well. To create this concoction, you need to mix an equivalent mixture of vinegar in water and spray the areas most affected by the spider infestation.
Unfortunately, vinegar’s smell may be off-putting to humans too. To quell it, you can soak three to four orange peels in a cup of vinegar and let it soak overnight. This will help with the scent released to give it a more natural smelling scent.
3. Citrus fruits as spider repellants
Interestingly, other than for vitamin c essential to our bodies, citrus fruits can act as spider and insect repellants. Spiders hate citrus fruits and can’t stand the smell. A common citrus fruit available in the apartment could be either lemons or oranges.
To create this repellant, squeeze a whole lemon and mix it with a half cup of water. Put the solution in a spray bottle and spray the apartment concentrating on the likely places the arachnids might be hiding. An added advantage to this remedy is that your apartment will retain a fruity scent.
This is another known scent that spiders are known to detest. Luckily, cedar comes in different forms such as woodchips, blocks, or even balls. Oil and wood from this plant are used to make an array of different products including spider repellants.
It may impractical to get the whole cedar plant into the house but the many products available may work just for you. You can procure the cedar wood whose natural scent will act as a repellant. Now and then you need to sand it down to refresh the scent and keep the spiders away.
Despite its well-known though myth, garlic not only keeps the vampires away but also spiders. Spiders do not like the pungent smell emanating from this bulb either. However, putting garlic on display is not enough to deter the spiders. A carefully formulated solution is needed.
To do this, it will depend on how much of the scent you can withstand. Either immerse the whole clove or crush a part of it in water. Having done that, put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray suspected infested areas.
6. Cats as natural prey
Felines are known to be a spider’s foe. Therefore keeping them as pets would help to control their infestation within the apartment. These little predators are harmless to us but a nightmare to all types of vermin within the apartment.
The most advantageous bit about this is that the cats not only provide a needed source of companionship but also eat the spiders which are harmless to them.
Protecting the apartment’s exterior
Most spiders are outdoor spiders but now and then they tend to invade the inside of our apartments. Apart from spiders crawling into the apartment, they also hitch a ride on items left outside. Some spiders have been known to come from the grocery store.
Therefore to rid yourself of these vermin, you need to ensure your outdoors is catered for as well. This may eventually require a proactive approach. The first step requires you to clear any clutter in the common areas where spiders may find refuge to procreate and hide in. As well as clearing leaves and bushes, the lawn should be mowed meticulously.
You can also care for the environment by using plants that are a natural repellant for the spider. This may include among others a eucalyptus tree.
If all else fails, this can be your final solution. The insecticides not only kill the spiders but insects as well. However, these insecticides may be harmful to you if you have a respiratory problem. Therefore, ensure you leave the apartment once you spray.
While spraying, concentrate on the corners, ceilings, and other dark areas in your apartment that spiders may hide in. If aerosol sprays pose a problem to you, you can procure insecticide dust. This can then be sprinkled in areas where spiders may be found.
While most spiders are harmless, it is still quite understandable to want to rid your home from them. If you have an infestation on your hands, these tips will show you what you need to do to. If the infestation persists, it may be time to call a professional exterminator.