When we moved South, we entered a buggy world. Our first summer, our poor old dog got fleas. That’s the first I’ve ever had to deal with that mess. Then we learned about termites. Apparently, all real estate down here must be treated every seven years with a moat of termite killer. Then I found out about chiggers. I’ve seen mothers freaking out about their children laying in the grass, and I don’t blame them. After a chigger experience, I would do the same. The worst is when I found out poisonous spiders, ones that like to live indoors, reside locally. Eeeek.
Dear Husband and I found some easy, natural, and effective ways to kill spiders. Listen, I’m not against nature and insects are very interesting outdoors. However, bad spiders do scare me and I’m sorry if any other bugs get caught in the crossfire.
1. Diatomaceous Earth: This is ground up fossilized shell powder that slices open any insect’s exoskeleton. When they walk across it, and get cut, they die via dehydration. It’s edible by humans, encouraged for worming in animals and recommended for dusting in chicken coops too. Speaking of dust, It is very dusty when you spread it. Before you buy this, please read online about precautions. We dusted our attic and our crawl space. I also dust corners of the garage, under the fridge and closets.
2. Sticky Traps: When the creepy crawlies crawl along the baseboard at night, we’ve got sticky traps ready to concrete them in their path. I try to replace the trap when it’s too dusty (for fear a spider might glide across the dust). They can also be called “insect monitoring boards.”
3. Chickens (and wild birds too): Free-ranging our chickens absolutely reduced our tick “issues” last year. They wander around the house, dig up loose topsoil and peck away. Local pest control told me when bug populations get reduced, spiders have less food. When spiders have less food, they go elsewhere looking for some. Of course, pest control wanted to spray for spiders, but I used this knowledge to convince Dear Husband to go for the chickens instead.
If you aren’t interested in domesticated birds, attract wild ones. We put out wool pinecones for birds to add into their nests this year for the first time. Our pond makes a great watering hole for many birds, but my parents do just as well with their maintained bird bath. A little bird feed will bring wild bird friends too.
4. Vacuum: I’m more vigilant about vacuuming the corners and eaves in the warmer weather, outdoors on the back and front porches too. Again, as the local pest control told me, less food = less spiders. When those spider webs go away, so does spider food.
I get it, shorter winters means insects that overwinter. I just don’t want things to get out of hand, and so I’m taking the natural spider killer job seriously. These are easy things I can do to keep those buggers at bay.