Eight legs, beady eyes, weird mouth — all of these characteristics (and more) make spiders really creepy for a lot of people. And I do mean a lot of people. In fact, somewhere between 3.5% and 6.1% of the world’s population suffers from arachnophobia, also known as the fear of spiders. That’s a few hundred million people who can’t stand the sight of these creatures rummaging about.
It’s no wonder, then, that there are so many articles out there on spiders walking about your room while you sleep.
Now let’s be clear about one thing: the whole ‘spiders will crawl into your mouth while you sleep’ bit is nothing but a poorly-constructed myth. In fact, there are lots of myths about spiders out there which macro-photographer Thomas Shahan has successfully debunked. And while a spider might not bite you or crawl inside of you in the middle of the night, you might still have a few webs lying around the house. I will provide some helpful advice on how to keep spiders away from your home so you can have your good night’s sleep.
What Makes a Spider Inhabit Your Room?
Spiders (and really, most of the arachnids) tend to live in secluded, tight areas. Though, in all honesty, a spider can live anywhere if it’s not disturbed. But if we’re speaking about your house specifically, they prefer areas that are out of sight. That’s why you’ll find webbing behind bookshelves, under tables and staircases, behind fridges and freezers, in old shoe cabinets, etc.
How Do These Things Even Enter My House?
There are multiple ways that a spider can enter your home. The easiest one is through an open door or window during warm days. They can either crawl like they normally do or they can use something called ‘ballooning.’
A spider might spin a soft patch of silk and not attach it to anything. Once the wind blows, the spider will be carried along with this patch of silk and travel great distances. So, while there aren’t any flying spiders, you might get a spider paratrooper.
But then again, maybe you’re the one who brought the spider into your home, to begin with. For example, if you own plants, chances are that a spider might be caught on one before you get it inside. That usually happens when you buy new plants, especially from a retailer that has an outdoor open stall.
Then there are spiders who attach themselves to old boxes, firewood, and even clothing hung out to dry. But then again, there are various arachnids and insects that seem to love hitching rides on moist trousers. And though you might be careful and remove any spider you see (or accidentally crush it under all the clothes), a few might just sneak in.
Do you buy fruit and vegetables at the farmer’s market? Do you grow them yourself in your backyard or on a farm? If so, then you’re likely to get spiders inside just by picking fruit and not inspecting it.
Finally, there’s the rather obvious point of entry which spiders use to get in, a point of entry that other insects and vermin tend to use. Your home might have a lot of cracks, holes, and gaps where they converge. Alternatively, your windows or doors might not be airtight, especially if they haven’t been replaced in years.
Should I Kill Them?
I’d personally prefer it if you didn’t. Yes, this article will talk about keeping spiders away from your room, but you’ll permit me a brief digression.
As creepy and crawly as spiders appear, they are actually harmless. And yes, I know, there are venomous spiders out there, but your chances of encountering one in your home are incredibly low.
But let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that you do encounter a large spider at your home. The worst thing you want to do is to try and squash it. Spiders are afraid of humans; to them, we’re just another huge part of the background that moves and they try to actively avoid us.
The only time a spider will bite a human is if it feels threatened. For example, if you try to swat it, it’ll bite your hand in the process. The same goes if you accidentally press against it while you sleep, but as I stated earlier, the chances of that happening are almost astronomically low.
So, if you spot a spider, try and remove it from your home without harming it. If you suspect that it’s a venomous spider, call an arachnid specialist. They will know how to remove the spider and, more importantly, how to spot where it might have laid eggs if it’s female.
Should I Keep Them, Then?
Obviously, having dozens of spiders in your house is messy. But despite the title of this article, I’d still suggest keeping at least one or two spiders around.
Spiders are not vermin in the typical sense. They don’t cause any immediate damage to our surroundings, belongings, pets, or ourselves. In addition, they don’t cause any severe diseases unless they’re particularly venomous and they bite you. In short, they don’t see you as something they need to attack or damage.
However, spiders do play a vital role in any ecosystem. Because they prey on small insects such as flies and moths, they can be incredibly useful. For instance, if you live on a farm and don’t have proper insect protection, the presence of a spider will greatly reduce the number of flies buzzing around.
Moreover, a spider in the back of your closet or in the attic is the best defense against moths and other nocturnal butterflies that eat away at fabric or paper. Keeping an especially large spider is also a great defense against hawkmoths.
Now that we got all that out of the way, let’s focus on how to keep spiders out of your house so you can sleep tight.
Different Methods of Keeping the Spiders Away
Keep It Tidy
As I mentioned earlier, spiders tend to sneak into houses through old boxes, wood, fruit and vegetables, plants, and clothes. Therefore, the first thing you want to do is check everything from this list for any ‘wildlife’. For instance, earwigs and mites tend to inhabit grapes, while worms and caterpillars can appear in (or on) apples, pears, and peaches. The same goes for spiders; grapes make excellent space for webbing and the insects that come to feast on the fruit get caught in it.
But it’s not just about the things you bring with you, it’s also about your room, your house, and your home in general. Spiders will always find their way behind stacks of boxes, papers, and really any old clutter out there. So what’s the simplest solution? Just tidy up the place!
Eating from your bed or having dirty sheets also attracts lots of spiders. If you can, wash your sheets as frequently as possible. And if you do prefer eating in your bed, vacuum up the spot where you ate to get rid of all the crumbs.
Finally, there’s the question of cracks and gaps in walls, etc. If possible, do a simple DIY job and fill every gap in. Alternatively, call the right handyperson and have them inspect your house for cracks.
Spiders don’t like citrus fruit. Luckily for you and me, humans tend to adore it. A quick recap of all the citrus fruit that we eat will contain the following produce:
- Limes and key limes
- Mandarins and clementines
- Bergamot oranges
The procedure is simple. First, have yourself a few oranges or lemons, but keep the peels. Next, set the peels around the house strategically. In a matter of days, your house will be spider-free.
Of course, don’t go around cluttering fruit peels, otherwise people will think you’re messy. It’s a good rule of thumb to place them near windows. Better yet, if you have a radiator or a heater, place the peel on top of it during the winter days. The heat will help the fragrance of the peel spread.
But it doesn’t end with citrus fruit. In fact, spiders are known to dislike specific types of plants. And it’s not just limited to arachnids. Mosquitoes, for instance, hate the fragrance of sweet fern, so having some in your room can help repel them.
The question is, which plants work well against spiders? The two most common contenders are lavender and mint. With that in mind, visit any local florist and get a few brushes of mint or a few streaks of lavender. Not only will they repel the spiders, but their scent will greatly benefit your room.
Mass-Produced Natural Repellents
Yes, the title might sound like a weird oxymoron, but these types of repellents do exist. In fact, I would highly recommend using them because they aren’t the same as dangerous chemicals or outright insecticide.
Most of these repellents that you can buy in stores come in the form of essential oils. Some of the products that can repel spiders include:
- Tea tree oil
You can spray these oils around your room regularly and expect quick results. In addition, you can wash your clothes using essential oils as an ingredient so that the spiders won’t make your coat their new home.
Some of these repellents also come in the form of scented candles. Nearly all of the flavors I listed above are available, but I’d also recommend a good cinnamon candle. Since spiders can’t stand the scent of cinnamon, it’s the perfect non-intrusive solution to your problem.
Finally, there’s one more mass-produced repellent that you didn’t even know you had right under your nose — vinegar. To be precise, vinegar is not just a repellent, it’s an effective insecticide. Once you mix it up with water, you can spray the spiders with it and dispatch them on the spot. Of course, vinegar does have a distinct smell, so use as little of it as possible.
I don’t usually recommend this option unless it’s serious. As I said, it’s always better to repel spiders naturally, but if you have an infestation, this option might just be the best solution for you.
Most people tend to use anti-spider sprays such as this one. And to their credit, a lot of these products tend to contain natural materials and have been tested in labs extensively for safety. However, there’s always a danger that the product isn’t as potent (or as safe) as you need it to be. In fact, not only can it fail to drive the spiders away, but it can also negatively affect your own health.
However, there are products out there that focus extensively on safety. Stay Away® Spiders from EarthKind®, for example, contains nothing but all-natural oils. It works in a similar fashion to a bamboo charcoal bag: simply open it and place it next to a spot where spiders appear. Roughly 30 days later, replace the bag with a new one.
The best part about Stay Away is the emphasis on recycling. Once the product has run its course, simply empty the contents into the soil as compost. In fact, if you own any of the plants I mentioned above, they would benefit greatly from Stay Away’s recycled contents, plus they would continue repelling spiders for a while longer.
Electronic Insect and Spider Repellers
If all else fails, you can always try an electronic repeller. Most of them, such as Black X and Drasswood, use ultrasonic and electromagnetic waves to repel bugs, insects, and spiders alike. All you have to do is plug them in and let them do the work. However, some of them do make a bit of noise, so you might have to do a bit of research before buying one.
Switching Off the Lights
Like insects, spiders are attracted to lights. Usually, they would congregate around the light at your front porch or near the front door. An obvious solution is to try and keep the lights switched off as often as possible.
Calling the Exterminator
By far the last option you’ll want to look into is the exterminator. I only advise people to do this if their home is infested with spiders. After all, an exterminator does a thorough job, but they can be expensive, so there’s no need to call them if you have under a dozen spiders or so.
A Few Words at the End
Getting rid of spiders from your room is a form of pest control, even if spiders aren’t necessarily pests. However, if you happen to have other pest-related issues, make sure to check out some of my articles on the subject. I guarantee you’ll find them incredibly informative.