You wanna know #WHATBUGSME? Spiders. Let’s talk about how to keep the itsy-bitsy out of the house.
There are 3000+ spider species in the United States but only 2 of concern here in East Tennessee. The Brown Recluse, and the Black Widow. The Black widows never come inside, or atleast I have never seen it or heard of it. The Brown recluse is called the recluse for a reason It’s not very common. On top of that spiders get blamed for bites way more than them actually biting people. In fact, doctors often misdiagnose MRSA as Brown Recluse bites.
Spiders are not insects, they are arachnids with 2 body parts a Cephalothorax (head) and an abdomen. 6-8 eyes, no antennae, but the most obvious means of identification is the 8 legs. However that is not 100% because of the Opiliones (Granddaddy Long Legs) and the Tick, 8 legs but not spiders. Spiders are nocturnal predators and that will be important as we talk about how to keep them away. To eat, they inject fluid into their victims liquifying their insides then they suck out all the buggy juice. If you see a bunch of bug shells, look around and chances are you will find a web with a fat spider.
So what can you do to keep them away? Lets start with the house, if your home is holier than swiss cheese, then they will come visit you. Make sure your doors and windows seal shut so you can’t see light around them. Ensure widows, dryer vents, ridge vents, and chimney caps, are screened so air can go through but Spiders can’t get in. Whether you have a real fire place or a fake one, they all vent gas and smoke out of the house. Even if you have a ventless system, you still have gas lines and electrical lines running through holes in the walls that allow spiders in. Seal it up. As for the real fireplaces, if you don’t use them regularly, spiders, wasps, birds and other wildlife can set up shop in the chimney, especially if you don’t have it capped and or screened. To prevent this get a starter log once in a while and burn that. That will get some smoke and heat going up the chimney and encourage them to move to greener pastures. Remember, just closing the flue, iron on iron, isn’t sealed when it comes to bugs. When you install screen on these opening, make sure it is a tight screen. If the holes are too big then they will crawl right through and you have wasted your time.
Security lights around the home are an attractant to all kinds of bugs. Especially flying insects like moths, flies, gnats, and mosquitos. This makes it the perfect spot for a spider to build a web. The whole point of the web is to catch food. If you attract all the food to an area, what eats that food will show up next. This can also happen from the interior lights coming through the windows. Installing blinds can reduce the amount of insects attracted to the light. For the exterior lights, you can use lower wattage bulbs or colored bulbs to reduce activity. Even better is moving the light location out in the yard attracting the pests out there and drawing them away from the house.
No matter what you do, there will be webs. To remove them, you can use a webster head. Looks like a koosh ball on a stick. I guess I’m showing my age now. A vacuum works wonders removing webs as well. Often times when we go to a house the webs have never been removed so it looks like a haunted house attraction. Some of those webs are active with spiders in them but most are old webs that accumulate over time and make the problem look worse than it actually is. Remove them and see how much returns and how fast. That will give you a better idea of the level of spiders you have. If it still looks good in a week, then it’s probably not that bad but if you are back to haunted house levels of spiders, you need help. Give us a call.
If your dream home is on the water, I hate to tell you but you will always have a higher amount of spider activity than the land-lovers. One reason here is actually the wind. As the wind flows over the water (which attracts everything) it gathers insects depositing them on the house. And just like the lights, where the food is, so will the spiders be. To complicate things, many houses on the water use rustic building materials that bugs and spiders love. These materials and methods also provide more holes and cracks than normal. Then, to kick you while you are down, if the house is too close to the water, there are some methods and materials we legally cannot use in order to keep you and the fish safe. The bottom line here is if you picture your dream home on the water, be prepared to have a plethora of spiders requiring more maintenance than normal to keep it up to the Better Homes & Gardens standards.
Landscaping has a huge impact on your spider population too. People here in East Tennessee go crazy over landscaping trying to keep up with the Jones’. If you have trees and bushes overhanging, touching the house, or blocking the sun from ever seeing the foundation, your pest population will increase. Houses, walls, foundations, and mulch need to dry out. If they are perpetually wet, the list of problems that causes goes well beyond just spiders. If the trees are touching the roof or gutters or even just overhanging them, they will damage your roof, clog your gutters, and many other problems. Landscape installers tend to plant trees and bushes where they look good then with no regard for when they grow and choke out the house. Everyone says they will keep them cut back but no one ever does. Keeping the grass cut helps too. Any excess of anything brings problems. Ornamental landscaping is fine but you have to be smart about it. Use rock, lava rock, pea gravel, or crushed brick at the foundation before you plant or mulch anything. You don’t want anything that has ever lived within 1-2 ft of the house. Foundation to roof. Pests need the same things we do to survive, food, water, and shelter. If you provide these for them then they will come visit. Stop attracting them to your house.
Lastly, if you have things stored or piled up around the house then the insects and spiders will use these to hide in. Piles of things also gather water making it even more attractive to the pests. You will never be 100% rid of bugs but you can make a big impact if you do the things in this article. Seal it, Dry it, and Clean it. Remember those 3 things and your life can get a little less buggy. You wanna know #whatbugsme? SPIDERS! We are the ones attracting them to our houses. But I love to kill ‘em.
- Seal it
- Dry it
- Clean it