Spiders are everywhere. A recent study found that on average each square meter on our planet contains approximately 130 spiders. Which means if you’re reading this in a cubicle or kitchen nook roughly the size of a mattress, you’re being watched by about 1,040 beady spider eyes right now!
Their vast numbers are shocking, but nothing compares to spiders’ appetites. Research has found that spiders consume upwards of 880 million tons of prey each year; by comparison all 7 billion humans on earth consume just 400 million tons of meat and fish combined. In fact, the amount of meat spiders consume each year outweighs the total biomass of all humans on our planet—in other words, spiders could, theoretically, consume every human on earth in just one year.
The numbers are shocking, but in truth, spiders are all but harmless to humans. Without question, our lives would be overrun with insects were it not for the spider, nature’s ruthlessly efficient exterminator. It’s for this reason that spiders are considered beneficial. And unless you’re absolutely terrified by them—or commonly seeing venomous individuals like black widows or brown recluses—we encourage you to leave them at their work. If you fall into the above category, though, we’ve got you covered. Here are 9 ways to get rid of spiders without harsh chemicals.
Clutter and disorganization are a spider’s best friend, giving them ample space to hide and hunt. Consistently vacuuming, dusting, wiping down countertops, and de-cluttering your house will deter both spiders and their insect prey.
When organizing your home, use sealable plastic containers instead of items like cardboard boxes, which do not adequately seal, providing spiders with yet another place to set up camp.
Brush, stacked wood, unused flower pots, gardening equipment—spiders will make a home out of any outdoor clutter. Unkempt shrubbery, trees, and overgrown gardens also make ideal homes. Removing unnecessary clutter and keeping the lawn trim will reduce your spider population.
Even the smallest openings are a welcome mat to spiders. Windows, baseboards, doorways, light-switches, outlets, fixtures, wall & foundation cracks, chimneys, vents—all are potential spider entrances. Seal your home by remedying these openings using caulk (don’t forget to check basements and attics, too).
The same process should be repeated outdoors as well, paying close attention to the roof and any cracks or holes in the foundation. Screens or seals should be used to ensure windows, vents, chimneys, and doorways always remain firmly shut.
Traditional outdoor lights are irresistible to most insects, which makes them a dinner bell for spiders. Switching off these lights at night can do wonders for reducing spider populations. Indoor lights whose glow reaches outside are also a liability.
For the former, consider trading your bulbs for yellow sodium vapor lights (which do not attract insects). For the latter, plan on installing additional window dressing to limit indoor lights from bleeding outdoors.
The most effective method for deterring spiders is to remove their food source—this entails adopting a general insect control regimen, both inside and outside your home.
For outside: Using a non-toxic, plant-safe pesticide, thoroughly spray your entire yard, including all shrubbery, bases of trees, and anywhere else you think insects and spiders might be hiding. Repeat this process monthly—or more as needed—until you no longer see spider activity.
For indoors: Using a non-toxic pesticide/repellent, treat doorways, windowsills, baseboards and other suspected spider entry points. Continue treating these areas weekly until your spider problems are resolved.
Spiders can’t stand vinegar—in fact, a direct spray is often fatal. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water to make a safe, all natural spider repellent. Using a spray bottle, apply this solution to doorways, window sills, known spider hangouts, and other possible entry points once a week until your spider problem improves.
Spiders actively avoid the strong smell of peppermint, making it an effective solution for spider control. 5-10 drops of peppermint oil in 16 ounces of water will make a handy spider repellent you can use throughout the home. As with the aforementioned vinegar, spray this solution in and around possible entry points and spider problem areas.
Citrus oils and peels are a highly effective method for repelling spiders. With a lemon oil spray or actual citrus fruit peels, you can deter spiders from entering your home. Place fresh peels skin-side-down along window sills and other spider problem areas, such as bookshelves, cabinetry and shelving. (Tip: citrus peels can also be used in your garden to limit spider activity).
For spider control, this chalky natural pesticide does double duty—killing and repelling not only spiders, but also spider-attracting insects. DE is highly abrasive, containing nearly microscopic edges which injure bugs that come in contact with it. Placing DE along spider problem areas and potential entry points will keep spiders at a distance.
Healthier, fresher, more eco-friendly—organic produce has become popular for a reason. The growing fear of toxic pesticides—which have been linked to cancer, behavioral disorders, and birth & developmental effects—is a factor, too, making more people question how their food is grown and where it comes from. Because washing/rinsing only reduces but does not eliminate pesticide residue from produce, it’s time to seriously consider going organic.
By U.S. regulations, “organic” produce must be grown without synthetic pesticides (natural pesticides are OK!), chemical-based fertilizers, artificial preservatives, and without GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). The resulting produce is of a much higher quality, but it’s often much more expensive. But don’t let that prevent you from choosing safer, more nutritional food for you and your family. In truth, You don’t have to go entirely organic to reap the benefits of organic produce. Just as some produce should always be purchased organic due to its high toxicity, some conventionally-grown produce can still be eaten without fear of pesticides or other ill effects. Here’s 12 items you should always buy organic (and 15 you really don’t have to).
(Don’t forget: Organic or not, you should always thoroughly wash & rinse all produce!)
The Envrionmental Working Group (EWG) evaluates pesticide usage and its efects on produce each year. For their latest findings, visit their website.
Always Buy These Organic:
The Environmental Working Group’s latest findings indicate that Strawberries are the absolute worst fruit or vegetable in terms of pesticide toxicity. The EWG’s stats show that on average over 300 lbs. of pesticides are used on each acre of non-organic strawberry fields. To make matters worse, strawberries are the most difficult fruit or veggie to adequately rinse, since all those little pits double as pesticide-trapping reservoirs.
Spinach is a highly nutritional alternative to lettuce or cabbage. However, unless you’re buying organic, spinach can also be harmful to your health. The EWG ranks this vegetable as the second most pesticide-covered fruit or veggie for 2017. Furthermore, according to the EWG, Spinach has on average twice as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.
They might be a sweet, tart and refreshing summer snack, but non-organic Nectarines contain several of the most dangerous pesticides in the world. Nectarines are #3 on the EWG’s most pesticide-ridden produce list for 2017.
Apples are the fourth most pesticide-contaminated fruit or vegetable in 2017 according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that monitors pesticide usage in the U.S. The average non-organic apple contains up to 48 different pesticides. According to information collected from the USDA, even after thorough washing, 98% of all apples still contain at least one toxic pesticide.
Peaches clock in at #5 on the EWG’s most pesticide-laden fruit and veggies list. Like strawberries, apples and spinach, 98% of all peaches—even after washing—contain at least 1 harmful pesticide.
On average, non-organically grown pears contain at least 40 known pesticides—8 are probable carcinogens, 7 are neurotoxins, 11 are suspected hormone disruptors, and 5 are thought to cause reproductive or developmental complications in women and children.
Even after washing, nearly 100% of all cherries contain detectable levels of toxic pesticides. Of all the food you should buy organic, this is right near the top of the list.
On average, a batch of grapes contains upwards of 60 different pesticides. From known carcinogens to neurotoxins and hormone disruptors, non-organic grapes are littered with frightening chemicals.
Celery is something of a gateway vegetable, with many parents introducing their children to vegetables by slathering these fibrous green stalks with ranch dressing and other dips. But if you plan to feed these to your children, you better buy organic—celery contains at least 64 different pesticides!
Starting in 2017, cherry tomatoes are no longer considered a risky pesticide crop. However, your standard tomato still ranks as one of the worst. With over 35 pesticides on your average tomato, you should definitely go organic when shopping for these fruits/vegetables.
Sweet Bell Peppers
Sweet bell peppers are quickly becoming one of America’s favorite snacks. Sadly, they also rank as of the most pesticide-riddled vegetables available. Sweet Bell Peppers come in at #11 on the EWG’s most pesticide-contaminated fruits and veggies rankings.
Non-organic sweet potatoes remain a relatively safe choice as far as pesticides go. The same, however, cannot be said of its starchier cousin, which is known to commonly carry upwards of 35 different pesticides!
Fruits & Vegetables You Don’t Have To Buy Organic
Due to their low pesticide toxicity and lack of GMOs & preservatives, the following fruits and vegetables do not need to be purchased organic:
- Sweet Corn
- Frozen Sweet Peas
- Honey Dew Melon
Growing Your Own Produce?
To keep your family, pets and the soil safe & healthy, be sure to choose eco-friendly, all natural pesticides for your lawn & garden.