**Warning: This post contains spider pictures below**
Despite a more than pleasant start to September with some welcome late summer sun, there’s one part of this month that millions of us could do without - the start of spider season.
It's true, around half of the British public are at least a little scared of spiders according to a YouGov survey with 18% admitting to being very scared - a condition often described as Arachnophobia.
Why do spiders come into our homes?
Spiders move into the warmth of homes in September for mating season. While female spiders sit patiently on webs in window sills and the like, it’s the males we see out of the corner of our eye flurrying across the bedroom floor looking for mates.
It’s thought the UK and Ireland have around 600 species of spider. Just 12 of these species are known to inflict a non-poisonous but at times painful bite to humans. House spiders are generally harmless.
To help, we've pulled together some easy and affordable ways to deter spiders from your home this autumn.
Using peppermint oil is one of the most effective ways to deter spiders. These creepy crawlies really do not like the minty, fresh scent given off by this type of oil.
Add 15-20 drops to a spray bottle and fill it up with water. Spray this around door frames and window sills especially across the bottom where spiders are most likely to enter and crawl past. You can buy these oils in your local supermarket or online from sites like Amazon for as little as £2.50. A little goes a long way so one 10ml bottle will almost certainly last till the end of the year.
Other oils that are useful in deterring spiders include those in the citrus family like orange, lemon, lime and citronella. These are typically more expensive to buy so it’s worth mixing one part lemon juice to two parts warm water in a spray bottle for a similar effect.
Another oil that has a great effect at deterring spiders is tea tree oil. Many households will already have this in a drawer thanks to its amazing antibacterial, antifungal, anti-oxidant and cleaning properties! While the scent is most definitely a love/hate scenario, spiders will avoid its strong smell so placing a few drops on a cloth and wiping it around windows and doors will help - if you don’t mind the scent yourself!
If you are really trying not to spend, then you can always dig out your hand sanitiser from your bag and mix about a two-pence piece size amount with water in a spray bottle.
Spray this around door frames and window sills. Spiders do not like the alcohol in the gel which gives it that clinical scent.
Conkers in corners
Often thought of as an old wives tale but placing conkers in corners and on windowsills has traditionally been done across Britain for decades as a way to keep these creepy crawlies at bay.
Conkers are said to contain a noxious chemical which acts as a deterrent to spiders. It’s thought that if a spider gets close to one, they will curl up and die quite quickly. Although it’s never been scientifically proven, placing them in the likely areas of a home where spiders may enter such as by your front door and in the corner of your hallway and bathrooms is a great place to start.
Next time you take the dog for a walk or head out for a relaxing stroll, bring along a bag and start collecting conkers from the ground below horse chestnut trees. You’ll need to remove the nut from the prickly shell and use that lovely smooth, chestnut brown part as the deterrent.
White wine vinegar is well-known for being a handy substance to use around the home. With its acidic properties working wonders to clean and degrease especially when mixed with other household products like baking soda.
It is also a pretty good deterrent when it comes to creepy crawlies like spiders too. If you fill a spray bottle up to around a quarter to half way full with white wine vinegar and top it up with water this can be sprayed around door frames, window sills, corners and even on your bath or sink ceramic and drain.
Nothing worse than the fright of a spider in the bath when you visit the bathroom first thing in the morning!
Another essence that spiders hate is the spicy scent of cinnamon but thankfully one us humans all love to smell as we move into the later months of the year.
This joyful, festive scent can be found in candles, fragrance diffusers and wax melts to bring the season to life around the home, but for spiders we recommend using drops of cinnamon oil in water and spraying this around doors, walls and windows. You can also add cinnamon sticks to just enough water to cover them and let them sit overnight for the oils to come out and use this.
If you still find that spiders make it into your home and you’re worried how to catch them safely without harming or having to touch them, you can invest in a spider catcher that can do the job at arm's length. These are a quick and easy solution and won’t cause any harm or mess.
Other bugs to look out for at the moment: Mosquitos
It seems the damp, humid summer and late summer sunshine has led to many more mosquitos than usual making an appearance in our homes over the summer and taking longer for them to disappear as we move into autumn.
In fact, World Mosquito Awareness Day is actually celebrated on 20th August but Brits may still be noticing these pesky little flies today.
While mosquito bites are generally harmless they can be extremely irritating and painful if they become infected and in the most extreme cases cause dengue fever, cases of which have increased globally recently according to Gov.uk.
The best way to deter mosquitoes is to ensure you have no stagnant water lying around at home such as rain water barrels.
Additionally, you can use certain plants such as lavender, citronella, mint, eucalyptus and basil which all deter mosquitos because of the scent they give off. Placing these plants in your kitchen or bedroom window should help to keep them away.
Hopefully these tips will help you get through the next couple of months during spider season! Just know we are right there with you!