Lemon Zest

It was like a scene out of a horror movie:  A pretty, young starlet finishes her shower and turns the water off.  The normally clear glass door has fogged over from the steam making it impossible to see what is on the other side.  The door creaks as it slowly opens while she reaches for her towel.  The fully opened door reveals nothing unexpected.  But that’s how horror movies always start.  The first suspicious moment is always anti-climatic.  Almost done drying off, the starlet lifts the towel towards her face to dry her face. AHHHHH.  A blood curdling scream fills the air.  As the starlet stares at the towel, the camera pans to what she has found.  It reveals a giant spider.  End of the scene.

In case you haven’t guess, I will be playing the role of the young, pretty starlet.  And instead of this being a scene from a horror movie, it was a scene from my real life.  And instead of a blood curdling scream it was more of a yelp (only 1 quick H instead of 5).

The warm weather is causing the spiders to come out of their hiding place.  If I see them, I just usually leave them alone since a) I usually can’t reach them b) They’ll leave a stain on the wall if I squish them c) I’m not really afraid of them.  But my little friend crossed the line by hiding in my towel and choosing the wrong time to say hi to me.

the little fellow doesn’t look so big, does he? this spider was not harmed during the writing of this post

Not wanting to get surprised again, I researched a few natural repellents.  I picked a concoction of lemon essential oil diluted with water.  The interweb says spiders do not enjoy the taste of citrus and will avoid areas that have been flavored with their oils.  It won’t kill them, it will only keep them away.

a little relativity shows that he’s about the size of my thumb

I bought a small bottle 0.5 ounce bottle of lemon essential oils from the Vitamin Store.  Weird place to find it, but that was the local store that Google recommended.  I could have bought it online, but I didn’t want a giant tub of essential oils if it didn’t actually work.

To make the mixture, I filled a spray bottle with water and added about 1/4 of the  bottle of essential oils.  After shaking vigorously, I sprayed the inside perimeter of all of the windows, the floor vents (for our HVAC system), power outlets and doors leading outside (both inside and out).  Other website caution that the oils might stain the surface that is sprayed.  This was not a problem for me, but I thought I would let you know.

It has been about three weeks since I did the first spray.  No more big black spiders!  Initially I thought is was because the weather had cooled down and caused the spiders to hide.  But another heat wave passed through recently and I didn’t see an increase in the buggers.

Well, I did have 2 spider sightings.  Once in the kitchen, but it was on a wall I didn’t spray and the spider escaped into the tiny space between the foot molding and the floor.  I made another batch of the citrus oil mixture and sprayed all of the floor moldings.  As an extra precaution,  I re-sprayed the windows and doors.

Another sighting was in the shower…again.  I’m not sure how to avoid spiders directly in the shower since the citrus oils will wash away.  Boo hoo.  I’ll just have to check for them before I go in.  I know they can’t swim so I should be safe once the water gets going.

One odd thing about this citrus oil solution is that we have plenty of citrus in the backyard.  And we also have plenty of spiders in those trees.  I wonder why the spiders are in the trees if they don’t like the oils?  Maybe it is because the oils need to be squeezed out of the fruit’s rind and hanging fruit does not self squeeze?

There is one outdoor place in particular that the spiders like to hang out at.  You may recall this glorious spiderweb.  I sprayed the post where the spiders like to congregate while there were spiders on it.  The essential oils definitely did not kill them on the spot the way that Raid kills roaches.  In fact, they stayed where they were waiting for a bug to fly into their webs.  A week later, the spiders were still there although there were noticeably fewer.  A week after that, zero live spiders and two dead (of natural causes I presume).  Not sure if the spray is deterring them, but I like to think it is working.

All in all, I highly recommend this natural spider repellent of lemon essential oil and water.  It was cheap, made my house smell good and seems to have worked.  Does anyone else have spider problems?  Any non-toxic smelly remedies to share?  Do the toxic solutions work as well?

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2 Responses to Lemon Zest

  1. Tyson says:

    Nice tip. There are gigantic webs all over the bushes next to our house and I want to get rid of them because I hate spiders.

  2. Robbie says:

    B and I get crazy spiders in our house too. I hate using poisons (especially near vegetables). I did spray the edges of our windows this past spring (and then left the house for a week). We are getting alot less spiders in the house.

    I think I might try the lemon zest in the garden though. Good article.

  3. Allison says:

    I don’t know any spider remedies but I did have an ant problem and sprinkled cinnamon around the holes they were coming in and that worked like a charm. So if you ever have ants cinnamon works great and I think you can use any powder like baking powder or corn starch but the cinnamon makes your home smell like a snickerdoodle!

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