Spiders can be a nuisance wherever you are, so it’s only natural to look for plants that repel spiders in an attempt to get rid of them. This is because even though everybody wants to keep their living spaces spider-free, using chemicals to fix the problem is not always the best idea.
However helpful spiders can be by eating pests such as gnats and mosquitoes, most people would rather stay clear of them. Since they are arachnids, they also have a different physiology than insects so even if you will resort to using chemical products, they won’t guarantee a good result.
Cedar, spiders, other options
Since spiders are considered to be largely beneficial to your garden because they eat other types of pests, you would think that they would have a better image than they actually do. The problem with them is they are very hard to get rid of, once they settle into a place.
Some people like to use either the wood or oil of cedar to act as a repellent due to its reputation, but even this does not have a very good history of working against them. It’s true that cedar wood is better suited to resist insect infestation, even though this quality is enhanced through staining and treating it.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cedar oil classified as a minimum risk pesticide. However, according to sources from the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, this does not apply to arachnids.
Even though things like cedar wood chips are good at protecting your woolens from moths, they also offer the spiders a warm and dark place to hide. For this reason, knowledgeable gardeners will not rely on this to keep them away. Even if we are to acknowledge some repelling qualities that cedar might possess, it loses potency relatively quickly.
Even more, some cedar mulches, for instance, are not even really cedar. The wood of a true cedar tree, from the Cedrus species, does indeed contain a natural oil that will drive some insects away. Unfortunately, not all chips come from such a tree, variations like Eastern Red Cedar and Western Red Cedar failing to meet the requirements for actually being one.
As opposed to native cedars which hail from the Middle East, these two species are North American natives which are often used as windbreaks and ornamental trees in rough areas. Their mulch, however, does not really repel insects or spiders so that’s where the confusion comes from.
At this point, it’s fair to say that mulching with true cedar wood will usually act as a shield against aggressive insects like Argentine ants, house ants, and other similar things. However, this will not bother all types of insects and arachnids since the effect is temporary and diminishes as the cedar starts to decompose.
Within a year or two, any such perks will be lost and you’ll have nothing but a piece of wood. Also, keep in mind that the highest concentration of that compound resides in the cedar’s heartwood while the wood chips that are typically used only include bark and sapwood.
This is the reason why opinions are so divided on this subject. Since this is a complex discussion and it requires a certain knowledge set, people believe what they see, and that is the simple explanation why some cedar wood seems to be useful against spiders, while others would be more helpful as a weapon rather than a repellent.
Taking away the good stuff
As we said, spiders are arachnids, not insects. While this means that typical insect chemical compounds will not necessarily work against them, it also means their metabolism plays a big role in this.
Even though what repels an insect may not actually bother a spider, they still tend to follow their food sources just like any other predator. If you pay attention and eliminate it, you’ll see them start to go away from your eaves, foundation, or front porch.
Pea gravel seems to be much less inviting to insects than organic mulch and, unlike cedar wood chips, it won’t require constant replacement.
Furthermore, if you can, try to use yellow light bulbs outside the house. This way, you will attract fewer insects to begin with. Clean your place regularly, dust, and remove clutter. Don’t forget that crumbs will attract all kinds of bugs and spiders make no exception to this.
If you still find a multiple-legged invader in your house, it is recommended you remove it by covering it with a jar, sliding a piece of cardboard underneath to act as a barrier, and freeing it outside where it can go to town on the local insect population.
Considerations about cedar oil
We feel you should also see the other side of the coin, so we’ve gathered up some information from people who claim cedar oil can act as a repellent against spiders. Armed with this knowledge, you can make your own educated guess about what you should and should not use against them.
People’s desire for working natural remedies is obvious and understandable. They are much less dangerous to you and your home because they don’t expose you to a large pallet of potentially harmful chemicals, often contained in commercially-made solutions.
Another argument that seems to be very important in this debate is the fact that store-bought repellents act as yet another source of plastic waste in the world’s never-ending struggle against it.
It’s recommended you buy a good-quality cedar oil from places such as Cedarcide store or Amazon. If you can get it in spray form, it will be even easier for you to just apply it wherever you need and use it as a spider repellent.
Use the spray bottle and apply it to window panes, door frames, cracks, and any other opening where you might wake up to find an eight-legged uninvited guest. If this works, an added benefit would be that you can use it as often as you like, without the threat of it being toxic. Another tip would be to also spray or rub some in closed areas and dark corners around your house since spiders tend to be drawn to these kinds of places.
Other ways to do it
If you were drawn to the idea of natural ways to fight off invaders but cedar does not seem to work for you, there are other ways around this so do your research and figure out which one would work best for you.
You can use white vinegar which is harmless to humans but the acetic acid it contains is something that spiders are highly sensitive to. Citrus is the other thing they completely dislike, so having a bowl of citrus fruits on your counter is a great way to keep spiders out and encourage healthy eating at the same time!
Mint and chestnuts are also good choices, with mint offering a very nice smell to your house while the chestnuts will last you a long time before they go bad and you need to replace them.