With summer over, many of the pests you typically encounter in warm weather stop being as much of a nuisance. You may get fewer mosquito bites, notice fewer flies outdoors, or even see fewer bees in your garden. However, spiders often make their presence known when the temperature dips outside—and if you’re not cleaning this one area of your home, you’re practically inviting them in. Read on to discover how tackling this one chore could help keep a serious spider problem at bay.
There are few things cozier than curling up in front of a crackling fire on a cool fall evening. However, if your fireplace isn’t cleaned regularly, it may become a haven for spiders before you know it.
“Many spiders are brought into the house on firewood. Fireplaces are normally dark, with lots of hiding places. Hunting spiders, such as wolf spiders, will be attracted to an area like this due to the dark shadowy places to hide in,” says Mark Potzler, a board-certified entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control.
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“Spiders are attracted by the smell of mercaptan, a compound that energy companies add to gas. Try to keep the pilot light on, as it keeps spiders away. If the pilot light is off it gives spiders the opportunity to spin webs inside the gas lines which can in turn clog the pilot system,” says Thomas Marbut, corporate trainer and general manager at pest control company Mosquito Squad.
It’s not just the odd spider you may encounter in your fireplace during the colder months—your fireplace can quickly become a breeding ground for arachnids.
“In the fall season, spiders are trying to find places to winter over and lay their eggs. Additionally, the fall is also mating season for spiders and the young that are born earlier in the year are reaching maturity,” explains Tim sherrer of Expest Exterminating.
If you want to limit the chances of a spider infestation in your home, cleaning your fireplace regularly is a good place to start.
“Regular maintenance is key to keeping these creepers away from your fireplace,” says entomologist and pest control expert Ryan Smith, owner of Ant and Garden Organic Pest Control.
In addition to closing your flue when the fireplace isn’t in use, “Inspect the area for small gaps and holes and seal them up and close or cover your chimney with tight-sealing material if you’re not using the fireplace,” says Smith. If all else fails, Smith recommends spraying a combination of peppermint oil and water in areas where you’ve seen spiders in the past or anywhere dark where they could be nesting.