29 answers

Preventing Spiders on Our Backyard Playset and Play House

I have a plastic play set and a plastic play house in our backyard. My daughter loves to play on/in them. However I have a big problem with spiders. Does any one have any ideas on how to prevent them from constantly spinning webs and being on the equipment. I don't like the idea of using pesticides as she plays on them frequently. FYI trees and foilage are cut away from our home and her play equipment but we do have trees in a different part of our back yard. Any ideas would be appreciated as spider activity this time of year is bad but in the fall it gets unbearable!!!! Thanks!!!!

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Featured Answers

I have a "magic spider web getter" which is my kitchen broom. When the kids complain about the webs I give them the "getter" and it seems to make them happy.

1 mom found this helpful

I just read this the other day... might work for you too:
http://www.parenthacks.com/2008/06/spray-listerine.html

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That's tough. I would start by spraying it off in the evening that way it has time to dry by the next day. Also moving the equipment to different locales every week or so? Good luck!

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More Answers

Spiders are SO beneficial to your back yard. When you kill them you will find the other pests proliferating. I would not recommend killing them. Once I killed a bunch of VERY large daddylonglegs in Arkansas that had come out from under some bushes after I raked the leaves. I didn't have a single pest problem until after that day. From that day on I had problems with all kinds of bugs, especially whiteflies.

When I was growing up in Montreal - the summers being so short, we had tons of spiders as well. When I was a kid I spent a Lot of time outdoors - more than indoors. However, I was NEVER bitten by a single one. The wildlife there is not that different from here actually.

I would just brush off the swing set with a paper towel or something, where she plays and let the spiders live. This eliminates you having to use pesticides later on for a different problem, and is much safer for your child than pesticides.

5 moms found this helpful

I'm with Diana D on this. I can't believe how many people are advocating kiling spiders that live OUTSIDE! They are some of the most beneficial bugs around and do keep the bad bug population in check. Sweep with a broom, or spray with a hose to dislodge them before your daughter goes out to play.
Get some books about spiders so you and your daughter can learn about them and how to recognize the few poisonous ones in our area (most are reculsive and not likely to be on your playset). Read "Charolette's Web."
Spiders can easily be shooed away from areas where you'd prefer not to have them. They are not aggressive monsters. In the house, we trap them under a glass and put them outside.
Teach your child to value these beneficial arachnids and how to deal with them on her own without poisons, bleach or complicated home remedies. Who knows, she might end up studying entymology one day.

4 moms found this helpful

On some of the advice offered already:

Spiders don't bite when they are annoyed. They get frightened and do their best to hide or escape.

Chlorine bleach is NOT safe to use in the environment, and is becoming one of the more dangerous groundwater contaminants. In contact with organic materials like wood, it produces dioxins, which are very long-lasting, extremely toxic chemicals that can cause cancer and birth deformities, and can be found in human breast milk. Read more: http://www.cqs.com/edioxin.htm

Strong mint oil, and pesticides that use mint instead of toxins, are not necessarily safe for everyone to breathe. I get headaches, stomach aches, and lung congestion when exposed to strong mint scent. It's probably effective, but please use with discretion around your children. It may be a greater hazard than spiders.

I'm 60 years old. I've lived and gardened and even slept in a bedroom where we allow a spider or two to live to control mosquitos and other pests. I have NEVER been bitten. Spiders are more a terror to our imaginations than our bodies. If they build webs in objectionable places, I simply sweep out the webs.

Spiders are fascinating, and even rather cute once you get to know them. Jumping spiders or wolf spiders are curious, and can be charming to interact with – they'll sort of "dance" with your finger at a short distance if you don't scare them too badly. I hope you'll use this as an opportunity for education and make friends with the natural world.

By the way, I am coming back to edit because I just discovered a charming Spider Catcher that allows you to stay two feet away from the little critters, catch them and take them elsewhere: http://www.leevalley.com/gifts/page.aspx?c=1&p=56114&...

3 moms found this helpful

The best natural repeller for insects on/around the play equipment (including spiders) are cedar chips. I surrounded the play area with cedar timbers and then layed landscaping fabric and then had a company deliver cedar chips and put down 4-6 inches over the whole play area. Voila! No bugs and no weeds and when the kids fall there is a cushion. Good Luck!

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This is spider heaven, I am afraid and this is the season that they come out. If you have cut every thing away from the play set, then they will migrate to the play set because that is where they can build their web.

I suggest you sweep the set before you use it. Hosing it down will make it unusable until it dries.

You could also turn it into a science experiment for your daughter by looking at the types of spiders and the types of webs. That way she won't become afraid of them.

W.

3 moms found this helpful

I was aggravated to see that spiders are attracted to our plastic outdoor play structure too--I thought they were supposed to prefer wood! I'm arachnophobic but OPPOSED to killing them, even indoors. On outdoor objects, we sweep/blast with a hose regularly. They do get tired of the disruption. My excuse to our child is that the equipment is a bit dusty--I don't want to suggest to her that spiders are bad (although I have warned her that anything you annoy is likely to misunderstand, and bite--not true with spiders, perhaps, but a good rule of thumb around all creatures).

The other thing I would suggest is anything with lemon in it. I haven't tried it outdoors yet but it's really worked for me indoors--bear with me while I explain. I am spider-phobic so I did lots of searching around for a good solution. (I want to keep them away, not scare my daughter about spiders.) Then I completely stumbled on something that has worked well!

For the movie "Arachnophobia" (which incidentally used a species of spider that is pretty nice by comparison--turns out they are the only species that live as families) the way they got the spiders to go where they wanted them to go was to lay down a double "track" of Lemon Pledge. Then they used a hair dryer (on cold setting) to gently chase them along. Turns out spiders taste/smell through receptors on their feet, and don't like citrus. Lemon Pledge is said to have more lemon in it than Minute Maid lemonade!

I grabbed a couple of cans of Lemon Pledge and did the house over this way: on the inside, I rubbed every door frame and window frame, including a couple inches of wall as an extra buffer. I also put a "barrier" around the door up from the basement. On the outside of the house, I blasted all around the windows, doors, and eves with a hose, then after it dried rubbed the outside of the door and window frames with more Pledge. The dregs of the cans I used on the interior side of the garage door. I have only done this once every other year since then, and it has cut down the spider invasions about 85%. Hooray!

WARNING: Pledge makes floors unbelievably slippery. If you have wood floors, spray the bottom of the door, not the floor itself, or you will have a nasty fall. For this reason I don't think it would be good to use on a play structure, except maybe on the non-climbing surfaces. But if you were going to spray with a soap or bleach solution, try a lemon "flavor" for hopefully added effectiveness. Good luck!!!!

3 moms found this helpful

spiders are beautiful! and wonderful! you have an incredible opportunity to learn about these fascinating creatures with your daughter and instill in her a love of nature and respect for all living beings! (and save her from "nature deficit disorder" - there's a great book called Last Child In The Woods). My almost 3-year-old granddaughter loves to look for and watch spiders, in fact spider was one of her first words. You could get a book from the library, maybe a video (charlotte's web too), to help you discover more about the great variety of spiders and their amazing abilities.

I used to be extremely arachnophobic, I would panic and kill anything with eight legs. Thankfully, I have overcome that fear and have grown to really appreciate spiders (although I still don't like it if a big one is on me!). Spiders have such a bad name (and a lot of people's fears get unfairly put onto them), but except for a very few poisonous ones, they are totally harmless to people and help us out by eating insects. And if you're afraid of spiders yourself, this could be a good opportunity for you to overcome that fear and prevent your daughter from inheriting it.

As for practical suggestions - if there were some other kind of structure near the playhouse, the spiders would be less likely to build as many webs directly on the playhouse. You and your daughter could make together a kind of frame for the spiders with something like sticks lashed together and stuck in the ground (kind of like making a birdhouse!), where they could happily build their homes. Also together, you could carefully catch and transport them to the other side of the yard, where you could watch them make a new web. You could plant a garden, where they would have lots of opportunities to live, and growing some of your own food could also be a wonderful educational opportunity and great activity for you and your daughter to enjoy together.

3 moms found this helpful

Hello T.,

I sprinkle an herb called Pennyroyal around my playset and yard. It is non toxic and also repels alot of other vermons. Can be purchased at any health food store. Believe me once you put it down they will never come back.

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