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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

1 mom found this helpful

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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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!

3 moms found this helpful

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.

2 moms found this helpful

Are the spiders biting or something. My kids have always loved seeing spider webs, I wouldn't do anything unless your kids are being bit often.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi T.! Yeah! I've got something that works GREAT and it's non-toxic to children. Do NOT use over-the-counter bug sprays around your kids EVER....they are TOXIC, as you know from what you said. Have you ever heard of SOLUMEL? It is wonderful, it's totally 100% natural and safe around kids, and
spiders HATE it! Give me a call at ###-###-####
:>) ____@____.com

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe a good hosing off will do the trick or if you have access to a pressure washer try that. We used to have a LOT of spider trouble, too. We had a fire wood pile that they bread and bread in and would then make webs all over the overhang to our patio and hanging plants, etc. We pressure washed the pile one spring and it really did the trick for the whole year. They started to come back again this spring, so we pressure washed again and then moved all of the wood to a different area and now they seem to be gone for good. It's important to get the eggs and all or discover their breeding ground. YUCK & GOOD LUCK!

1 mom found this helpful

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!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi. I heard Garlic does the trick. But, so does dishsoap. But, if you remove those bugs you may end up with others like ants. I know for a FACT lemon slices gets rid of those too.. good luck

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

1 mom found this helpful

One thing you may just need to do is be vigilent every day and with a broom do a quick sweep of the entire play structure, inside and out, all the surfaces. At least during the heavy spider times. My mother does this to the outside of her house where it is easy to reach, and she believes that she gets fewer spiders inside as a result. I think they may get tired of having their webs swept away, so they just go somewhere else.

J. W.

1 mom found this helpful

I just wanted to say thank you for asking this question! We have the exact same problem with my daughter's plastic playhouse on our back porch. There are spiders in there constantly! I love the idea of the natural remedies. Also spraying the dish soap sounds like a safe way to keep them away. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I'm arachnophobia too as well as a friend of mine. I don't like killing them, just moving them outside, but when my friend comes over during 'spider season' we just take a broom and sweep the area up.

I think that is one of the better solutions that is non-toxic. Buy a dollar broom, maybe a hand broom? Just keep it out there.

1 mom found this helpful

I use a spray called "Home Defense" that I get at Walmart. I realize it's a chemical, but it is safe to use inside the house, and also works outside. I spray it around all of my windows, doors, furnace vents, etc. 2-3 times a year (I hate spiders also!) and have for years. I have 4 kids.... not to mention a dozen extras at any given moment... and no one has grown any extra limbs yet (or gotten sick)!
Maybe you could spray it just around the bottom and the areas she doesn't actually sit on, etc?
It's cheap too!

1 mom found this helpful

I have found essential peppermint oil to be a great deterrent of spiders. I buy therapeutic grade essential oil from Young Living Oils, add a few drops to water in a small spray bottle and spray the corners of our basement. It smells fresh, beneficial for all to breathe, and the strength of the smell deters spiders. Essential Peppermint Oil also makes a natural breath freshener without the sugar which is what makes your breath stink after awhile, i.e. Altoids. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

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 learned that liquid dish soap in a bucket of water - poured over anything - kills the spiders. Any kind of soap is bad for spider's digestion, they get sick and die.
You can use this method for your porches, patios, plants --- and best of all, your children's toys! They get clean and spider free. When my son was young, I used to make a spray bottle of water and dish soap and mouth wash (mouth wash is also effective in getting rid of bugs)--- so he could spray all our outdoor plants for me. He had a great time with his "spiderman" juice! Try it --- and pesticide free for your safety! N.

1 mom found this helpful

get a spray bottle, fill it w/water then put about a 1/4 cup of dish soap (the kind you wash dishes with) and spray the whole thing down, tis wonderful! also is safe for plants & such!

1 mom found this helpful

I admit I haven't tried this yet, but was just reading some 'hints' from other readers in an RV magazine on how they kept spiders from their compartments. The took a cat or dog flea collar, cut it up (don't know how small the pieces) & left them in the compartments. Voila! No more spiders. Perhaps you could put pieces inside areas where the kids don't go into (cubby holes), or something. OR - I just found this on the internet? Natural & made by a Mom!
http://www.spiderrepel.com/?gclid=CPTV_-3S2pMCFSRaiAods3sfYw

GOOD LUCK!

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Have you tried just spraying a topical repellant like Bug Gaurd on the equipment nightly.

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There is this non toxic spray you can get called "Poison Free"- it's at most department stores. It uses mint, and it's really stinky, so spray it, then wait awhile to let her play. I would also look online for non-poisonous sprays.

1 mom found this helpful

Mix one cup of bleach to one gallon of water and spray it around like a perimeter and them spray your equiptment last. Apparently spider don't like bleach this is what I spray around my house to keep them off.

1 mom found this helpful

Yeah pesticides are kind of a nasty thought. but this is something we did with our kids toys (Simply to cut down on the grime that grows on them) is to put a bit of bleach or even "simple green" into a sprayer on the hose and hose them down every few days.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi we are having a worse year with spiders too. My daughter is terrified of them. At Freddies recently, I bought "ultrasonic pest repeller" these plug into an outlet. I wonder if you have a way to get power near the play set, OR perhaps they make battery operated ones. When I was looking at Lowes, they make battery powered MOLE repellers. They aren't the cheapest thing,but if they work they'd be worth it, maybe they have one for spiders.
If you have to resort to pesticides, perhaps you can use them in the grass around the structure, to kill the beasts before they get there, rather than on the equipment itself. But I know there is the issue of tracking it onto the structure.

I have always had the attitude that if they come inside they are dead, but I let them live outside. This year however, I have decided every spider in my eyesight is dead. (they don't seem to stay outside!) Just last night i went into the garage to grab something, & wrapped a web around my face..... yuck.
Blessings,
A. V

1 mom found this helpful

Hi T. - we have the same problem! As well as them coming in the house, please I'd love to know of any suggestions that work.
E.

1 mom found this helpful

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