Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Pest Control

You may remember that I have said in the past, I hate spiders. I know it's irrational, and my esteemed father has been telling me for years, for as long as I can remember, that they are beneficial creatures.

But they are gross.

So, this year, in the interest of preventing the situation that always happens come September, when numbers of them are festooned amongst the plants in every border preventing me from doing any gardening at all, I am taking steps.

Now, of course in the vegetable border, I am not able to spray the lethal but highly chemical spray I purchased last year which is highly effective at eradicating this particular pest (to me it's a pest, I know, they are beneficial ...). However, by doing some internet research, I came across this site:


If like me you have an aversion to eight-legged things I can tell you now, there are no pictures of them on here (always a worry for me). And there are all sorts of interesting articles on here, including a paragraph about a natural product that sadly I can't get here. I may visit a Home Depot store, however, on my next trip back to the States and see if I can find it.

So in my situation, I have opted for this method:

A Good Use for Tobacco

Get a package of pipe or chewing tobacco, soak it in a gallon of boiling water until it cools. Strain the liquid into a clean container. Put a cup of tobacco juice and 1/2 cup lemon dish soap (i.e. washing-up liquid) into a hose-end sprayer and spray. I did this at our house two years ago and have been practically spider free since. This works on all kinds of bugs. I thank Jerry Baker, the Master Gardener, for the tip since we were literally being taken over by spiders. Elaine

I did do this last autumn, and I seemed to have some success in keeping the blighters at bay. But as I say now is the time for preventative measures before they actually get to that point, big, exceedingly ugly and hanging around in my borders. With that in mind, when I watered the garden on Sunday I used this method.

I couldn't find pipe tobacco (or chewing tobacco, come to that) easily, so I just bought a packet of normal rolling tobacco. Maybe it's just me, but it smells quite nice.

The lemon also seems to be a deterrent - another really gross bit of information, but apparently spiders "taste with their feet" (eeewww) and don't like lemon, so even a bit of lemon pledge sprayed on window and door sills stops them entering your house (you can bet I'll be doing that come autumn).

The war continues ... do I find beauty in a spider's web? Do I heck.


  1. I am all over this one (shudder) I didn't know about the tobacco or the lemon - but will absolutely try it out!! I have also been a fan of the dried horse chestnut as a repellent. I collected a whole bunch of them when the trees were dropping them and have them in all of my window sills. Pretty and useful. Evidently horse chestnut essential oil works as well so extracts of that may also be possible to use in the garden

  2. Many thanks for that! I tried that last year too, I am wondering if they lose their efficacy over time ... but I will definitely look for the essential oil!