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Figure this is as good a place as any to ask.
Recently, I've unearthed a nest of black widow spiders living on my back porch, near my exercise equipment. There's a couple adults and an egg sac, though I can't tell if it's hatched or not. They're not exactly being clandestine, and they're in fairly close proximity to places my family hangs out. And since there's eggs, there will be (or are) a lot more of them. I have reason to be concerned about my pets, since my cat tries to play with insects and arachnids of all stripes with abandon and has been stung/bitten by several things for her troubles, and we're getting a dog in a few weeks. Also, since they're near my equipment, I get a mild case of the jibblies myself (I like spiders, but am wary about the more venomous ones).
So I am looking for a way to get rid of black widow spiders and their eggs that is pet and people-safe.
I've done some searching already, and I've seen people recommend citrus and eucalyptus oils, though they seem to vary on whether or not it kills them or simply drives them off. Also, there's not much on the proper protocol for using them—mix in water and squirt it at them? Rub it around their living space? I know eucalyptus oil is easy to come by (I can just walk down to the pharmacy and buy some), but it's more dangerous than citrus oil, I think. I've seen a lot of stuff recommending their use, but not a lot on the right procedure, as it were. And will it work on the eggs? Google seems to reveal a number of different answers, but some seem kind of dangerous (burning?). So I'm wondering if anyone has first-hand experience.
Also, if it's at all possible, I want something that won't immediately drive off every spider in the area. I like my friendly little wolf spiders and daddy longlegs* I know, not technically a spider but a related arachnid , but if it can't be helped, well... I hope some of 'em come back, and don't bring the nasty venomous ones with 'em.
Just to verify: you don't care if the black widows die, but you don't want to harm anything else, correct?
edited 10th Oct '11 1:44:14 AM by mahel042
this website seems to be the most matter-of-fact about it.
Needle Snakes. The Black Widow's natural predator.
denatured alcohol in a spray bottle. Will evaporate and not harm much else, but yay volatile solvents and their ability to kill lesser life forms.
Is stomping with heavy boots out of the question?
I don't know where you live but we have a thing called an Extension Cooperative Service through Purdue University that serves the county and provides information about interacting with the the local flora and fauna. It is connected through the Department of Agriculture and while it sounds all planty and gardeny, that's where the bugs hang out. And snakes. Among other things.
Eh, if it was me I'd jar/release them if possible, preferably in a dry, rocky area so they could rebuild their webs.
But, if that's not possible, dish soap will smother most spiders and insects pretty quickly. Don't know about the egg sacs though.
What always worked for my mom was to stomp the shit out of them, and leave the non-deadly ones alone. Personally, I always enjoyed dousing them with sulfuric acid, but that's not available to everyone * and tends to damage porches and exercise equipment .
Vacuum cleaners, huh? Ironically, there's an old, nonfunctional vacuum on my porch right next to where the nest is.
Stomping is somewhat out of the question, actually, since there's an awful lot of them, and I'm not sure just my boot could get 'em all. I can't tell if the eggs hatched or not.
Either way, that site has good information on how to actually use eucalyptus against them (high-ho cotton balls), so I think I'm going to go daubing and spraying the general area. Thanks for a site that's actually useful for once.
I did some digging to find one that didn't just say "Oh, citrus oil" or "Oh, use eucalyptus oil!" The first dozen hits were obviously all cribbed from the same writeup, because they were all the exact same unhelpful information.
If this is outside, some dish detergent mixed with a little water in a spray-bottle will do wonders. It should seep into its respiratory system and suffocate it. Not a pretty sight, but if its crucial to get rid of them its easy to prep and all you need is a hose to wash it away when you're done.
I don't know if it works on spiders but what my mother does on ant nests is pour boiling water on them and that seems to work.
There are some pesticide sprays availalbe that are non-toxic to humans and pets but will kill the spiders. Check around and do some research. The right kind of non-toxic spray will quickly kill the spiders and likely kill the eggs and any exposed young. Be careful putting your hands near the their nest as black widows can be agressive when guarding the nest.
I'd use insulation foam that is used for cavity wall insulation.
I don't think it's toxic, and it will stop any more spiders from nesting there.
Or you could just burn it. That'd be my natural reaction.
Since the thread has been necro'd, I must inquire: How'd it go getting rid of the damn things?
The obvious answer is to send in an expert armed with a flame thrower
Fires non-toxic I'd go with Fire.
Fire itself may be non toxic but a lot of fuels aren't.
Black widow spiders?
Call in an exterminator; aren't those things highly dangerous?
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