spiderweb.jpg They’re creepy, and they’re kooky … For some reason, the theme song to “The Addams Family” popped into my head as I sat down and began preparing this piece. Like many people out there, spiders of all sizes give me the willies. Living in an older home, they seem to gravitate to it, particularly in mid- to late summer, making an appearance when I least expect it. With a dog, two rabbits and multiple aquariums, I feel as though the ol’ Fidlin ranch has more than enough pets. I do not need to add spiders to my list of creatures great and small. The obvious question, of course, is: What steps can I take to keep spiders and other little critters of the insect variety out of the house? It is a quandary I know many other people grapple with each year as well. A walk down any department store or home improvement retailer’s aisles will reveal an array of products aimed at keeping spiders and other insects out of your home. The dilemma, of course, is most mainstream products contain chemicals – oftentimes, many different types – which pose challenges for those of us interested in adopting eco-friendly practices. In the spirit of being kind to Mother Earth amid our ongoing battle with those multi-legged creepy crawlers, it is worthwhile to consider alternative remedies that are far less harsh on the environment. In many instances, substituting natural remedies for the products sold in the store also leave less of an impact on our wallets since some of the techniques cost next to nothing. Below are eight natural remedies worth considering. Many of these suggestions are as effective, if not better, than the chemical-laden products that line retailers’ shelves.

1. Be mindful of nooks and crannies.

Let’s start with the obvious, at square one. One of the best spider remedies is to inspect all the openings of your home. Could greater efforts be made to secure your windowsill? How about your doors? I’ve cut down on my issues with uninvited insects by making a few small improvements to my exterior screen door, which I open frequently during the spring, summer and early fall. I’ve also caulked several windowsills in an attempt to seal up openings that these little critters seem to find their way through.

2. Keep your living quarters spic and span.

Here’s another obvious pointer that falls under the prevention category. While housekeeping all too often falls by the wayside in the face of the busyness of everyday life, it is important to clean and vacuum your place of sanctuary on a regular basis. Food and dust particles, in particular, are a huge magnet to spiders and other insects, so regular cleaning will reduce the likelihood of these critters wanting to venture into your home.

3. Chestnuts can be used for more than roasting on an open fire.

As this post on the website Remedies and Herbs points out, chestnuts are a great natural way of keeping spiders away. For some reason, spiders avoid chestnuts like the plague, which means strategically placing them on places such as windowsills could be an effective way of keeping them out of those nooks and crannies. Since chestnuts are generally unobtrusive, have a very long shelf life and withstand many of the pressures that could lead to rotting, they have proven over time to be one of the most effective natural remedies. When you get right down to it, the cost of a few chestnuts is less than a can of bug spray!

4. The wonders of Vitamin C.

If you encounter a sudden infestation of spiders, consider tapping into resources found in Vitamin C. The citrus found in lemons and oranges has been an effective method of fending off spiders. The peels of both fruits have also been a great natural remedy. “You can apply fresh citrus fruit juice or peels on the corners of doors and windows, as well as other open points in your house, such as chimney edges or skylights to keep spiders away from your home,” Janhvi Johorey writes on the website Home Remedy Find. “Lemon scent works like magic for keeping spiders out of the home.”

5. Apple + cider + vinegar = one potent remedy.

Because of its high acidic content, apple cider vinegar has been an effective natural treatment for spiders. For added kick, mix apple cider vinegar with peppermint oil and spray it on the sides of doorways, windowsills and any other possible nook and cranny for a sure-fire way of keeping these critters out of the house.

6. Spiders hate the scent of eucalyptus.

Scientists have revealed, over time, how spiders have great disdain for the scent emitted by eucalyptus plants. For this reason, the oils extracted from eucalyptus are a perfect natural remedy. By applying a few drops of the oil to corners, cracks and other spider-prone areas, spiders should run far, far away from your humble abode. One added tidbit: Keeping eucalyptus leaves in your cupboards, drawers and other spider-lurking spots can keep spiders away from your food.

7. Spiders also hate peppermint.

In keeping with the theme of natural oils, it is worth noting spiders also have a strong dislike for peppermint. Mixing the essential oils extracted from peppermint with a little water and spraying the concoction throughout the house is a great way of keeping spiders at bay. As an added bonus, your house will undoubtedly have a sweet fragrance as well since peppermint is so pleasing to the human senses.

8. Enlist the services of your pet.

Our feline friends offer more than just companionship. As this post on the site Natural Living Ideas points out, “Four-legged furry friends can be great hunters and will definitely not let a spider crawl across the floor without going on the prowl and taking care of business.”