Q: Our basement is completely finished. We notice that as the weather gets colder, more spiders seem to appear. What’s a safe, nonpesticide way to help get rid of them?
— Ed Harris, Springboro
A: Ohio State University entomologist Susan C. Jones offers these suggestions in the fact sheet Spiders in and Around the House (HYG-2060-04), which can be found at the university’s Ohioline site (http://ohioline.osu.edu):
• Do your best to keep the spiders out by sealing cracks and openings where they can enter your home, installing tight-fitting screens in windows and on vents, and installing weatherstripping and door sweeps.
• Eliminate the clutter that can harbor spiders.
• Store items off the floor and away from walls. Tape cardboard boxes closed, or store things in sealed plastic bags.
• Eliminate insects that attract spiders.
• Don’t stack wood against the house, and keep vegetation and leaf mold away from the foundation.
• Dust and vacuum thoroughly to remove spiders, webs and egg sacs, and dispose of the vacuum bag in a container outdoors. Web-building spiders will often give up and go elsewhere if their webs are regularly disturbed.
• Use sticky traps and glue boards to catch spiders that do get in.
If you can get your hands on an osage orange, you can cut one in half and set one of the halves on a dish in the basement. Osage oranges contain a chemical that repels spiders and many of the bugs they feed on. One half should last a few weeks.
Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.