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Keeping Smart Spiders Out of Your Shed

Spiders and sheds just seem to go together don’t they? That’s because sheds are the perfect home for Spiders. They’re dark and often filled with a variety of insects spiders enjoy eating. They’re filled with all sorts of odd shaped things an industrious spider can use to spin a fabulous web around or hide behind - and they’re frequently peaceful abodes where the spider can dwell undisturbed by the shed owner for weeks at a time.

Sheds are just a smaller version of the old fashioned barn chosen as a residence by the famously intelligent fictional spider Charlotte, in that childhood story you barely remember, Charlotte’s Web. If spiders were that smart, you’d have quite a job outsmarting them to keep them out of your shed – but are spiders really intelligent?

There are tens of thousands of different spider species and they don’t all behave the same way – although it seems they all spin silk and all but one species are fond of bugs. They’ve certainly been around for a long time – apparently they were around when the Dinosaurs were, and the spiders are still here, so they’re a pretty hardy lot.

One theory has it that dinosaurs and numerous other animals were wiped out 65 million years ago by an asteroid – so potentially, an asteroid colliding with the earth couldn’t get rid of spiders. But hey, we’re still going to try, right?

There’s one species called the “Diving Bell Spider” that uses its silk to build diving bell bubbles which they fill with air and use so they can breathe underwater when they’re catching prey. When they need more air they head for the surface and refill the bubble. That’s pretty smart.

Okay, it’s looking like you’re going to have to employ some intelligence yourself to keep the spiders out of your garden shed. Here’s a plan of attack:

  • Make good use of your shed. Frequent visits that cast light on dark places should make the prehistoric eight legged ones feel a little less at home.
  • Keep the shed clean. The less bugs in there, the better. If the bug pantry is empty, your eight legged friends might migrate to someone else’s shed.
  • Tidy the shed regularly and push items up tight against the walls leaving less space for the spiders to hide and spin webs. Pack items into crates to make life less interesting for them.
  • Don’t leave the shed door open all the time or you’ll have an army of them setting up house.
  • Consider sealing up gaps in the shed – but don’t cut off all ventilation.
  • Employ chemical warfare if you’re okay with that – use the surface spray!
  • If you see a big fat spider and you think dropping something on it seems like a good option, make sure you pick something very heavy. Dropping the Yellow Pages on a pregnant spider will only result in a hundred little spiders being prematurely born and running for cover in your shed, completely undeterred by the phone book!

Clearly spiders deserve some respect, based purely on their ingenuity and ability to survive, so unless you feel inclined to make shed living spiders your friends, consider prevention rather than annihilation.

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