22 February 2011

If it's got eight legs it's not welcome in my house!

Oh my how I hate creepy crawlies. They may well have their place on the planet but it's not in my home. Or my garage. Or my garden shed. Or my car. Or my rubbish bin. Or my greenhouse. Or my ..... Well I am sure you get the picture.

I swear insects, spiders and other tiny creatures that can move really, really fast see me as a target.

Picture it:  it's 2 am, a new mother sitting in the loungeroom with her ten-day-old babe happily feeding in her arms. The only light from the street light shining through the window, mainly so the new mum didn't fully wake up. She's blissfully watching baby suckle, enjoying his little snorts and gurgles, because this little man is a guts.

And then, from the corner of her eye, she sees a movement. For a moment she thought she was imagining it, she was so tired. And then it happened again. A very quick movement, down low, just this side of the front door.

That made her focus. Her eyes and her concentration, she was wide awake now.

Then, to her complete and utter horror the carpet started moving towards her. Hang on, carpet can't move. A quick, but gentle shake of her head (she didn't want to wake that sleeping baby) and she realised it wasn't the carpet moving.

It was the biggest, brownest, hairiest Wolf Spider she had ever seen in her entire life.

With dismay she realised she shouldn't have shaken her head, however gently. The baby was still asleep, but the movement was enough to catch the spider's attention. That thing was fully focussed on her.

She was trapped. In a lounge chair. With a sleeping baby attached to her.

The spider honed in on her, perhaps it could sense her terror, and it started to move towards her. Slowly at first. Then it started to run. Faster and faster until it was up on it's hind legs, charging towards the terrified young mother and baby.

It was the biggest spider she had ever seen, it had to be for her to be able to see it without her glasses on, in the middle of the night, on brown carpet, with just a street light shining in the window.

God is good. He graced this young mother with whopping great size 10 feet. Which means she wears whopping great size 10 shoes. Or slippers. In this case it was Ugg boots.

That spider didn't stand a chance. But only because I didn't want to wake the baby by screaming, shouting, jumping up and down and having hysterics. And because it's true, nothing comes between a mother and her baby, not even a huge wolf spider in the middle of the night.

I was the mother. AJ was the baby. Wayne was fast asleep, he didn't even know we had been attacked by a monster spider as big as a dinner plate until I woke him up to tell him!

So now you know why I really, really hate creepy crawlies. Almost as much as I hate bug sprays. Which can be a bit of a dilemma. Bug sprays are very efficient at keeping bugs at bay. It's a shame they are so toxic, to us and the environment.

And I read in this week's Sunday Herald Sun about the invasion of spiders and other ikky bugs that is taking place at the moment. It seems with all the rain we've had recently the creepy crawlies have decided to move inside, where it is nice and dry. Oh, how I wish I would use bug sprays. I've been tempted a couple of times to grab a couple of cans of bug spray and go crazy with it. Thankfully No Spending month kept me from  giving in to temptation.

Instead I've opted for natural ways to repel (and yes, kill) any creepy crawlies that dared to cross our threshold.

It's commonsense of course, but keeping cobwebs at bay really does help. Every room in the house gets  swept from ceiling to floor once a week. I slip an old stocking over the kitchen broom and use it to "sweep" the cornices, walls and skirting boards. It only takes around 10 minutes to do the entire house, such a simple job but one that always seems to be put off.

Under the eaves and around the verandah and pergola get de-cobwebbed with a cobweb broom once a week or so. This seems enough to keep them under control and again, it only takes about 10 minutes to walk around the house dragging the brush.

To keep flies and other flying-type bugs away I moved a pot of rosemary onto the back verandah, next to the sliding door.  I made up a bug spray using just water and citronella oil in a spray bottle and sprayed liberally around the front and back doors and around the window frames.  Apparently insects don't like the taste of citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit etc). Add about 20ml of pure essential oil (the synthetics may be cheaper but they won't work) to a litre of water and give it a shake. Be liberal in your spraying and watch the spiders disappear.  Now essential oils can stain some fabrics so be careful around your curtains, carpets and furniture. And it can be irritating to animals, so keep your dog or cat away from the area while you are spraying, you don't want to burn them.

You can use this spray indoors and out. It's great in the garden shed and the garage and is perfect for bathrooms and laundries too.

The other thing we always do, and perhaps this is because we lived in Sydney, is always turn our outside shoes and boots upside down when we take them off. And we never, ever just slip a foot into a boot without first giving it a couple of good, solid shakes just in case a nasty or two have taken up residence.

Of course if you take away their new homes they'll move on. Don't stockpile paper and cardboard, keep rubbish cleared away from your house and keep bushes and trees close to your home trimmed and tidy. Keep rubbish in the rubbish bin and recycle bin, not in bags around the yard or garage.

If you are spending money on bug sprays, try de-cobwebbing and the lemon spray instead. If nothing else, your house will be cleaner and you'll have saved a few dollars.

 These four things keep our house spider and bug free, much to my relief.

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