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how do I get rid of garden spiders?

I know many of you will tell me to leave spiders alone since they eat destructive bugs in the garden. But you must understand, my fear of spiders borders on the psychotic. To me, those giant hideous garden spiders belong in horror movies, not my garden. When I come across one the fear I have forces me to quit gardening and leaves me upset the rest of the day. Please tell me how I can get rid of them without harming my plants or the butterflies.

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Super Green Thumb
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I don't really have much answer to your question. Use bird houses, bird baths, bird feeders to encourage lots of birds in your garden, which would be one of their main predators. Other predators of them include some wasps, praying mantises, centipedes, snakes, frogs & toads, rats and mice, groundhogs and raccoons. (That must be why I only occasionally find a garden spider, since I'm well supplied with groundhogs and raccoons.) Besides the birds, I'm not sure which of the above you would be comfortable encouraging in your garden.

But you can rid yourself of this debilitating fear. The method is called systematic desensitization. It is based on the concept that you cannot be really relaxed and afraid at the same time, they are opposite physiological states. To start with you need to learn deep muscle relaxation. If you PM me with your address, I can send you a CD I made that teaches it. Once you have practiced enough so that you can put yourself into that kind of deep relaxation state, you start pairing it with the spider. Start by doing it in your imagination. Just imagine/ visualize the spider (start with imagining it far away). As soon as you feel any fear, quit and relax yourself again. Keep practicing until that image no longer causes fear. Then imagine it a little closer and practice with that, until that image is no longer fearful. Once you can comfortably imagine standing next to the spider, then start practicing it in real life, again starting with far away where you can just see it and take little peeks.

It would be easier if you can find a therapist who practices desensitization who will do it with you, but if you are really motivated to get rid of this, you could do it on your own.

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Do you have the fat brown ones or the black and yellow one that make zigzag in their webs?

To be sure, this time of the year when they are so big and make ginormous webs spanning across nearly your entire garden (JK) they can be a shock :shock: to even spider fans like me.

I don't know how many times I've stopped dead in my tracks to avoid walking into -- and this time I'm not kidding -- enormous web between the front of the garage and the car or the tree and my garden fence, and thought about Shelob in The LOTR. (And compared to that fictional monster, a garden spider is tiny and harmless....:D)

When I do have to, I walk around with a broom so I can break the webs, though I let the spider alone to build a new web and defend my garden.

Really. Does it not help to think about ALL the bugs you'd be plagued by if it weren't for the spider? I tell my bug-phobic daughter to imagine all the bugs the spider has eaten to get as big as it did. She doesn't like spiders either, but can appreciate that aspect and can coo over the baby spiders and encourage it to get big and strong (just stay out of her way :wink: ).

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Sorry, there really isn't an answer you are going to like. You can carry a broom with you out into the garden and from a distance remove their web, that often encourages them to move, but not always. You can put on long leather gloves and kill them, that way they can't bite. That is what I have to do, I have been bitten by the hairy ones too often and get really swollen up if they bite me, or better yet have your significant other put on long leather gloves and kill them for you. Anything you spray on them will hurt other things. By all means if they are large and hairy get rid of them.

Super Green Thumb
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Toads and chickens are the answer! I hate the big red and yellow ones in late fall. I get rid of the big ones in the center of the garden with a gum band or my bb gun! Sorry but snakes and spiders of certain types I get rid of!

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Have you ever tried using food grade diatomaceous earth in the garden?

I sprinkle it around the base of my plants to keep pests away.

It is a natural substance that kills crawling insects by lacerating their exoskeletons and dehydrating them. It is a very interesting product and has many uses.

I also mix the powder with water and spray it on my plants (as long as I have no bees, as it may harm them). It works great for nearly all garden pests including spiders!

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Green Thumb
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I have concerns about using diatomaceous earth. Just how does it know the difference from lacerating the "bad" bug from the good ones once it's in the soil. And not only used in the soil, it is known to be given rated specialties from "pool" to "food". How can one product be safe to eat one moment and then sprayed on your intereior walls of your home the next. They just give this honeycomb crystalized plant cell a name that sounds like the best thing given to man. Just like organic products that claim that they are but just isn't...Come to think about it would this product be safe even to breath around...Just wondering about it's use.

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In my experience I've always found the less toxic or more organic stuff like diatomaceous earth to be not really a panacea but rather an improved option if like the op you're unable to deal with the problem of say spiders any other way. It's true that these products can still harm the beneficial bugs, but in some cases that's an acceptable risk that you have to take in my opinion.

Also I've never really had any adverse reactions to applying the stuff, although your mileage may vary, especially if you have ashtma or some other respiratory problem. In such cases I'd advise wearing a thin mask or respirator, just to err on the side of caution.

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Super Green Thumb
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diatomaceous earth is only harmful to soft bodied creatures that crawl over it. So it does not harm lady bugs or honey bees or anything that doesn't crawl and it does not harm earthworms which are big and tough.

The pool filter grade DE has been heated and treated so it is different from food grade DE. Food grade DE has been FDA approved to be added to grains to control mealworms and such. So you probably have eaten it without even being aware.

You would want to be careful about breathing the dust.

It is also a mined product and not really a renewable resource, since it is fossilized remains of diatoms. So I'm sure we are using it up way faster than any new can be created.

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Location: Warren County, Tennessee

My husband hates spiders more than I do. I want to plant things near my house, in containers and in the ground, but he is afraid the clutter will attract spiders. Last year we did have about 4 Black Widow spiders. All of them died a horrible death. One I killed was ground into the dirt, legs in about eight different directions (I don't like those spiders). Will the plants attract more spiders? What are some things I can do to attract toads? Anyone have and Toad Abode plans?

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Location: Lexington, KY.

I captured a Black-Widow in a rock pile last Fall and kept it in a fancy mustard jar on the kitchen windowsill all Winter long. They are quite interesting little creatures. Learning about the little guys takes an awful lot of the fear away too.

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do you have night lights around the garden? Spiders gather around gardens because of the bugs and I believe the light attracts the bugs. Try remove lighting elsewhere if you have some.

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