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Old 04-03-2016, 08:36   #1
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How to get rid of bugs and spiders?

Hello Everyone, I hope you're all well and surviving the winter.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get keep spiders and other bugs off a sailboat - inside and out? My girlfriend has a really bad bug phobia, to put it mildly, and to keep us both sane and happy, I need to figure out a way to deal with this issue or I won't be sailing much this coming summer. She can't see or be near them.

To give you and idea of what I'm dealing with, she once jumped out of a moving car while driving because a spider came down in front of her face. She also screamed and left the room when we watched Harry Potter because she saw a spider on the TV, then had night terrors all night. Funny enough, she is okay with flying bugs, just not the ones that crawl.

I have ordered a new companion way screen and hatch cover. I'm also going to try to seal all through hulls. Do you have any other suggestions? I don't want to use too harsh of chemicals in fear of breathing them in.

Thank you. I greatly appreciate any feedback.


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Old 04-03-2016, 08:51   #2
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Re: How to get rid of bugs and spiders??

Welcome to CF!

Originally Posted by Blair1 View Post
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get keep spiders and other bugs off a sailboat - inside and out? My girlfriend has a really bad bug phobia,
I hate pretty much every creature with more then four legs and/or lacking a spinal cord ... I'm not willing to kill myself to get away from them, but I have been know to sleep in the salon cos there was a spider in the V-berth ...

Having said that: keeping spiders OUSTIDE is very, very useful to keep many other creatures out of your boat.

It's also impossible to have a spider-free boat ... But getting rid of mast, boom and sails will help lots, haha!

In the Netherlands, it's illegal to use any kind of spray etc. to kill spiders, so I always buy my spray in Germany You said you don't want spray, but that is pretty much the only way to go -- tho I use it outside only.

It's called ARDAP and I use it to keep spiders and many other creepy crawlers out of the cockpit, dodger and other areas I use a lot. Works for about 6 weeks, then I need to spray again.

Edit: use it in the nooks and crannies where they like to set up shop, do NOT spray it around randomly. For example, I spray it in the zippers of the dodger, not on the whole thing.

While it will kill whatever doesn't scurry or fly away, most creepy crawlers opt to haul a$$ when I'm spraying so I'm only killing the slow ones who fail to notice for some reason. I guess their days were numbered anyway

Not sure which countries sell ARDAP or under what name (nor if it's legal to use!), but it works like a charm.

*google, google*

You never said where you're from, so can't give any "local" advice. You may want to fill out your profile a bit more

Seriously, I would suggest some sort of therapy for your GF. Not trying to be mean here, but this sounds like it's way beyond a "normal" fear of spiders and such. There are many therapies that only take an afternoon, and will make a world of difference - for both of you.

"Il faut ętre toujours ivre." - Charles Baudelaire
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:55   #3
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Re: How to get rid of bugs and spiders??

Sorry to hear you probably need a more sane, sensible GF. But if that is not a current viable option you can have the boat 'bug bombed' then move to the middle of the ocean.

Other than that you can spary all nooks and cranies every week with normal but spray. This will keep the number of bugs/spiders down but there is no way I know of to eliminate them completely other than my 1st suggestion.

Typically what happens is you can spray them,wait until you start to see bugs again then spray again.

I have tried to kill every ant I saw since I was two years old. There are still ants.

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Old 04-03-2016, 09:04   #4
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pirate Re: How to get rid of bugs and spiders??

Get her a Gecko for her B'day.
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I exist to live my life in a way that will make me happy. ”

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Old 04-03-2016, 09:06   #5
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Re: How to get rid of bugs and spiders??

Spiders and some other bugs don't like the scent of Tea Tree Oil which is an essential oil that has several helpful properties around boats. You can try to mix up a batch of "natural spider repellent" using tea tree oil, water and a bit of dish soap. A tiny amount of soap will break up the electrical bond of the oil molecules and keep it mixed with the water. Us a rag or sprayer to put it around the companion opening or other places where a spider might crawl into the boat. You probably will have to experiment with the ratio of tea tree oil to water but a drop or two per ounce should be enough. Rain will disperse it so you may have to treat regularly to be effective.

Tea tree oil can be used as an odor remover too. You can buy it at most drug stores (Nature's Bounty Tea Tree Oil Natural Antiseptic | Walgreens) in their "natural products" aisle.

You will never get rid of the spiders hiding in sails, canvas coverings, and other outside hiding places. They are feeding on the other more misery causing bugs so they are actually our friends. But saying that won't help your GF's phobia so I sympathize with your problem.
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:31   #6
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Re: How to get rid of bugs and spiders??

Hi Blair Welcome aboard. Not sure where you are but my wife HATES spiders. One of the people at or club said Bounce drier sheets worked. They do, life is better now. You have to use actual Bounce sheets, no spiders in the boat and it smells nice.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:07   #7
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Re: How to get rid of bugs and spiders??

The first thing to be aware of is that almost all species of spiders eat other bugs. In reality, they're a good thing to have, because they will help to control other bugs that get into your food. That said, I understand that some people just have a "thing" about spiders. Fine. But the point is that if you want to get rid of spiders, the first thing you have to do is get rid of the other bugs. And the way to get rid of the other bugs is to make sure they have no food source.

You have to repackage food into containers that bugs absolutely cannot get into. You have to be meticulous about cleaning up after yourself, especially any dropped crumbs or the like. You have to NOT bring anything packaged in cardboard onto the boat--repackage it before bringing it aboard. You have to keep yourself, your clothes, and your linens all very clean. And so on.

Then, as mentioned, you can "bug bomb" the boat and that should take care of the problem for a while. Not permanently. There is no permanent solution to this.

Good luck.

Also--I have to say it--jumping out of a moving car because you were startled by a spider is just insane. I honestly think your girlfriend needs some professional help to deal with her absurd and dangerous phobia.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:24   #8
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Re: How to get rid of bugs and spiders??

It is hard enough to keep bugs out of the boat but I doubt there is any way to keep them off the deck. can not even keep whales off a sailboat deck.

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Old 04-03-2016, 10:45   #9
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Re: How to get rid of bugs and spiders??

Get yourself a couple of RAID Fumigators . They are not bug bombs but a fog. They release this fog that penetrates all the cracks and crevices.Open up all the areas of the boat that you can,so the fog can penetrate. It doesn't use spray droplets like the bombs everywhere.
We use a couple of these once a year. And that's all you need for the interior. You won't see any bugs or spiders anywhere. I know you were concerned about breathing in the chemicals. You need to leave the boat and close it up, while the fog does its job. But when it's all said and done. You open up the boat let it air out. There's nothing to breathe in.Just follow the straightforward directions. Can't really help you on the outside. Not much of a spider problem.

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Old 04-03-2016, 23:33   #10
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Re: How to get rid of bugs and spiders??

Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Get her a Gecko for her B'day.
Way to go bro, gecko's is kool
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:06   #11
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Re: How to get rid of bugs and spiders?

Green house sulphur candle.

Place on metal tray.

Open all doors cupboards etc.

Light it and close boat hatches.

Vacate boat and leave it for several hours.

Ventilate well when done.
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:14   #12
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Re: How to get rid of bugs and spiders?

Blair, as I'm sure you know, your girl has an irrational fear of the crawly critters. And I have a former girlfriend who was the same. Bear with me a moment and I'd like to suggest to address the fear through a conversation with her.

This type of reaction usually goes back to early childhood. Ask her about it. Slowly, casually, ask questions without ever saying it's irrational, get over it, etc. Don't dwell on it long. Maybe several times over a few months it can come up without seeming planned.

It worked for me. Turns out my ex had a father who thought it was funny to throw a "grand daddy long legs" spider on her when she was a child. He laughed, she screamed. Did it more than once, he was a sob.

I also let them crawl up my arm on purpose while she watched a couple of times. I could see it was working.

Decades of irrational fear ended when she came to realize where it started, and had been pushed back in her memory with only the knee jerk fear remaining.

And she was quite amazed the fear was gone and thanked me for it several times over the years.

Never know, it might work for you.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:04   #13
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Re: How to get rid of bugs and spiders?

The best way to get rid of them is to do a two step. On the topsides, I use regular bug spray, the Ortho stuff with the sprayer tip you find at Home Depot. Do it every 2 - weeks during the season. Spray everywhere that bugs can hide. Don't spray onto the cushions, or on the decks... just the seams, cracks, etc.

The insides are a little bit more problematic. I use the tea tree oil. It is fantastic. You do need to dilute it as another post has mentioned. Spray it in all the corners, on the headliner, and then wipe down all wood surfaces with the oil undiluted. This stuff is anit-fungal, and keeps the mold away. I happen to like the smell, so it's a double bene -- no bugs, no mold, nice smelling boat. Also, if you are really really wanting to zap them, use the Ortho in all the corners and seams, and around where they hide. Be sparing, remember this stuff is really toxic.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:19   #14
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Re: How to get rid of bugs and spiders?

My other half hates spiders but had a few sessions of hypnotherapy which did seem to have an affect.
No more screaming and making like a windmill whenever there's a spider around.
The other thing that seems to have worked is a concoction made from conkers (Horse Chestnuts) Its available as a spray but I daresay that you could easily make your own from boiled up conkers.
Apparently spiders don't like it.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:22   #15
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Re: How to get rid of bugs and spiders?

Got the same problem with spiders/bugs (GF is fine ) still annoying all nets etc. I did a bit different approach, боугхт a sound thing similar to the one on the link below, works like а charm no spiders or bugs, one in the engine room was good enough for 40 feet cat, thought мay be one more inside the boat, no need so far

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