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Old 16-07-2018, 10:34   #1
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Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

Don't know if anybody else has encountered this however, I have spider webs on top of my mast. They are on my wind instruments, on the antenna, on the lights, just everywhere at the top of the mast. I look around the marina at the other sailboats and they don't seem to have this problem. Can anything be done without climbing the mast?
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Old 16-07-2018, 13:47   #2
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Re: Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

Hi, mottseng,

I have never heard of a way to get rid of spider webs up that high without getting up there to do it. Baby spiders go sailing on a wisp of web, and land *somewhere*. As long as there's food for them, they stay. And, they'll go hide inside the mast if you try spraying soapy water up there.

They're a nuisance, their webs plug up our toe rail weep holes. I may even have to buy a feather duster!

Ann
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Old 17-07-2018, 06:50   #3
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Re: Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

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Hi, mottseng,

I have never heard of a way to get rid of spider webs up that high without getting up there to do it. Baby spiders go sailing on a wisp of web, and land *somewhere*. As long as there's food for them, they stay. And, they'll go hide inside the mast if you try spraying soapy water up there.

They're a nuisance, their webs plug up our toe rail weep holes. I may even have to buy a feather duster!

Ann
Thanks Ann, I was hoping someone had created some inventive way of getting rid of them without climbing up.
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Old 17-07-2018, 06:55   #4
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Re: Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

this occurs every year in spider baby season. they fly on their webs in winds and always get the rigging.
i just leave em. they go away. i have not seen any spideys remaining on boat after webbing goes away in the wind.
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Old 17-07-2018, 07:26   #5
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Re: Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

Cho Moonsung, at Technishe Uni Berlin, reckons spiders only go ballooning at winds speeds of 5 knots or so.

See: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Moonsung_Cho2 (scroll down to look at Cho's projects)

Erica Morley and Daniel Robert reckon that electric fields have a lot to do with spider ballooning. They say that the strands of silk get negatively charged and that repels the spiders from the negatively charged ground. See: https://www.cell.com/current-biology...822(18)30693-6 and earlier work by Peter Gorham https://arxiv.org/abs/1309.4731.

The electric field aspect might have something to do with why mottseng's mast (as opposed to other boats' masts) might be attractive. Perhaps grounding your mast might change its attractiveness to ballooning spiders? Should be easy enough to test. And could generate a publication for you.
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Old 17-07-2018, 07:30   #6
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Re: Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

Watch https://youtu.be/GRrUxi6d7so and you can hear Erica Morley tell you the story of her work
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Old 17-07-2018, 11:08   #7
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Re: Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

Not sure why your boat seems to be the happy haven for spiders, but I have had great success using permethrin to kill all insects. I would suggest spraying your halyard(s) and raise the treated halyards so as to provide a contact surface onto which the spiders may crawl onto. It lasts for several weeks even if rained upon. I use it on clothing, sail covers, ropes that are tied to dock cleats, lines and sheets, upholstery, bed covers, nooks and crannies, lockers, closets, engine rooms, carpets / rugs, and even spray the parts of the dock of my slip, so as to control all sorts of bugs. Neighboring boaters often ask what it is that I use to comparatively keep my boat bug free. It is safe for exposure to people but really does in mosquitoes, flies of all kinds [sand, horse, black, fruit, May, etc.], noseeums, ticks, gnats, moths, ants, wasps, hornets, etc. If you have a pennant halyard, you could treat a pennant and raise it up the mast and provide another surface to have spiders come into contact and which pennant will flap about and break up standing webs.

I am an arachnophobe, nothing makes me get the heebie jeebies more; decidedly a total wimp with creepy crawlies, even of daddy long legs. And I hate to go to my boat and find it covered in webs and spiders and have to clear and kill them before departure. If spiders are present, I won't step on board until I have the spray deployed and advance forward on-board towards only where I know the bugs are dead or dying. An ounce of prevention goes a longways to curing the pests. I really hate it when the tiller and control lever of an outboard has a spider hidden on it, and it crawls onto your hand when operating a boat, that being a total freak out time for this skipper. For sure a spilled beer moment and / or precursor to a crash jibe event.

It is the tall places of my standing rigging that can sometimes become a spider web display area, any part that I can reach with a tall pole or mop gets swiped clean. I don't mind it so much if the buggers stay up high in the rigging, it is when I spot them descending that I want to become a Man Over Board.

Spider webs can make a boat look like a ghost ship.

Link to a video of orb spiders at marina in Salt Lake. https://www.ksl.com/?sid=21589706

.gif like me when I walk into a spider web:

https://imgur.com/gallery/UwIy08o
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Old 17-07-2018, 11:47   #8
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Re: Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

btw--my ideal dream method of removal of spidey is flame thrower, but those are not conducive to longevity of wooden masts. so we ignore em and they go away. they also eat those lil jejenes and mosquitos that draw our blood without sterility in mind. so as much as spidey scares the livin beejeeziz out of us, we tolerate their existence on planet earth. may even provide some food for em during their tenure on my boat. does not mean i like em.
one demand i have on em.. they bite my bubba, they DIE
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Old 17-07-2018, 13:06   #9
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Re: Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

Like the idea of spraying the halyards ! Might not work, but those kids water guns with you wearing goggles .
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Old 17-07-2018, 13:39   #10
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Re: Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

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Like the idea of spraying the halyards ! Might not work, but those kids water guns with you wearing goggles .
Ha, never thought of using a soaker gun, some do have a tremendous range but that would dispense a lot of pesticide and be environmentally hazardous to fish and insect in the water if the concentration was momentarily large before diluting into the sea or lake.

I use a simple finger trigger pump spray bottle to provide a finely targeted application and it only requires a modest surface coating, not a soaking. There are also pressurized aerosol can dispensers which I have used to coat the entire inside of my camping tents.

For the halyard I would suggest applying only to the few feet that will be placed at the top of the mast and again near the bottom of the mast so as to kill spiders that may crawl up. Ditto to dock lines just apply a little near the cleats of the dock and at the boat.

Indeed you don't want to get it in your eyes, it will be irritating, one should rinse to clear if some inadvertently sprays into ones eyes. Avoid inhaling or swallowing. Common sense to minimize direct exposure. Used on your clothing its effectiveness will last about 6 weeks and will last through about 6 washing cycles.

Remember permethrin is a pesticide and goes on clothes and surfaces where bugs may come into contact, not suggested to be directly applied to one's skin. Whereas DEET or picaridin are repellants and can be applied to either skin or clothing.
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Old 17-07-2018, 13:51   #11
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Re: Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

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Originally Posted by Montanan View Post
Not sure why your boat seems to be the happy haven for spiders, but I have had great success using permethrin to kill all insects. I would suggest spraying your halyard(s) and raise the treated halyards so as to provide a contact surface onto which the spiders may crawl onto. It lasts for several weeks even if rained upon. I use it on clothing, sail covers, ropes that are tied to dock cleats, lines and sheets, upholstery, bed covers, nooks and crannies, lockers, closets, engine rooms, carpets / rugs, and even spray the parts of the dock of my slip, so as to control all sorts of bugs. Neighboring boaters often ask what it is that I use to comparatively keep my boat bug free. It is safe for exposure to people but really does in mosquitoes, flies of all kinds [sand, horse, black, fruit, May, etc.], noseeums, ticks, gnats, moths, ants, wasps, hornets, etc. If you have a pennant halyard, you could treat a pennant and raise it up the mast and provide another surface to have spiders come into contact and which pennant will flap about and break up standing webs.https://imgur.com/gallery/UwIy08o
Personally, I think all that stuff you're spraying around will do you more harm than a few creepy crawlies. I have a greater fear of people spraying chemicals all over the place. You don't REALLY know what harm they will do to you or your health. Do you REALLY believe the manufacturer when they say it is harmless? Remember when they used to say that about cigarettes & asbestos?
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Old 17-07-2018, 14:38   #12
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Re: Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

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Personally, I think all that stuff you're spraying around will do you more harm than a few creepy crawlies. I have a greater fear of people spraying chemicals all over the place. You don't REALLY know what harm they will do to you or your health. Do you REALLY believe the manufacturer when they say it is harmless? Remember when they used to say that about cigarettes & asbestos?
Moderation of exposure is a good practice.

When I was a kid . . .
back in the '60s, I recall the municipal health and safety departments driving around with huge pesticide fogging machines that would densely cover the street, push a cloud across both front yards, then top over the houses and flow far into the backyards, and all the kids in the neighborhoods would run behind it, giggling in the thick fog / mist chasing the slow moving truck. It probably contained DDT and who knows what nasty stuff. Hey, maybe that is what caused me to go bald in my late twenties. They don't do that anymore but it was ever so common back in the day. I don't recall any apparent ill effects to myself, siblings or friends but the bug population sure was minimal for a couple of weeks with a repeat dispensing say ever month during the summer.

But then I also recall the nurses giving the kids [me included] that were in-patients in the Pediatrics ward of the hospitals small amounts of mercury to play with, which mercury was gathered from broken thermometers. They would pour it into our hands and we would jostle the droplets about, place it on our trays, and roll it on the bed sheets. After a while the nurses would gather back the mercury into a small dispensing jar so as to have it available for the kids to play with again the next day. Now you can't even find a mercury thermometer and the entire ward would be quarantined and HAZMAT treated if there was a spillage of mercury, so yes, what was consider safe at one time has been shown to be dangerous.


As to permethrin.
Apply where the bugs will likely be and not where you will be, example on the halyard far up the mast. Permethrin is routinely used on clothing and many outdoor clothing products are coated at the factory and sold at retailers.
Insects are vectors of many diseases. Here in Montana, lyme, Hanta virus and West Nile virus are occasioned.
Permethrin is used in tropical areas to prevent mosquito-borne disease such as dengue fever and malaria. Mosquito nets used to cover beds may be treated with a solution of permethrin. This increases the effectiveness of the bed net by killing parasitic insects before they are able to find gaps or holes in the net. Military personnel training in malaria-endemic areas may be instructed to treat their uniforms with permethrin, as well.

Permethrin is the most commonly used insecticide worldwide for the protection of wool from keratinophagous insects [e.g., clothing moths].

Permethrin is available for topical use as a cream or lotion. It is indicated for the treatment and prevention in exposed individuals of head lice and treatment of scabies.

For treatment of scabies: Adults and children older than 2 months are instructed to apply the cream to the entire body from head to the soles of the feet. Wash off the cream after 8–14 hours. In general, one treatment is curative.

For treatment of head lice: Apply to hair, scalp, and neck after shampooing. Leave in for 10 minutes and rinse. Avoid contact with eyes.

As to spiders, well that is primarily a fear factor that I can't seem to overcome, albeit the black widows and brown recluse are problematic. Whereas snakes, for me they are no fear issue. As to Grizzly bears and mountain lions here in Montana, well we carry large canisters of Bear Spray, never leave home for traveling in the woods without it. Sometimes they are in town, like in my yard close which is a bit unnerving to see and to spot their tracks. The pepper spray sure stings one's eyes if it back drifts onto you and makes for difficulty in breathing but then that is why it is a deterrent to the predatory animals.
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Old 17-07-2018, 16:53   #13
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Re: Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

I think everyone is missing the obvious. The best way to get rid of spiderwebs in the rigging is to go sailing! Too many boats just sit collecting cobwebs. Get out there and shake them off!
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Old 17-07-2018, 19:29   #14
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Re: Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

The last guy I know that peppered a sprayed a black bear was eaten by that bear. The guys friend survived by running away
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Old 18-07-2018, 00:44   #15
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Re: Spider Webs on Top of Mast.

Reminded me of an article I read years ago.

At the beginning of the atomic age the Brits fitted BOAC aircraft with air sampling devices in order to detect whether of not the Soviets had carried out any bomb tests. When the aircraft reached cruising altitude on trans oceanic flights the filters would be opened for sampling and then closed for descent. The filters were often clogged with biological matter and the culprits were found to be small spiders. Arachnids in the jet stream?
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