How to Keep Spiders OFF My Pergola: Miss Muffet Strikes Back

You’ve spent a great deal of time and money beautifying your backyard with a pergola. The design came out perfectly and the setup is the envy of your neighborhood. You couldn’t wait for it to be completed so you could enjoy family dinners al fresco on warm nights, or lazy afternoons in a cozy patio chair with a cool drink and a good book. Everything seems ready to go until: SPIDERS!

Somewhere around 5% of Americans suffer from arachnophobia, or the fear of spiders. However, you don’t need to have nightmares about these eight-legged critters to want them off your pergola. Nothing ruins an outdoor gathering like the creepy sensation of something climbing across the top of your foot or the back of your neck.

Thankfully, there are a few simple tricks you can do to keep your pergola spider-free. We are going to dive right in with tips that help you tackle this all too common problem.

Decorate Pergola With Natural Spider Repellents

Things that exist in nature generally have natural enemies, including spiders. If you have a green thumb and want to spruce up the area around your pergola.

planting mint around pergola can help keep spiders off
Plant Mint at Base of Pergola Posts to Dissuade Spiders

For a natural approach to keeping spiders off your pergola decorate the base of the posts with these spider repelling plants:

  • eucalyptus
  • lemongrass
  • lavender
  • mint

If your posts are sunk into concrete, adding the above in potted plants is another option. Alternatively, include at least one variety in every hanging plant basket on your pergola.

But I Already Have Spiders!

If you need spiders gone yesterday, look for fully-grown plants that can be easily transferred to your yard. A bonus of this method is that you can use all of these plants for cooking or homeopathic remedies, too! 

For those who lack a green thumb, you can use essential oils of lavender, eucalyptus, or lemon to repel spiders. Invest in an oil diffuser and add new oil as needed to keep the scent fresh and the spiders away.

Will Ultrasonic Pest Devices Work for a Pergola?

Hardware stores and online retailers sell ultrasonic pest repellent. The upside to these devices is that they promise to eliminate spiders as well as other critters, such as mosquitoes and fleas.

The downside is that most of them need to be plugged in, so if you don’t have an electrical outlet near your pergola they might not be helpful. There are newer solar versions of pest devices but they don’t seem to be geared toward spiders. We’ll keep an eye on that and let you know if anything sounds promising.

Additionally, if you are in a heavy rain area, be sure to check out exterior grade ultrasonic upest repellants. They may cost a little more up front, but they have sturdy, weatherproof housing and should last several seasons without issue.

Spraying Pergolas with Chemical Spider Repellent

The words “all-natural” might not fill you with confidence when it comes to repelling spiders. When that’s the case you’ll want something stronger.

There is no shortage of outdoor spider sprays on the market right now. Make sure you read the labels before choosing yours. Consider the amount of spray you’ll need, how long the solution claims to last, whether or not the chemical is intended for outdoor use, and whether or not pets or children will be interacting with sprayed surfaces.

Some chemical repellents come in an aerosol can that’s easy to spray in long lengths around the perimeter of your pergola. Others come in spray bottles that are better for a quick dab in corners and cracks. Whatever you choose, make sure to read the directions carefully for maximum spider control.

One other problem with using chemicals is how far the spray can travel. If you or neighbors have a vegetable garden or aquatic life such as ponds, you should cover them before applying these harsh chemicals.

Decluttering Reduces Spiders

Spring clean your yard the same way you spring clean your home: get rid of anything that’s broken, cracked, or otherwise useless. Move the firewood to a closed container or shed. Look for piles of debris, including trash, fallen branches, or big piles of molding leaves.

Spiders love to make homes anywhere out of the way, and the last thing you need is an unpleasant surprise when you go to start a grill for a summer barbeque under the pergola.

Avoid leaving children’s toys outside for too long: spiders can make homes in the little crevices. Wolf spiders especially love hanging out in junk piles. If you need to get rid of them, check out this article.

It might be worth investing in a large outdoor storage bin that seals tight between uses. Without places to make their homes, spiders will naturally stay out of your yard and away from your pergola.

Fill Pergola Cracks and Crevices

For the same reason you should keep your yard clutter-free, consider doing a thorough search around your pergola for any cracks or gaps. Over time, wood cracks. These are easily filled up with store-bought caulk or steel wool (make sure you wear protective gloves to tuck this into cracks).

Be sure to check all surface areas of your pergola, as you don’t want to miss a spot. Not only will this keep spiders off your pergola by eliminating potential homes for them, but it’ll keep water damage and other pests out.

As your pergola ages through the seasons and years, keep an eye on the wood panels and joints for new cracks as they develop. Remember that hot and cold extremes, as well as long days of rain, can add breaks where there might not have been any last summer or even last week.

Without stressing yourself out, it’s worth doing a quick once-over now and then, and keep some caulk on hand for new splits in any surface.

Avoid Wicker Furniture

With all the nooks and crannies naturally formed by wicker furniture, they might as well be called luxury spider hotels. As beautiful and comfortable as those wicker chairs and tables might be, stop and consider whether they are worth the trouble of potentially attracting spiders who need to lay eggs and weave webs.

If you do buy wicker furniture, or if you already have some under your pergola, you’ll absolutely want to invest in some hardcore spider repellent spray. Make sure the furniture is clean and dry before applying; you might need to ask the least squeamish member of your household to do a thorough check of any existing spider webs or egg sacs.

For more on this topic, we’ve included lots of tips for keeping spiders off wicker so be sure to read our in-house article: Does Wicker Attract Bugs?

Conclusion: Don’t Panic

While enjoying your beautiful pergola, spiders are probably the last thing you want to be spoiling the party. When it comes to keeping spiders off your pergola, the best defense is a good offense.

Liven up your garden with aromatic plants that give off scents spiders hate. Make all-natural spray by mixing water with essential oils of lavender, eucalyptus, or lemon, or purchase a decorative oil diffuser.

A little bit of legwork at the hardware store will help you pick out an ultrasonic device or if needed, a chemical spider repellent. Keep your yard tidy and pay attention to the condition of your pergola.

For best results, combine all of these methods. You’ll have a clutter-free yard, a well-maintained pergola, a pleasant smelling area, and best of all, a spider-free outdoor pergola experience.

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