Imagine the scenario; you invite some friends round for dinner and they sit down on the wicker outdoor chairs. Then suddenly one of them screams and leaps up – loads of tiny spiders running down her arm. Alarming I know, but it could happen.
Wicker patio furniture definitely does attract spiders. They love hiding in it, find it easy to weave their webs in, around and under it – and all those gaps between the rattan make the perfect place for hundreds of baby spiders to hatch.
So let’s look in more detail at why spiders and other bugs love your wicker outdoor furniture, and dive into some ways of deterring them from making your patio chairs their permanent home.
Why Does Wicker Attract Spiders?
Spiders love wicker furniture. Well, so do we, but for very different reasons. That intricate weave is the perfect place for spiders to hide, it provides good purchase for webs, and those little gaps make super-safe spaces for baby spiders to hatch.
Now, most of us aren’t happy with the idea of a spider starting her nursery on our furniture, and would really rather she didn’t. How can we prevent our wicker furniture from attracting spiders?
One of the many attractive things about a wicker patio set is that it isn’t often disturbed. Unlike our indoor chairs and couch, we rarely give our yard furniture a good clean or dust. This means that spiders can move in undisturbed.
We’ve mentioned previously how low maintenance synthetic wicker furniture is, which is definitely a plus point. However, when it does need tending, it’s quite a fiddly texture to clean thoroughly.
A regular clean with soapy water and an old toothbrush will reach all those fiddly crevices and stop spiders from settling in. Likewise, keep the outside cushions clean and looked after, and take them indoors at night.
Spiders also love mess and clutter: it’s perfect to hide in, and attracts tasty flies. Keeping your patio clean and tidy will help to cut down on visiting arachnids.
If you have natural rattan wicker furniture, it’s probably kept indoors so it isn’t as easy for spiders to take up residence. A regular dusting with a soft toothbrush should be enough to stop house spiders moving into your rattan.
If you take your organic wicker out onto the porch or into the yard for the day, give it a good shake before you bring it indoor again.
How Do You Keep Spiders Out of Wicker Furniture?
There are plenty of natural ways to keep spiders out of your wicker furniture. While spiders may love to snuggle into those cosy woven nooks, they are easily put off a potential new home by its smell.
Despite spiders having eight eyes, their eyesight isn’t too good; however, they do have a very good sense of smell (through sensors on their legs) and can be pretty fussy about scents.
A spritzer filled with water and a few drops of peppermint oil will repel picky arachnids, who don’t like a minty-fresh fragrance. The old housewives’ tale that spiders hate chestnuts also seems to be true, so pop a discreet line of them underneath your wicker sofa. Other natural sprays worth trying are tea tree and lavender: which if nothing else, will make your patio smell lovely.
We’ve also heard that spiders stay away from oranges, so an orange oil spritz is another nice-smelling solution. In fact, citrus period is a nasty smell as far as spiders are concerned, so you can scatter used citrus peel near your furniture from time to time (taking care to remove it before it gets moldy). Likewise, they hate cedar chips, so get a bag or two to use as top-dressing for your patio pot plants.
Another deterrent smell (they are fussy little critters, aren’t they?) is tobacco – but of course, we’re not suggesting anyone takes up smoking to keep spiders at bay. You can always roll up little balls of baccy and keep them in muslin bags under the cushions. If all else fails, you can always get a kitten. They love chasing spiders. (Just watch out for bitey varieties…)
Does Wicker Patio Furniture Attract Other Types of Bugs?
Yes, wicker does attract other bugs, and for the same reasons that spiders love it. Its woven structure creates perfect little hiding holes for critters to nestle in; and because those nooks are hard to clean, bugs can stay there safely.
Just like spiders like their young to hatch inside that cozy weave, so bugs choose to lay their eggs in your wicker patio furniture. This of course can start an insect infestation: the last thing you want when you’re settling down outside with a sundowner.
So who wants to move into your beloved patio set? Mites, fleas, ants, termites, wasps, woodworm, beetles will all happily make their homes in your wicker, safe from predators and with their own tiny nest already made for them within the weave. It must be like moving into a brand-new, furnished condo.
Any pest that nests will move into wicker furniture. The Bostrichid powderpost beetle is a big fan of the wicker weave, and they’ll even choose it over their natural habitat, wood. They’re small, but boy, are they prolific. At the larger end of the pest scale, even mice will try to make a home in the weave or cushions.
You may not even see your tiny new neighbors; but signs they’ve moved in include nests, webs (possibly with dead flies in them), piles of dirt, greenery or shavings, poop, or stains.
How Do You Keep Bugs Off Your Wicker Patio Furniture?
As with spiders, the key to keeping bugs at bay is to prevent them from moving in (or at least, from getting too comfortable). This means good and regular housekeeping. We’d recommend vacuuming your furniture to suck dust and dirt out of all those little crevices. Then, wash it with water and a gentle soap.
Dip an old toothbrush in the soapy water, then use it to reach inside those little gaps. Yes, we know this sounds tedious, but trust us, it’s far easier than trying to evict a large family of Bostrichid powderpost beetle. Choose a sunny day, pour a nice juice, put on some music, and get to work with the toothbrush (or pay the kids).
If you have outdoor cushions on your wicker couch and chairs, check them regularly for signs of infestation, and try to put them away at night. When you store your furniture and cushions over winter, make sure they’re bug-free first.
In spite of all these magnificent efforts, sometimes a bug or two gets through, and decides to start a family in your furniture. Bad luck. However, as with the spiders, there are plenty of natural remedies you can try.
But… If you have a wasp or bee family move in, best to call in the pest experts. You really don’t want to get into a tenancy argument with anything that has a sting.
Like their spider neighbors, most bugs hate mint, so a mint spritz will deal with both types of pests. A water and vinegar spray is another good deterrent (add mint if the scent repels you, too).
We all burn citronella candles to keep mosquitoes away in the evenings. Get some citronella oil as well, and dilute it to form a spray. You can also try a commercial bug remover spray (just make sure it won’t damage your wicker finish or harm your pets).
For a cute way to keep the bugs away, try to attract lizards to your yard (this works better in hotter states, of course). A pond is a great way to lure in a lizard, and it’s amazing how many spiders and bugs these little guys can eat. Ladybugs are similarly useful, as all gardeners know. You can buy ladybugs if you don’t naturally have many.
Lighting attracts insects, so keep your patio lights off when you don’t need them, and think about switching to a warmer bulb (bugs prefer cool-colored lights).
Conclusion: How to Get Rid of Bugs in Wicker Furniture
If you want to keep on good terms with your family, friends and neighbors – you gotta keep those spiders and bugs out of your wicker patio furniture. And the best way to do this is simply by hoovering your wicker outdoor furniture.
As we’ve described, critters of all types like hiding, nesting and procreating in the weave of natural rattan and synthetic wicker – especially spiders.
So if you don’t want your next evening meal in the yard to resemble something from Halloween – with baby spiders crawling all over your guests – then it pays to try and keep them away.
Unless of course it is Halloween, you’re feeling mean and you want to prank them 🙂
Homeowner and property investor Larry Jones founded Take a Yard in 2020 to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >