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I am my families nominated spider catcher. Anything with 8 legs becomes my problem as soon as it is spotted. I wouldn't say that spiders are my favourite animal, but I don't wish them any harm either, and harm is exactly what they will get if I don't remove them from the house! For that reason, I was intrigued to see some electronic spider repellers available for sale on Amazon. I decided they would be worth buying before the autumn began, as that is when the dreaded "big blacks" tend to put in their appearance in our home.. After some research, I ended up with the model I am reviewing today - the Good Selections Whole House Spider & Pest Repeller, which cost £10.79 at the time.
WHY THAT MODEL?
There were several models to choose from on Amazon. Some were being marketed mostly as a spider deterent., others as a more general pest control device. Almost all had mixed reviews, so I decided to go for the cheapest that was available for free delivery. I had ruled out a few that would only be effective in one room, as I thought that the spiders would simply move a little distance away, rather than out the house! I didn't want to buy one for every room in the house anyway, as that would up the cost considerably. ["Whole house" is defined in the Amazon listing as 2,500 square feet, and 250 square metres in the leaflet that came with the device.]
HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO WORK
The repeller is mains powered, and plugs into a standard wall socket. I liked the idea of something that I could just stick in and forget about, rather than something I needed to remember to turn off and on. According to the product description, it doesn't cost much to run per day - "less than 1.5p" - which is important for something that needs to be on all day and night. It is supposed to repel spiders as well as cockroaches, mice and rats. Thankfully, I do not currently need to worry about any of the last three. It works through both ultrasonic and electromagnetic technology. The ultrasonic waves are said to create a noisy environment that drives pests away, while the electromagnetic waves are said to put off pest hiding in the "cracks and walls" of your house. These waves travel around the home using the electric wiring. It is listed as safe for pets with the exception of tarantulas, gerbils, guinea pigs, chinchillas, minks, mice and rats. The dogs that I was dog sitting showed no sign of being aware of the devices presence.
INSTALLATION - PLUGGING IT IN!
The device arrived in a small plain box with a basic information leaflet. You don't really need any more than that as it is very simple to get going and use. All you have to do is find a spare socket, and pop it in. The instructions say it must not be obstructed or covered up, and it can't be used outdoors. It is also recommended that you plug it into the socket "near to the place the pests appear". This may be easy to define if you have a mouse problem and an obvious access hole, but is harder with spiders that pop up everywhere in our house. This is one reason that the traditional repellent method of using conkers doesn't work for us, we would need to cover our home in them! As the device is supposed to cover the whole house, I didn't see it should really matter which socket you use. It is supposed to work silently after all. In the end, I choose a socket in one of the bedrooms that doesn't get used much. It isn't the most attractive looking object so you may not want to have it on display anyway. It looks like an oval shaped and oversized plug in air freshener. The plastic outer casing is clear, so you can see the electronic parts inside. I probably would have guessed it was some kind of pest repeller even if I didn't know what it was. The other thing to bear in mind when positioning it, is the fact it omits an occasional red glow. This is to show that the electromagnetic wave is currently working, as an intermittant effect apparently works best. The light looks bright in the dark, but it is only on for a few seconds at a time.
IT'S ON BUT IS IT WORKING?
The instructions note that the first time you use this, you may find that there is a temporary increase in spiders and other pests. Yes, increase. This is due to the fact they are making their way out of the hiding places that you have made uncomfortable. [The device doesn't kill them.] When I told my mum this, she was horrified and asked me not to use the repeller until she had gone away for the weekend. Thankfully, we didn't actually have any kind of spider explosion! I went around the house and noted where the daddy long legs were - two in the downstairs hallway. I then switched in the device, which made a loud squeek. That is the only sound we heard from it though. I know it is supposed to be silent but we previously had a one-room mice sonic repeller that was supposed to be the same. My sister and I could hear it beeping the whole time! I went out for a few hours, and when I came back, the daddy long legs were resting seemingly undisturbed. They remained as such until I ferried them outside a few days later. [Well, to the shed anyway, I am too soft hearted to put them out in the cold!].
The most important spider we wanted to deter was those large black ones that come inside in the autumn for the winter, and are spotted again in the spring heading back outside. We normally have to get rid of at least 3 by the middle of October, but this year we have had none. I have lived in this house for 15 years and I have never known a year without those spiders before. Could it be down to the repeller? It could be, but the daddy long legs didn't seem troubled. They haven't been replaced by any others though, which is also unusual. Perhaps the first pair were deaf!
WOULD I RECOMMEND THE REPELLER?
I am sure we have had fewer spiders overall, although it also didn't remove all the ones we knew we had at the start. A mixed bag then. At £10.79, it doesn't cost much to give it a try. At worst it is occupying a socket and costs a couple of pence a day to run. At best it may just make a difference. For someone like my mum who hates spiders, it is a comforting presence and she checks often that no one has switched it off. She didn't find spider prevention sprays very cost effective because so much needs to be used - and then re-applied so the sonic repeller has proved a useful alternative. Worth a try!
[This review also appears on Ciao under my user name.]