soapy water and spiders

fairy_toadmotherJuly 2, 2005

does anyone know if soapy water (dishsoap) kills spiders? i hope not, since they are in the wrong place at the wrong time- between me and an earwig.

i also sprayed one thinking it was a tick, and thinking if it was a spider it would die b/c spiders are soft-bodied. it didn't seem to be affected. it was a test, actually, like witch trials. if it didn't die i would assume it was a tick. i now think it was an immature crab spider, so they are on parole.

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There is that possibility. Keep in mind that the insecticidal soap sprays, while a contact poiosn are not immediate in action, it takes time to disolve the insects body. One of the major advantages of a contact poison such as insecticidal soaps is that you need to be eyeing your target to hit it, although sometimes beneficials can get in the way.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 7:02AM
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thank you! this is exactly what i was wondering. i didn't think soapy water had a residual affect. if it does, i probably killed all the bumblebees that may land the next morning, as well :(

and, what exactly is it about dishsoap that kills? i have heard of it causing dessication, thus killing. however, it kills earwigs within seconds (i have watched). the spiders walk away seemingly unaffected, or a delayed response. spiders look like they have a softer body than an earwig, my theory being the softer the body the more affected by soap. i recently experienced that earwigs are not as hard as they appear (i usually refuse to touch them, but i have grabbed a couple to ensure they didn't escape). i hope the spiders are unaffected! i also know that a drop of dishsoap in water containing mosquito larvae will kill the larvae.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 5:31PM
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The fatty acids in the soap (which is why you need to use real soap, not detergents) disolves the target insects exoskeleton and it dessicates, drys up. I'm not sure why it works quickly on some and very slowly on others and not at all, apparently, on still more, but I know it works so slowly, if at all, on Japanese Beetles (for example) as to be ineffective.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 7:00AM
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thank you! that helps explain things (fatty acids, etc.)

funny how different groups always suggest "lemon scented." i have always been sure the effect had nothing to do with the scent, fragrance not to be confused with an essential oil.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 7:56PM
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Some people say to use "lemon scented" soaps because real lemon juice is an insect repellent. The "lemon scented" stuff however uses an artificial lemon scent and the insects know the difference.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 5:46PM
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funny how gullible we can be, yet "we" have bigger brains than the insects!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 8:31PM
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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

YouÂre welcome Toots!

Traditional, pure soaps are made from fatty acids obtained from animal fats or plant oils. In insecticidal soaps such as SaferÂs, certain types of fatty acids have been selected and concentrated in order to increase effectiveness of the soap and to minimize adverse effects on plants; otherwise these soaps are no different from traditional, pure mild soaps and they are safe to use.

Ivory Liquid Dish Soap is pure, mild and gentle, whatever, donÂt use extra strength, grease-cutting, or anti-bacterial soap, these kinds have added chemicals and may do more harm to your plants.

Just be aware that although homemade remedy soap solutions or brand name insecticidal soaps say that they are organic/ natural and safe to use, they will only work on contact and sometimes the good beneficial bugs can get in the way. Don't go nuts and spray your whole garden, go to only those plants that are in desire need and spot spray making sure to get under the leaves as well.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 2:22AM
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its a-live! :)

absolutely on spot spraying. i am extra careful to not get sleeping bees. however, i have not bumblebee nest in my shed this year, no squash blooms, not even my sunflowers germinated. so, not many bees! :(

thanks for the further clarifications!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 4:25AM
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