How do I get rid of spiders from my Toyota Prius and VW Golf?

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Q. A colony of spiders has made its home in the wing mirrors of my Toyota Prius and my wife’s Volkswagen Golf. They have now begun invading the engine compartment and boot. I have tried blasting them with water jets and compressed air but that only breaks their webs. Any suggestions?
BLS, Brighton

A. Spiders are always looking for somewhere dark and undisturbed to nest and lay eggs. Wing mirrors are ideal, especially on cars that are left undisturbed for several days at a time. Spiders are also partial to dirt (it gives their eggs something to stick to), so a dusty or oily engine bay will appeal.

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Don’t use a pressure washer in the engine bay as you risk getting water in the complex and costly electronics. Instead, use a stiff brush. Look out for eggs; they’ll be encased in a silken web that looks like a small piece of cotton wool.

To prevent the spiders from reinfesting the cleaned car, a simple and environmentally friendly form of defence is to create a spider-repelling mixture of about four drops of peppermint oil or citronella to one litre of water (both are available in pharmacies or health food shops for the cost of a few pounds).

Spiders have taste buds on the tips of their legs and they hate these chemicals. Spray carefully around the under-bonnet area, being careful to keep clear of any electrics, and the door mirrors. Do the tyres, too, to discourage spiders from climbing up.

To avoid an invasion of the cabin, make sure all the rubber seals for doors and hatches are in good order and use a cotton bud to apply the mixture around them, as well as the air-conditioning vents and in the footwells. 
Sunday Times Driving car clinic expert: Dave Pollard

Dave Pollard has written several Haynes manuals and has tested just about every car-related accessory – read more from Dave here.

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