As a mild arachnophobe I am among those for whom the start of Autumn brings a sense of dread – spider season.

Each year, thousands of creepy crawlies invade our homes and every year I look for ways to keep them out.

Spiders appear a lot more around homes during the autumn months due to mating season, so males are often seeking a partner.

As the weather cools this means they are doing so inside homes as the conditions are drier than outdoors.

Messenger Newspapers: The idea is that spiders will be deterred from entering the home due to the smell of the oil on the surfaces they are likely to encounter firstThe idea is that spiders will be deterred from entering the home due to the smell of the oil on the surfaces they are likely to encounter first (Image: Asda)

With that in mind, a £1.40 hack to supposedly keep spiders out of your house caught my attention this year.

Cheap, available from most supermarkets or online, and simple to apply, could peppermint oil hold the answers to my spider problems?

After purchasing the oil from Asda, I mixed it with water to make a spray that I could spray onto curtains, windowsills, doorframes and the corners of carpets.

The idea is that spiders will be deterred from entering the home due to the smell of the oil on the surfaces and entrances they are likely to encounter first.

Jess Steele, heating technology expert at designer radiator specialists BestHeating, explained the theory behind the hack: “Peppermint oil provides a strong smell and spiders are sensitive to them which makes it an effective yet cheap method of taking away the worry of finding creepy crawlies all over the home, without causing harm to them.”

But does it work?

Living in a relatively rural part of Wales I see no shortage of spiders invading the house at this time of year, and even before I sprayed the peppermint oil, I had already come face to face with some of my bigger house guests – literally in one case as he made himself comfortable on a bedroom pillow.

However, since spraying the oil around entrances and on curtains, the frequency of their visits has been much lower, as has the size of the guest.

And the results have had no ill impact on living in the house, with the smell being so faint as to not attract my attention.

For particularly spider infested homes, it is also recommended you soak some cotton buds in the peppermint spray to place around areas they like to congregate, such as on top of wardrobes.

What is spider mating season?

Female spiders are known to stay in one place for all of their lives, but males are always on the move.

During spider mating season, the males will go searching for females and often find them inside homes, which is why you may notice more of them over the next couple of months.

In the UK, there are more than 650 different species of spider and while all of them can bite, only 12 can cause harm to humans.

Money, cellar and lace web spiders will likely be seen more frequently over the coming weeks, as well as house spiders, which is one of the UK’s biggest spiders.

The males of this species can grow up to a terrifying 10cm across the leg span, although this is the top end of the scale, with their size depending on how much they have eaten.

After mating, the female will lay eggs and the male will usually die.

How can I keep spiders out?

If you are keen to keep the eight-legged creatures out of your home, there are a few things you can try to deter them from creeping inside.

Avoid clutter

Spiders love seeking refuge in dark, damp and cluttered places, so ensuring your house is kept clean can keep them away.

Be sure to vacuum and dust regularly, and store things away in plastic-lid boxes rather than cardboard, to prevent the critters gaining access.

Let natural light in

Avoid leaving the blinds or curtains closed during the day, or for prolonged periods when you are away from home as spiders love the dark.

Use essential oils

Spiders ‘smell’ with their legs, so strong scents will deter them from leaving their nooks and crannies.

Tea tree, rose, cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, citronella, lavender and eucalyptus are good oils to try – make sure you spray corners, window sills and skirting boards, and replenish regularly.

Draw some chalk lines

Spiders taste with their feet and they don’t like chalk, so drawing a line around window sills, your bed, or doorways, will deter them from crossing.

Seal any cracks

Seal up any little cracks in walls, floors and ceilings that spiders could use for access.

Keep foliage away from your house

Avoid allowing plants to grow too close to your home to creep as spiders will hide away in them.

Leaf litter and accumulating wood piles also make for great spider hiding places, so be sure to keep your outdoor space tidy.

Don’t use conkers

There is no evidence that conkers are effective at keeping spiders out.

Other strong aromas are likely to work better, such as garlic or vinegar.