image of spider web

Spider Web


When you bought your boat lift and canopy, you probably thought “This is all mine, and mine alone.”  Little did you know that within a short time you will be sharing it with unwelcome visitors. Your visitors include hornets, spiders, wasps, and spider webs to name a few. They tend to be annoying and creepy in some cases. They also are persistent once they take up residence on your boat lift (the most common location).


Maybe the better question is – Do I want to get rid of them? Gulls and geese are disease carriers, and you have to be careful with them.

Spiders can produce a painful bite. Spiders have a ferocious appetite and they eat mosquitos and bay flies. No one will complain about that. They also are a source of food for birds. Nature has a way of balancing things (but not fast enough when it comes to bay flies and mosquitoes.)   No one will complain about that. They also are a source of food for birds. Nature has a way of balancing things (but not fast enough when it comes to bay flies and mosquitoes.)

image of Peppermint oil to get rid of spiders

Peppermint oil to get rid of spiders


There are many articles on the internet, and universal themes involve the use of peppermint or cinnamon sprays. These would be non-lethal, non-poisonous methods of driving them away. Consider using it on your boat also (under the cover). These may make your boat smell better too.  Always test on an inconspicuous area to prevent staining.

There are other ways like the use of Orto Home Defense which is useful. Be careful where you use it so that pets and children do not come in contact with it. It is beneficial on painted or aluminum siding and around windows too.

Remember, the DNR is very strict about spraying ANY chemicals over water. Try to trap the excess spray with a large piece of cardboard, so it does not fall into the water. Do not breathe in the fumes. Follow label directions.


Get rid of spider webs whenever possible. Make it difficult for them. If you see small black “dots” clean them with a detergent to prevent those eggs from hatching and multiplying your problem.


image of Homemade hornet trap

Homemade hornet trap

Hornets are not only annoying but like bees and wasps, they can produce severe reactions to your body if you are allergic to their sting. Besides, unlike the seagulls and geese mentioned in our previous article – The spider and hornets are pests, but they serve a useful purpose too. Hornets, bees, wasps help pollinate crops and flowers. Just stay away from them.

If you ever left an open soda or anything sweet outside you know that hornets love it. You can use this love to trap and dispose of them by mixing Mountain Dew and Dawn detergent in a dish. Keep it out of children and pets reach. There are commercial traps that work on the same principle.

If you choose to use the “Wasp and hornet killer” sprays, remember they are very effective if used correctly. Used in boat houses and under eaves you need to remember three things:

  1. Always use the sprays in the evening when they are not as active.
  2. The “cheap” sprays usually can’t make it to the advertised 20-foot mark. As a result, it just takes one hornet who did not come in contact with the spray to ruin your day. You may set a new world record for running. Be prepared.
  3. Try to spray downwind, if possible.


There are numerous powders available for ground wasps. Wasps are VERY aggressive so treat them with respect and have your running shoes on. They will swarm from their nests en masse to attack you. Again, we recommend a good pair of running shoes.

For more information read this article for wasp and hornets.  If spiders are your problem, read this article.

Don’t forget – Give us a call If you have a dock or boatlift topic you would like to see addressed on our website. This year you will see issues like “Seagull deterrents – Updated, “Boat Lift Insurance,” and other issues important to our clients.


We are located in the center of the Door County Peninsula at 7325 St. Hwy 42/57. That’s 1 mile North of County MM (Hwy 42) and 3 miles South of Sturgeon Bay. Look for the Idlewild Road intersection.