Stop Bugging Me!

Dear Mer-maid:

Do you have anything that will kill bugs and spiders? It is a losing battle. They leave their droppings all over our boat. We’ve tried boat washes, soft-scrub and even acetone, but nothing works. We hope you have some ideas!
Boathouse Blues, Anacortes, WA.

Dear Boathouse Blues, This question comes up so often, I decided to do a little research on it. I spent some time “cruising” the Internet and looked over the “rec. boat” news group. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the comments and would like to pass them along to you. Here are some remedies for those spider droppings:
News group comment # 1: It seems to me that I read in Cruising World that garlic will keep spiders away. Garlic is a natural, non-poisonous remedy; it won’t smell unless you mash the cloves up! Since it is almost Halloween you ward off the vampires and their little fuzzy friends – Bats!
News group comment #2: The web spinners have their value, but if you want to keep the little night crawler population under some kind of control, use moth balls. We haven’t tried this one but the conversation in the newsgroup seemed to give it thumbs up. If any of you have tried this solution and found that it worked please contact us explaining how many mothballs you used and how you applied them. No doubt if it works on spider, bug droppings because of the odor then it probably would keep you from using the boat. So far we haven’t helped much have we!

Ok, I’ll stop kidding around…we really do have some good advise thanks to one of our leading fiberglass repair services in Seattle. Their helpful hints:

Trying to remove spider droppings is a difficult task. Follow these steps and avoid painted surfaces unless you are experienced at a wet sanding.

Wash down affected areas. In a small area, rub spider dropping with a mild abrasive using a cleaner/wax. Always test in an inconspicuous spot first.

If this doesn’t work, rub out the same area using a more aggressive product such as rubbing compound. If your successful at removing the droppings using an aggressive compound you will need to use a carnauba wax in order to protect your newly cleaned area.

If you are still unsuccessful, sanding the droppings out is your next step. Use a 1,500 grit wet/dry sandpaper and plenty of water on the test spot. Sand the area until the dark spots lift out. The sanded area must be polished back to a new shine using a buffer/polisher and a light-duty compound. Once you find a system that works on one spot, apply that system to the rest of the affected areas. The last and most important step, once you’ve removed the stains, will be to apply a good coat of wax so that those nasty droppings don’t penetrate the gel-coat. By this time you are tired and the thought of doing any more work on your boat is almost unthinkable.

Ok, you can stop. But for those very persnickety boaters there is one more step that you can take to make the boat really look great. If you haven’t tried 3M’s Finesse-it make a trip to the nearest marine store that you enjoy going to and get the “how to” (I think it is free) pamphlet that 3-M gives the Marine Stores. It goes over all the steps in depth, a step at a time. It is good reading and a must for your “how to library”.
If steps 1-3 do not remove the droppings, turn the job over to a professional. And remember, spiders can be your friends: They eat man-eating bugs like, mosquitoes. If we could only teach them a few social graces…

P.S. Our Mer-maids Canvas & Vinyl Cleaner works great on spider and “love bug” droppings.

Happy And Safe Boating,