Thankful for the Creepy Crawlies

   Written by on September 21, 2017 at 10:44 am

logo - walk in gardenNever mind the dust and dog hair – that’s a given in my house. What I’m having trouble with right now is spiders. Really, I can clean in the morning and by the afternoon, at least one spider web has been constructed across a doorway or between a table and a chair. I even saw one this morning strung at least three feet from a tree branch to a car mirror. How do they do that? The webs are always in just the right places for me to walk through. I’m not particularly squeamish and I don’t cringe or scream when I encounter a web, but these guys must work all day, every day to try to creep me out.

I live in an old house and I suppose a few spiders are to be expected. This year has been exceptional though, and now, with fall approaching I’m wondering if the invasion is going to get worse. Well, let’s just look at that and some other house spider myths to get the real scoop.

First of all, house spiders as a group include species adapted to living indoors – no big surprise there; outdoor spiders live outdoors and seldom do the twain meet. House spider eggs are laid inside and the new generations remain inside. If it seems that an invasion has just occurred in your house it is probably late summer, August or September, and that is the mating season for many housebound species. Outside spiders are cold-blooded and not adapted to living indoors; they are not attracted by warmth.

If your first instinct, after wanting to commit spidercide, is to throw the little buggers “back outside” and do them a favor, you would still be killing them to do so. Spiders that you find in your house have probably never been outside and would likely perish out there in the cold cruel world.

Picture this: It’s 7:00 a.m. and you’re stepping into the shower. With one foot dangling mid-step, you spot a big brown spider lurking, hunkered down on the bottom of the tub. When you’re done hopping around looking for something to squash it, know that that spider did not crawl up the drain into the tub. Spiders will seek moisture from inside your house, not the outside. Besides, there’s an impenetrable sediment trap in your plumbing that spiders probably can’t get through even if they wanted to. That little guy is waiting for help at this point ‘cause he can’t climb back up the slick sides of the tub.

If you do encounter what a lot of people call a “wolf spider” inside your home, and it’s big and hairy, it’s not a wolf spider at all. True wolf spiders are placed in that category by the arrangement of their eyes, not their size. Most wolf spiders are tiny, one centimeter long or less, and not dangerous to humans. Those big hairy guys are a whole ‘nother genus.

Not meaning to put a pale light on house spiders, let’s talk about the black widow, an inside/outside spider. It prefers to live in woodpiles, under stumps, in garages and sheds. In your house the black widow can be found in basements and crawl spaces. Its bite is painful, and can be fatal, especially to youngsters and the elderly. The body of the black widow is about ½” long, shiny black, with the telltale orange to red hourglass marking on the underside of the abdomen. If bitten, seek medical attention immediately.

Okay, I admit I’m becoming less tolerant of critters in my house. Less tolerant, verging on homicidal, and I’m sorry, but spiders are creeping to the top of the list. I love all God’s creatures, really, just not where I have to deal with ‘em.

On second thought – I am so grateful to have a yard and a house and even spiders right now. So many thousands of people in the states of Texas and Florida and south to the Keys and other islands have absolutely nothing left. Let’s keep all of them in our prayers.

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