Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I have a strange relationship with spiders. I don't care for spiders. I just don't. Beo likes to roll his eyes at his "Bug-hating-druid-wife", but that's just the way it is. I don't hate them, I just FEAR them. I can look at the whole situation logically and understand that the odds of them hurting me are incredibly small, but then the creeps take over and I just plain freak out. When I was in high school I decided that watching Arachnaphobia would help me confront and overcome my fear, and realize how silly it really was. Wicked bad idea. Didn't work. Our house is relatively spider free. When we first moved in we used to see a few of these strange flattish spiders that had their legs neatly divided into longer front legs and smaller back legs. I swear that I sometimes saw these spiders drop just as movement passed under them. Other than that, we mainly just have the spindly legged, tan, basement variety, and the light green little guys, which don't bother me overly much.

The thing is, I don't tolerate spiders in the house. I am an animal lover, yes, and a nature lover, definitely, but I don't do spiders in the house. I know some great people just cover them with a glass and take them outside. I am not one of them. I use the vaccuum whenever possible so that I can keep a good distance. Part of my fear just involves having them ON me and not knowing exactly where, so I have trouble approaching them with a shoe. They just freak the heck out of me. I've tried really hard not to pass this fear on to my kiddoes, and try to stay calm about it when they're around. So far, I think Sprout is good. Bird may have picked up some of my wariness.

Now spiders outside are another issue. It's defintely a love-hate thing, and I have to weigh my emotions. This is the second year we've had a family of--good gosh, I don't know--jumping spiders? On our front porch, usually on or around our front door. They're big beefy black buggers with yellow markings and FANGS. I've used the front door as little as possible this summer. Last weekend I saw a hatching of them. Fabulous. Sometimes the tiny ones get inside, and when you approach them they try to fight you. I kid you not.

Then we have the garden spiders. They're not really garden spiders technically, but that's what we call them. Last year they were mostly in the tomatoes, and they started to spread a bit through the back yard as summer wore on. This year I had five in my front gardens. They don't bother me too much because they're relatively large and stationary, so I just avoid them and keep my distance, and am grateful for them keeping the grasshopper population down. Problems arise when I check their web and they're not there. There's the possibility of them having gotten eaten by a bird, but often they've just taken up residence in a different section of the garden. I was happy with them being up front at first, but as they started moving around, I realized that I'd been neglecting my gardens terribly. I would work the perimeter of the bed, but as time wore on and the spiders got bigger, I kept my distance more and more. Now I admit it's to the point where I'm scared to go into my gardens, and that simply won't do. The time for cutting back is almost upon us, and I'll need to wade into those beds. Last year Beo removed them by stick to the back prairie area, but this year they're a lot further away from there. So how I'll handle it remains to be seen. This is definitely one area I haven't figured out how to overcome.


~Lori said...

Gotta love those jumping spiders! I always have. They've got... personality. If that's possible in a spider.

In the past few days, I've also seen them with kills of (1) another spider (one of the yucky bloated-looking beasties that infest our garage) and (2) a housefly. I actually snapped a couple pics of the spider with its fly, cause it seemed so cool that a spider that doesn't use a web had nabbed a fly. Don't know yet how they came out, though....

I share a lot of your feelings on spiders, so I can sympathize! Good luck taking back your garden. (Sorry I don't have any suggestions how!)

Beo said...

I say we do pit matches with the Big Mutha back by the sunflowers against all comers... like the garter snake, or a sparrow, wait: our 70lb greyhound! No... the 90lb greyhound! Maybe that insomniac donkey across the freeway... I'd think it could take them all and come out grinning. That is one big effing spider.

I can move any that our left in the front to the side prairie or better yet the rain garden. Doom them to a water prison like Alcatraz!

e4 said...

I'm not a huge fan of bugs or spiders, but I've mostly gotten past my squeamishness. The giant spider on our mantel was a bit much for me though. It was a challenge to figure out what to do with the thing.

I'm comforted to know that there's only one poisonous spider that lives around here, and that it's not very common. And I try to mentally thank the rest for getting rid of some of the other flying pests.

Now those little centipede / silverfish thingies that can move at about 30mph, with their long freakish antennas and appendages... guuhhhhhuh. I just made myself shudder.

Mia said...

I like the Alcatraz idea quite a bit.

We had those NASTY centipedes in our old house. The first night we moved in, I saw one (1) just one, on a wall, and thought it was kind of "cool". That rapidly changed when I opened the basement door and saw about 1/2 dozen of them scurry for cover. You spelled the shudder noise perfectly, e4. They mainly stayed to the basement, but one day there was one on the ceiling of our bedroom. I had to call my Dad and have him talk me through as I attempted to vacuum it up. It was awful. So weird how these little things can have a big effect on us. I wonder if it's tied to the disgust instinct as described in Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma". I know some bugs are quite *gulp* nutritious, but surely there's some that are less than healthy.

Suzer said...

Wow! I culd have written your post word for word! As I type, one of those huge "garden" spiders that you posted a picture of is hanging outside our living room window. I don't mind that he's there until one day he won't be and then I'll freak out wondering where he's gone.

I can't even sweep them up in the sweeper because I fear they will eventually come crawling back out, very pissed off and vengeful. So I admit I get long handled objects (hockey sticks work well) and try to smash them from a distance.

We live in the country so we get those huge wolf spiders that live in our wood pile and sneak in through the cracks when no one is looking. I swear some of them get to be the size of silver dollars. That is way too big for any spider that isn't a tarantula!