Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Black Widow Spider (August 24, 2012)

I was told before I bought a house here that Black Widow spiders are not uncommon in the area.  I was also told that I should buy some chickens to keep them at bay.  I was all about buying a herd of chickens.  I do not suffer from arachnophobia, much to the contrary, in fact. 

I think that I might be the reason that my two younger brothers do suffer from arachnophobia.  I had absolutely no problem, as a child, grabbing one of the eight legs and chasing my brothers around the house.  I did it to be mean.  I thought it was funny.  Looking back, I could have thought of better things to do, but I was young.  I liked to hear them scream and run away.  I am thankful that we didn't live near snakes, because I am sure they wouldn't have had a problem grabbing one of those and chasing me around the house. 

Well, I can't buy chickens, because the city council members decided that citizens could not have chickens, unless it was in an agriculturally zoned area.  I am sure I am not in an agriculturally zoned area.  I live a block off of the main street that runs through here and a block from the interstate.  There went my dreams of having chickens eat the spiders, and having fresh eggs.  The chickens would have never become meat, I couldn't do that to an animal, well, unless I was starving to death.  Then I am sure I would cry the whole time... I cry when my goldfish die.

Well, my husband was at work on Friday.  My 9 year-old came inside and told me he was sure he found a black widow spider.  I asked him how he knew that it was a black widow.  He said, "It has a red hourglass on its back."  That made enough sense to me.  My next question was, "Where is the spider?"  I was hoping that he located it down the road a ways.  He told me, "It is under the mailbox."  Too close for comfort!

I got up and went to explore.  The spider was about 2 to 3 feet below the mailbox.  It had something red on its back, clear as day.  I didn't get close enough to make sure that it was an hourglass.  I guess that a black spider with anything on its back should be considered a black widow.  I went to my neighbor's house.  We have become friends.  I rang his doorbell and asked him if he would know a black widow if he saw one.  He kind of giggled and said yes.  I told him that I thought we had one, but I wanted to be sure.  He was in middle of cooking his dinner, so he said when it was done he would be right over.  I told him I was sure it wasn't going anywhere.

While he finished his supper, I put mine in the oven.  We were having pork chops and mashed potatoes.  He came over and brought a stick and spider spray.  I showed him the spider and he said it certainly was a black widow.  He squished it with his stick and then used the stick to take down the web.  The web crackles when being removed. 

I told him how my 9 year-old was the one that spotted it.  He said he was glad that he didn't mess with it.  I am too!  I am glad he noticed it.  I go out to the mailbox daily.  I don't need to upset a black widow.  We walk past it several times a day.  I would never want my children or anyone visiting to get bit by a black widow.  Needless to say, I pay very close attention these days to any arachnids in the area.  I will not let my children see me remove some outside.  I don't want them to think they should do that, because they might not know which ones aren't safe.

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