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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sometimes, I hate it when I'm right.

The last few weeks, whenever I took out or returned the garbage cans to my garage, my attention was caught by a web in the corner. I'm no arachnologist, but I know my garage, the seasons, the bugs. I saw this spiderweb, and it seemed out of place. There was a huge pile of bug carcasses under it. Unusual for my garage.

(I just know you wanted to see this. Trust me, it's for informational purposes.)


I had a theory, but when I shared it with my husband, he seemed to think I was just paranoid from hearing about neighbors' stories this summer. I kept insisting that we clean the garage out. But it didn't happen.

You already know how this story ends...

Tonight, I took a bag of garbage to the can and slammed the lid shut. My eyes went to that corner as they have been accustomed to do for the last month. Finally, proof!


That's no stock photo. That was the actual spider hanging out in my garage. I've seen black widows before, but this was the biggest one I've ever seen! I suppose the bounty that lay below her should have clued me in to her size.

Now, I don't mind killing spiders, but I can't stand the sensation of the crunching beneath my shoe. Besides, I filled my life quota of bug-killing long ago when I lived in Florida on a canal and faced off with hundreds (I wish that was an exaggeration) of humongous bugs. But a black widow...

Dave wasn't home; I would have to take care of this. Within 5 seconds, I had a dozen thoughts, including:
~ Maybe I'll be one of those people lucky enough to only have mild symptoms if bitten.
~ Should I drive myself to the hospital if I get bitten?
~ Who will take me to the hospital?
~ I'm pregnant.
~ My unborn baby would be poisoned.
~ I'm allergic to bananas. And grass. And everything.
~ A spider would kill me.

I knew the black shiny thing had to die that night since it was the only time I had seen it in all my previous inspections. I looked at the intricate web, her placement in it (dead center), and the height she was hanging at (12" off the ground). Yep. I knew what I had to do. I had to call a neighbor.

My neighbor Matt is not scared of things that bite or sting. Once, while talking with him on his driveway, a wasp flew by. He smacked it to the ground with his hand and then stomped on it. That's who I needed to come take care of this widow. I wondered if he would just swat it with his hand and stomp on it. I called his house, and he came right over with an Entertainment coupon book.

(My neighbor Matt tackling one of the two huge wasp infestations we had this summer.)

I opened the garage door, and wouldn't you know it, that spider took off to hide near an opening in the wood. The thing was incredibly fast! That was it. I was freaked out. I didn't realize how fast those things could move.

"Well, this makes it a little more complex," said Matt. I gave him my flashlight. He located her and then quickly found a hand weeding tool in my garage to keep her from hiding further behind the wood.

"Wow- she's huge." he said. He pushed her out of hiding with the hand tool then used the tool to trap her in her own web and wrapped her in it like he was making cotton candy. Crazy, gross, but brilliant. Then, he squished and scraped her body along the garage floor. (I hope you're eating while you read this.)

Done.

We looked on the opposite corner of the garage door and found a similar web and a smaller pile of carcasses. Matt poked around, apparently found something, and said, "Huh. interesting."

"What?" I asked. No response while he was squishing something. "What is it?" I asked again.

"Well, there was a red spider; I don't know what kind it is. And there WAS a black widow, but it's dead."

"That's good," I said.

"Well," he said, "I'm a little nervous about a spider that can kill a black widow."

Thanks, Matt. I'm sure that will help me sleep tonight.

Dear neighbors, clean out your garages carefully before the weather gets colder and spiders and bugs crawl deeper into your residences for warmth. The temperatures this summer have been a perfect recipe for the black widow population. If you notice any new webs and/or unusual piles of bug ruins like in the first photo, tread carefully.

Tomorrow, I'll squish the egg sacs I noticed after Matt left.

13 comments:

Aubrey said...

ACK!! I'm so glad that Ryan had the brilliance to wait until the fall to build shelves in our garage!! It is nice a freshley swept and organized and spider and bug free!! YUCK!!!

We did have a black widow earlier in the year though. She was dead shortly after, thanks to a can of bug spray.

Jackie said...

I am absolutely terrified.
Why did I read this in the dark?

Kristen said...

I killed 9 in one day. NINE. Yes, black widows. I felt unclean. I showered just for the sake of showering. The first one I saw, that sent me hunting, was right under the doorknob. I saw it on my way back IN the house, less than a minute after having touched the doorknob. Now you have goosebumps.

The dead one you saw was maybe just its skin that it shed? And in all of them I've seen, I haven't found any bug carcasses nearby. What clues me in is the yucky no-patterned webs. Just a tangled mess. I guess they don't have to try too hard.

Nathalie Smith said...

1st~ EWW. 2nd~ I thought you would of want to keep it for a pet since that was your nickname and all "Black Widow" Ha,ha,ha! <3 ya!

Sarah said...

Uggghhhh! I feel like I need to bug bomb my house now. And my car. And myself. (shudder)

Heidi said...

Good times! We're up to 6 in our garage this year. Saturday is the big "clean out" day at our house. Bet you are thinking about calling the spider spray guy now, aren't ya?

Adhis said...

Hey, Heidi, six, huh?
I bet your 72-hour kits are fine. Just eat the food with your eyes closed and pretend the crunchiness is granola goodness.

}:^)>

Sunni said...

I found one in my garage that was in kind of a cove so I couldn't really hit it to kill it, I did however have a can of spray polyurethane near by, so I laquered that sucker. She was all crispy and preserved with a lovely sheen.

Amy said...

Im officially GROSED OUT!!! AHHHH! I feel like bugs are climbing on me now. ICK!!! Im talking to Bryan tonight about this...i hope we dont have the same thing. I hate spiders!

Brooke said...

About a week ago, I noticed the webs underneath our massive server rack in the garage. I think I killed 5. I lost count. Some were smaller than the others. What worries me is how many egg sacs were left behind???

I'm sure there are MANY more hiding. Ugh. I don't wanna clean out the garage! (I HATE spiders and usually make Chris kill them, but Black Widows have a special place of vengence for me, since they can do so much damage/death/destruction!)

Brooke said...

It got worse! I went downstairs to run on the treadmill and found a big, juicy black widow by the furnace! They've invaded the house! I better get out my ANGRY eyes and erradicate them. GRRRRR.

Brandi said...

Do you think Matt would be up for a trip to Georgia to kill mine? I've lost count, but I was up to 27 before I gave up.

We rent our house, and I contacted property management only to be informed that they only deal with termites. I told them they should run it past the owners. If I owned the house, I would be concerned about a black widow infestation.

sarahandtim said...

AWFUL! I hate spiders!!! We used to have black widows in our window wells. I once met a woman who had been bit by one and she said the pain was worse than child birth. YIKES. Kill them, kill them, kill them.