(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.
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.)
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.