I put the warning there because I have some friends who think as highly of spiders as I do of monkeys. I, on the other hand, elevate spiders above things like monkeys, ticks, fleas, and dogs that growl at me. I have been known to allow a spider to live on the outside of the plate glass window, dining and sleeping. I have been designated the official spider killer at many a place of employment: just scream and Jaci will come kill the spider for you.
My fist introduction to spiders that I recall was the myriad Black Widows that would try to gain entrance into our home in the fall. My mother would take a can of Raid and carefully hunt down every giant black abdomen hanging out in the basement windows.
(Photo courtesy the Orkin site).
Black Widows were probably the only spiders my mother hated as I got my love for spiders from her.
Terry and I bombed every square inch of Dad’s house after he died and before we began to go through the remnants of our parents’ lives. Widows are a fact of life in the high desert.
But Widows aside, I find most spiders benign. They bite you sometimes in the night and the bite festers and itches like a mosquito bite, but it was probably a defense mechanism as you rolled over and crushed the life out of them in your sleep. So be it. Irritating, but not a reason to hate them.
Spiders kill more insects – bad insects like grasshoppers, leaf hoppers, stink bugs, and flies – than any other predator, and probably more effectively than any pesticide out there. Spiders are our friends, especially in the garden.
Tonight, Don told me there was a huge spider in the dog watering trough. I took a photo.
That’s a quite useless photo for identification purposes as the camera chose to focus on the bottom of the tub rather than on the actual flotsam. It’s easily 2″ long and slightly submerged. My husband said it had been floating and he wasn’t about to rescue it (which I totally would have down without thinking – offer it a free ride on a board to the lawn).
Don thought it was possibly a Brown Recluse and… having never seen one, I thought it could be, too.
But the Brown Recluse is about the size of a penny. And when I blew up the images of the Brown Recluse and compared it side by side with our drowned specimen, the markings on the back did not match.
In short, our floating behemoth of a spider is what I refer to as a “funnel-web spider” ( a non-scientific term describing the sort of web it creates in the grass and in the murky corners of the foundation. A spider I prefer to let live.
It is the spider nemesis of the hobo spider. That is a very GOOD thing.
Crushed my husband’s hopes of a Deadly Catch, but totally justified my fishing it out of the water with a piece of paper. Don’t worry – Don had already finished his sudoku puzzle on the other side.
My mom would be proud of me, I’m sure.