Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Let's Web The Place Up!

 


It's almost October, and it's time to appreciate spiders again! As most people are aware, spiders are not insects, and at this time of year are more accurately members of the Piñata family. Your average female autumn spider can be recognized by her resemblance to an ottoman or small cargo plane. People seem to be quite upset at the size of spiders this time of year and yet those same people are not at all happy about encountering hundreds of tiny spiders in the springtime either. You really can't please some people.

The reason spiders are so husky now is that they are completely packed with the bugs everyone was complaining about earlier, only in a permanently disabled condition. Generally speaking your tubbier arachnids stay outside but every so often they will enter the homes of very loud people.

The trouble with looking up information on things like spiders is that the first two pages of links are from pest-control companies. This is not the place to get reliable information, and even the reliable information on these sites will often concede there is no real problem with spiders, but offer you twelve noxious ways to send them to heaven anyway. "There are 35,000 species of spiders and only a few of them bite," one will say, knowing that the casual reader has already blacked out at "35,000."

 

I had no more confidence in the chatty report in the newspaper that began "If you feel like you're running into spiders everywhere right now, you probably are." This is sort of unhelpful unless it is important for the reader to immediately determine if they suffer from delusional parasitosis. Presumably such a person will be relieved to discover they've most likely had actual spiders crawling over them.

The sensation of imaginary bugs and spiders crawling on or under the skin is called formication, but it's not as much fun as it sounds. Formica is from the Latin for cheap countertops, and among the many possible explanations for the feeling of formication is, it says here, menopause. Fuck of course, menopause. Why not? It's just God's way of distracting you from feeling fat, dried-up, and periodically on fire.

So it's something like Morgellon's disease, in which patients suffer from the conviction there are itchy fibers growing in their skin, even though there aren't. But suffer they do; it resembles the civic psychosis derived from consuming too many conspiracy theories. The stuff you're afraid of isn't real, but by God you're gonna strap on an AR-15 and go out and menace somebody anyway.

Back to our spider friends. Spiders may spin small webs early in the season but by fall they are really hitting their stride. The autumn spider has a remarkable way of getting a web started. She will shoot silk out her butt vicinity and let it spin out and ripple in the breeze until it catches onto something. Then she pulls it taut and anchors it and strengthens it and before long she's in the web business. Those of us feeling paralyzed over the daily horrors in the news should take heart and adopt the simple faith of the autumn spider. When you don't know where to turn, or what to do, shoot something out your butt and keep hope alive. It will land somewhere, and then you just strap in and hold on. Build your web. All your friends will be doing it too. And bit by bit we'll have the whole place covered.

Then we can really start scaring some people.

33 comments:

  1. I generally tolerate spiders because, as you say, they eat other bugs and thus their presence represents a net decrease in buggery. But I will expel them if they manifest what I deem to be excessive size.

    Humans don't seem to be good web-spinners, unfortunately. It's those conspiracy theories, not webs, that derive from what people pull out of their asses.

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    1. You make a good point, as usual.

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    2. Um, @infidel753, I'm not aware that an increase in spiders leads to a decrease in buggery, at least according to the strict definition of buggery...

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  2. I love and admire spiders SO much! The intricate webs they weave, and the patience it takes to actually wait for something is admirable. But my absolute favorites are the jumping spiders. They have the best eyesight of all the spiders, and it shows. When I approach one, it will actually lift its head and look at me. Occasionally, I can even get one to climb onto my finger. (As an aside, they are the only variety of spider I will willingly touch; bulbous ones do creep me out a bit.) I have a close-up photo of a jumping spider as a screensaver on my computer. They resemble many-eyed, many-legged teddy bears to me, and I find them cute and fuzzy. Yes, I know that is not the popular view, but when has THAT ever stopped me?

    I generally let spiders be in my home, as they eat more noxious pests. I do relocate the bigger ones, as they are so obviously "outdoor" spiders. Paul even spent several weeks parking his truck in front at night instead of in the back, so as not to disturb a huge web going across our driveway. If we had a totem pole, a spider would definitely be on the top.

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    1. I wrote a post about a jumping spider once. They truly are cool. Those little faces!

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    2. Letting spiders be has ramifications into your actual spider balance that many with a fetish for tidy eaves miss out on experiencing.
      Black "widow" house exterior infestations around here - Southwest Australia - are nuked with armies of chemical stormtroopers. Natch, the nuking does for the whole invert ecology around the outside of the house so some even nastier balances tend to spring up in following seasons - many include redbacks and even more widows.
      I'm in the avoid all web destruction brigade. That includes leaving any spider that doesn't attack me or mine completely alone except for pulling down their dusty old spring webs **after all the birdies have made their spring nests**
      One reliably repeatable effect of leaving all spideys alone around the house is that the sworn predators of redbacks, and widows in general, the lanky lean maker of messy webs - the daddy longlegs - will generally come to dominate houseal real estate, making a secondary living from trapping flies in window corners when I allow those webs to stay around inside.
      Web Win-Win.

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  3. Thank you for not posting all the close-up shots. I'm good with the webs, but the spiders squick me right out. I barely made it through Julie Z's post on same.

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  4. I think the black fuzzy jumping spiders are cute, there is usually one near our front door who gets on me sometimes, I just kind of fling it off of me. Those pale beige ceiling spiders that make a little nest at the ceiling wall area don't bother me much. I have sen a brown recluse in our house once. I killed it with a shoe. It must have had a strong odor as my little dog was fascinated by the squash spot until I could get it cleaned up.

    The worst spider incident I ever had was as I was sitting in my living room I saw a fairly long legged spider walking across the floor. It looked kind of puffed up somehow. I never saw one like that before. I got to it real fast and smashed it with my shoe, and as I looked at it, a moving shadow expanded from the dead spider across the wood floor. I looked closer and it was a million baby spiders. They were riding on the mothers back and all over her I suppose. That must have been why she looked so puffy it was layers and layers of tiny spiders.I was stepping as fast as I could trying to kill the spreading tide of spidies. The dog thought I had lost my mind and came to join me in all of the hotfooting it around, then he got the scent of the dead spider and wanted to sniff it, so then I was stomping spidies and having to be careful not to step on the dog. Since he is an inside dog, and small (Pomeranian), to him any dead bug scent is like big game hunting for him. I finally sprayed the spider area with dog flea, tick and lice spray and it worked to kill all of the ones I didn't manage to stomp. My husband had a little bit of a hard time believing there was a spider like that. I googled it and there were photographs.

    I love the giant garden spiders in Fall with their web always near our front porch light ad over to the rose bush. We leave the porch light so the spider can get plenty to eat every night.

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    1. Oh there are definitely spiders that carry their young. You really had a freakout, huh? I'll bet Windex would have done the same job only tidier--it works with ants anyway--not that I'm endorsing spider murder.

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  5. If spiders had cute, human-like faces with just two eyes they might pass for cute. I have always had a desire to let them live in hopes they would realize I was a friend and not crawl into my open mouth when I was asleep. It's the best I can hope for.

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    1. Those jumping spiders, head-on, get pretty close.

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  6. I upended a clay pot to find a mid-sized black widow and two incubating egg sacs. Hated like hell to kill the whole family but getting bit while lifting a pot is a real possibility. Other spiders are spared and if inside, relocated. Imagine Pee Wee Herman saving snakes in a pet shop on fire and screaming the whole way out the door. I simply cannot touch a spider.

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    1. I was raised by a man who admired spiders and showed them to us a lot, but it turns out he deliberately worked on overcoming his youthful revulsion. I suspect it's innate.

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  7. You're hilarious and Webs are Magnificent little Works of Spider Art. Spiders as a whole don't bother me but we have some nasty poisonous ones here in the Desert Southwest that you really can't keep around for obvious reasons. They are among the 35,000 that can make you Black Out for real. I discovered that Daddy Long Legs are far more Toxic than The Black Widow and are arch enemies of the Widow, but perfectly harmless to Humans, so I imported some to rid my property of the ones that could kill me and Nature at work just doing what she does worked better than exterminators who charge a lot and spew more toxins all over the place. Aren't Webs great Halloween Decor anyway and thus we can excuse them during The Season for Holiday Macabre? Works for me anyway, I'm more scared of housekeeping than Spiders.

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    1. I must be. The inside of my house is cobweb central. I can't seem to clean it out--it seems so disrespectful of a hardworking species!

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  8. Incredible architects. Who fascinate me.
    And thanks (I think) for giving me a name for that 'insects scurrying over my face' thing. It is a minor symptom in the scheme of things but packs a punch.

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  9. I don't mind most spiders but the ones I fear the most are the ones with necrotic venom. Back when I was living in Seattle I was bit on the temple by a hobo spider. I lost a chunk of flesh to necrosis the diameter of a dime, all the way down into the dermis. Almost needed a skin graft. It took six months to heal. Here in Arizona, every insect has venom (and every plant has thorns) and if it can pierce your skin, you are in trouble. We have ants so small you can hardly see them that if they sting you will raise a welt the diameter of a pencil that lasts a week, like the world's worst mosquito bite. This time of year the male tarantulas are out and about hunting for a mate. It's weird when you see one hanging on a window screen, banging away, trying to get into the house. The wolf spiders are almost as large and very creepy when they sit there with their eyes rolling back and forth looking like they are getting ready to jump on you. Black widows are pretty shy, you have to be really careless picking stuff up around the yard to get bit.

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    1. You know? I'll admit it. I'm being idealistic about my tolerance for many critters. The fact is we have hardly any annoying insects at all (no window screens here), very rarely poisonous spiders, no poisonous snakes.

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  10. I remember the giant spider webs I used to see when I first moved in here, stretching from the Hills Hoist washing line down to the ground and across to the rubbish bins, but I haven't seen any for about seven years now. All I see these days are cobwebby corners filled with daddy-longlegs in assorted sizes.

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    1. Do you have those landscape-covering web events? Those are AWESOME.

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    2. One or two photos are lost somewhere in the depths of my old laptop.

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    3. Heard that. I have a billion photos on a sludgy old computer and can't figure out how to move them somewhere I can use them.

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  11. As far back as I remember, I've had a irrational fear of spiders. Real fear. Once in '67, I was with my squad on patrol near Marble Mountain, I had my glasses on as usual (I was nearsighted, 20/200) and walked into a spider web. The spider was on the outside of my glasses. I tore them off, threw them to the jungle floor and stamped on them. My squad moved me to the middle of the squad, I was told "Just shoot in the same direction as every one else."
    Thankfully it was a uneventful patrol, and I had a couple days off while new glasses were made and shipped.

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    1. I will admit it seems like you had more to be legitimately worried about, there.

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  12. Now here's a spider!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPh_Gi7PCqs

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    1. These are some very flashy looking jumping spiders! Now you know what I mean when I say they are cute. They dance to interest a female in mating. Which beats the hell out of whatever it is that human males do. (It certainly isn't dressing flashy and dancing.)

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  13. Heh. In re your reply to Brian B: yeah. I used to think I was all chill about our arthropod friends because of my innate virtue, but after adventures in various other parts of the world, I realized that was simply because I was an Oregonian. Even the mosquitoes are polite, here.

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    1. I still remember Dave setting a land speed record back to the car from a beach in Maine. He'd jumped out to the furthest rock in the sea assuming the mosquitoes wouldn't brave the winds but they did. By the time my sister and I caught up, he was inside the car smacking the beJesus out of the windows.

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  14. I've walked into one of those webs several times at night in my backyard. Spiders can build those suckers in a heartbeat. You walk between two bushes no problem. An hour later, in the dark, it's a web attack.

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