Sunday, September 09, 2007

black widow

Armed with a flashlight, Eliza's daddy took her out for a spin around the subdivision on her tricycle post-sundown, pre-dinner. When I came outside to greet them just as they were coming home, Chris was the first to see the spider. Before the flashlight hit it, all I saw was the size, and I thought to myself, "at least it's not as big as Jen's spider."

I shrieked when I saw the shiny red hourglass on the black body (the abdomen was surprisingly large) and knew immediately what it must be even though I'd never seen one in person. Chris was in charge of keeping Eliza away, and I rushed inside to get the camcorder (with the zoom, I could stay safely away). All I recorded was an empty web as the bugger disappeared when Chris shined the flashlight.

Although I'd heard black widows exist in this part of the country, I never actually imagined one would make a web on my house. I don't suppose it will just find somewhere else to live if I destroy its web with a broom handle? I didn't think so. I read on Wiki that bites are very rarely fatal to healthy adults, but since I have a 33-pound child, I'm quite concerned.

Update: Chris told me he had killed the black widow while I was upstairs. He said it worried him knowing that Eliza and I go within a foot of the web when we check the mail daily. He said when he went outside again, he found it back on the web; again it scurried into the crack, but Chris said he was able to get in there and crush it with a piece of wood from the garage.

10 comments:

veganmomma said...

EEEWWW, Chris has found them in our yard before, but they have usually been out of sight, like under the house where we don't usually go. They usually like really dark places. They sure do creep me out though. I'd feel ok about killing them if I saw one near me, even though I'm vegan. I'd worry about the kids! I'm not sure I'd actually be able to kill it though, I might just freak.

chanale said...

Sara - I'd tell my Chris to kill it, but it scurried into a crack under the house. The web is only about 8" in diameter, but I'd never noticed it before next to the garage door and probably would have thought it belonged to one of those little spiders I welcome in our garden. I doubt we'll see it again since we're rarely outside the house after dark, and I know they rarely bite, but all the same it disturbs me knowing there's something on my house that can kill my daughter.

lola coca-cola said...

I find at least a couple a year, and I try to catch them in jars and release them into nearby (uninhabited) canyons, but sometimes they end up being killed by apathy, as in it takes me a while to get around to the actual "release" aspect. Also it's hard for me to put it into a glass jar, place the jar in the car with my toddler, and drive it down the road. What if the jar broke? Not saying it would, or envisioning how that might happen, just saying it might...

And I know what you mean about knowing exactly what they are, even though you've never seen one before. They seem to me to have a presence that my body recognizes before I see the actual spider.

Kate in NJ said...

That is scary!!

Jenny said...

They're scary-looking, aren't they? I've seen them around our house before, but not this summer. Pretty interesting since it's the first year we DIDN'T have the outside of our house sprayed. Looks like the giant wolf spider and the tarantula I posted about about awhile were more effective than the pesticide!

Elaine said...

Yeah, we have them around here as well. Scary looking creatures, indeed!

Jen said...

We haven't seen any black widows hanging around the house but definitely under rocks and such when gardening. Our big spider was the biggest I had seen, almost 2 inches and the web was enormous!
**shiver** I don't like spiders...

Brit said...

Spiders scare me very much, and we find ourselves shaking out pillows and peeking in shoes these days.
I wanted to tell you that I love those "First Little House" books that you have in your side-bar! Thanks for putting those up.

Daphne said...

I hate spiders. I'm deathly allergic to them and although neither of my children have been bitten I'm worried how they would react since they're less than pint sized. On a non-spider note... we LOVE the Little House picture books too. Soph loves picture books that are simple versions of chapter books. She loves the Narnia picture books too.

chanale said...

Thanks, everyone, for not making me feel like a sissy (of course, I do deserve the sissy label for being mildly scared of snails).

Brit - I meant to blog about the Little House picture books, but I got overwhelmed. I need to update my sidebar as we don't have most of those books checked out anymore.