Family life

How many spiders are too many?

The Wolf spiders in Jennifer’s house are definitely NOT itsy-bitsy.

By Jennifer Pinarski
How many spiders are too many?

Photo by Carl Blesius via Flickr

When we lived in the city, we taught our son that every living thing had an important role, including spiders. When we found a spider in our home, we’d gently scoop it up and place it in our garden. Most of the spiders in the city were the gentle and benign Daddy Longlegs. 
That attitude towards spiders ended when we moved to our cottage home and met Wolf spiders
Here’s a Wolf spider primer (so you can see why I’m not a fan): 
  • They are one of the biggest house spiders, measuring over an inch in length. 
  • Unlike most spiders, they don’t spin webs, but hunt for their prey. 
  • Their bites are not poisonous, but are very painful.
  • They have hundreds of babies that they carry around on their backs, just like you see in this picture. 
Like the war we are in with the neighbourhood raccoons (who poop on our deck and throw garbage all over our property), it’s the city slickers versus the spiders and, unfortunately, I think the spiders are winning.
When we first moved here and went on a hike we saw a mama spider carting her babies around and "oohed" and "ahhed" over them. The babywearing mama spiders would still be very cute if they weren’t carrying their babies around in my basement. Last fall we had a few spiders in the house, but each day I’m finding at least two or three indoors — and each day they seem to get bigger. While I’d like to maintain my street cred as a nature-loving bug protector, all bets are off when they are in my house, especially inch-long, eight-legged carnivorous spiders. They get smashed.

Unfortunately, I’m going to have to take a closer look at the spiders before I squish them. According to Common Pests, “It is also best to avoid smashing them. Many times, females will carry a large egg sac and stepping on it can cause an explosion of hundreds of baby spiders all over your floor.”
I can visualize hundreds of baby spiders and it kind of makes me want to barf. And wear steel-toed rubber boots around the house.
Right now, I’ve held off on chemical control for the Wolf spiders. My running shoes and dustpan are working well enough, but I’m afraid that once the warmer weather arrives the spider situation will “spin” out of control. 
How about you? What bugs bug you and how do you deal with them?
Photo by Carl Blesius via Flickr
This article was originally published on Apr 13, 2012

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