Monday, October 12, 2009

A Public Service Announcement

Warning--spiders and snakes will be pictured and discussed today.

When you see a spider's web that looks very similar to cob webs in the movies, it's time to look for a black spider that's as polished as patent leather. She'll have a belly as round as a marble and a perfect red, hourglass shape on that belly.
I really am a live-and-let live sort of girl, but I had to kill this pretty girl. Several summers ago, an egg sac from a black widow managed to hatch in our garage. I killed 15 pretty large spiders by summers end.

We have several creepy/crawlies in Texas that can inflict painful or deadly wounds. They would be scorpions, snakes, spiders, and centipedes for the uninitiated. I really pride myself on not being too terribly creeped out my any of them.

I have been known to simply move snakes when they end up where they don't belong. I can be found picking up the more harmless ones with my bare hands and bringing them in the house to show the kids. Snakes serve a vital purpose around here--keeping the numbers of mice and rats in check. I like mice and rats as much as the next girl, but don't need so many that I need to call St. Patrick for help. All snakes are welcome. In nine years on our property, I have only killed one snake--a coral snake. I love snakes, but I don't need the ones that can send us to the ER, breeding.

Scorpions and Red Headed Centipedes serve no earthy purpose that I can see. At least not a job that some other insect can take care of. They tend to crawl into warm, damp places. Shoes, sleeping bags, shower stalls, and any clothing left on the floor. Here in Texas, we have just learned to shake everything out before putting it on or using it. It is second nature. An afterthought. All scorpions and centipedes get squashed whether we find them inside or outside. Just the way it is.

Now, back to spiders. Goodness they're useful. They're also incredibly cool. They eat so many flies, mosquitoes, and other bothersome insects. They build amazing webs and come in so many shapes and size. We have a very large spider in Texas. The tarantula. The ones we see are usually on the hunt for a mate in late spring. They have no interest in humans, whatsoever. They won't crawl into your sleeping bag on a camping trip. We do, however, have two spiders that have to be killed on sight. Black Widows and Brown Recluse. A bite from one of them will get you a trip to the ER. The ER tends to be expensive, but that's another topic. The point is, there are plenty of other spiders on the planet and in my yard that can help keep the insect population in check.

So, in summary:
----If it can send you to the ER, it has to be killed.
----If it crawls into your sleeping bag or hangs out in your shower AND stings, it has to be killed.

Otherwise, it's live-and-let-live.


  1. i hate to think of a world without spiders and bats. imagine all of the insects they eat!

    thank you for this informative post.

  2. lol! Great post. I'm the same way. We've got a bunch of spider webs in the garage and outside and they are not of the 'ER Visit' type. It's amazing how many insects, especially fliues, that they capture and eat. And around here, we love the non-venomous Bull Snake because they keep the rattlers at bay. Hooray for spiders and snakes!


  3. I'm with you on the "live and let live" policy on spiders and snakes. But I don't kill ANY of them. That said, we also don't have ANY around here that will send us to the hospital. lol
    I do believe we have black widows, but I've never seen one...yet.

  4. I agree, we live by the same rule around here too.

  5. Yep, same rules here. We have a major black widow problem, and if we don't keep on top of them we find them in the house (like behind the dryer the other night when I reached back there to see if something fell).