It’s spring! In addition to warming weather, tempestuous storms, and the return of green to the world around us spring also means…bugs…
As a rule I have no distaste for insects, bugs, or mollusks that we share our world with, and this can be surprising as some of the encounters I’ve had would make you think otherwise! As story of the month this month I’ll share one of my most memorable encounters with the various domestic invertebrates found in the southern United States:
Spring n’ Spiders
I inherited a garage room as a senior in high school after a brown recluse spider was found stuck to a glue trap and my mom refused to sleep there any longer. As it was the biggest room in the house (with an outside door!) I didn’t hesitate to take it, but soon found the trapped spider had friends…hundreds of them…
At first seeing one of them would send me fleeing the room and sleeping on the couch in a different room. After a while I got used to them. Taking them out casually with a length of cedar pole or a riding crop (WHACK it’d cut them right in half…) I got from an art teacher.
One day, after finding a few of the glue traps I set so packed with the venomous little critters it had noticeable weight, I enlisted my friend Mike to come over, rip the room apart, open all the cupboards and closets, and bug bomb it into oblivion. So we did. Took the place apart, including the couch, cushions, bed, closet, the whole place.
Lit the fuse (literally…we didn’t know we were supposed to turn off the gas…the water heater was in there and we could have truly declared inquisitorial exterminatus on that end of the house…) and left. We came back after the allotted time and put everything back together. We put a pizza in the oven and turned on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and flipped through a sword catalog for fun.
Sitting there, chilling, I looked down and saw one of the little bastards sitting right in the middle of my chest. Normally pretty stoic I declared “Sunnuva bitch there’s one of em on me!” trampolined it off my shirt and into the floor, stomping it with my boot and grinding it across the carpet into shreds. Mike joined the melee by taking both cans of wasp spray we had and spraying its dismembered body with them like a gunslinger. We created possibly the deadest spider in the history of dead spiders…
Since then the brown recluse infestation has subsided. It went from hundreds of them at all stages of maturity, creeping from closets, out from under furniture (and in one disturbing encounter dozens rappelling down webs from the ceiling) to…none… At first I was mystified before I found a curio I bought had an infestation of its own…of cellar spiders. These harmless little rascals spin irregular webs under furniture and in corners…the perfect places to ensnare brown recluses. They did the job chemicals and smack ’em sticks couldn’t. And I happily traded one infestation for another.
Despite these encounters I still have no arachnophobia (despite creepy spider dreams occasionally) and even released a captured brown recluse by a tree outside my previous place of employment (I figured what’s one more spineless, cantankerous, creeper around there…) and even had a “pet” spider outside my house for a while. It goes to show nature might be creepy, and even dangerous, but it’s never to be hated or feared!
Enjoy the first few days of spring! There are more such “nature” encounters coming soon!