Spiders. My love and hate for their fuzzy little backsides.

So … spiders.

Yesterday I found a spider ‘hugging’ a dead spider on the step leading up to my backdoor. I chased it away. No idea if it was eating or mourning it. I suspect foul play following a sexual liaison, but can’t confirm as my absence overnight precipitated the event.

This afternoon I accosted a smaller jumping spider, poised to make a drop into my cutlery draw. I foiled his attempt, shut the drawer, and bullied him into stepping onto a piece of kitchen towel. He made foolhardy leaps to escape, but was dumped outside, swinging from the bottom of the paper.

Tonight I opened the refrigerator for a midnight snack and discovered another small spider abseiling from the fridge ceiling. Swiftly removed with the same piece of kitchen towel and dumped in the aloe vera for the night.

We’ve had the best weather ever today. You’d think they’d prefer to be outside.

So, spiders.

My relationship with spiders

I always feared spiders as a kid. My mum is really funny about them, and used to leave them under various bowls and mugs for my dad to find and remove. Thing is, when you live on your own, you have three choices. Deal with them, ignore them, or turn it into a mental health issue worrying about them.

Some houses have lots; some hardly any, but even with one of those homes, the occasional spider pops up.

I moved into this house in 2009, and the first thing I discovered was a spider the size of Godzilla, in the bath. You could hear its feet as it ran around the bottom! It was so hairy, it made a rushing noise as it ran.

No-one was scheduled to visit until Wednesday, so I resolved to cope without a bath for three days. Luckily a couple of friends came to see me as a house warming surprise, and when I asked the lad if he could get the spider out, Janey jumped up and said “I’LL do it!” and two minutes later the bath was spider-free.

I got braver and less stupid, and my mum gave me a tall plastic dog chew jar that has since been known as the spider-catcher.

A boris, otherwise known as a common brown house spider
A boris, otherwise known as a common brown house spider

Spider-catching technique

  1. Gingerly place jar mouth over spider, leaving plenty of room if possible.
  2. Slide piece of rigid card across the mouth, taking care not to unhook arachnid legs or lose spider.
  3. Take to allocated dumping ground, whether different part of the house or outside the door.
  4. If spider is an annoying ‘sticky’ one that can easily stick to the card ‘roof’, throw the whole receptacle into allocated spot and shriek if necessary.
  5. Otherwise just tip spider out quite close to the ground.
  6. NOTE: If windy, just throw whole thing, or spider blows back into the house.

They still get me sometimes, though.

The spider who could control the electricity.

I spotted a spider on the ledge running up the stairs. It was so big, I ran to get my ruler so I could measure it before throwing it out. The perils social media put you in. I’d just made it to my desk when the lights went out and I realised the power had gone off.

I felt my way to the fuse box –  my house is pitch black at night as there’s no nearby streetlight – and knocked the electricity back on. Returned to the stairs to find spider had run nearly a metre down the stairs. I sprinted for the spider-catcher, but the lights went out again.

Back at the fuse box, I was now worried about where the magic spider was headed. I dashed back through and discovered it was only 12 inches from my handbag and coat. Instead of moving those items, I ran back to the kitchen for the spider-catcher. I was on my way back when the electricity went off again.

Long story short, I lost the spider, decided it was in my handbag, and dumped that outside the backdoor on the end of the ruler.

At 2am, I saw a big one in the bath, though I wasn’t convinced it was the same one. Didn’t have quite such an impressive girth, and I couldn’t face another spider incident in the same night. As I left the bathroom, my eyes fell on the missing monster, two stairs from my bedroom.

It’s moments like this, you realise you have to deal with something.

How I cope with spiders in my house

Spiders are little. They’re annoying and creepy, not that good at catching flies, and generally not too bright as far as I can tell.

I rescue them out of the bath and the sink, remove them from my bedroom, and warn them when I’m hoovering.

I used to tell them with a pointed finger ‘you can stay, but I don’t want to see you again’. Generally guaranteed they’d leave, and if they didn’t, I removed. Now I don’t even bother telling them most of the time.

I’ve watched two large ‘borises’ walk round the living room twice. One embraced the horse chestnut in the corner that was supposed to put them off!

I’ve shaken them out of my bed clothes, shoes, wellies, and socks.

I even found one dangling from my short-and-curlies one night as I got ready for bed!

They dangle unexpectedly from the kitchen beams, live behind the lavatory, in the aloe vera, and are occasionally good team mates for catching flies. I’ve twice bopped a bluebottle behind the aloe vera on the inside kitchen windowsill, only to hear frenzied buzzing but no reappearance of the fly. On inspection from the other side of the window: a small spider dragging the frantic fly towards it with admiral resolve.

If they make themselves a nuisance, they get thrown out into the weather, but I generally can’t be bothered any more.

My house is honestly not infested with spiders. This is over a period of 8 years, and the house was empty for years before that, so I’m pretty sure it was a haven for them all that time.

The trouble is, I don’t kill them on purpose, and I think word gets around spider world pretty quick when they find somewhere safeish to live.

Notwithstanding all the dearly departeds who have been accidentally despatched on the stairs, under the dog, in some cleaning chemical or soap, in terrifically hot water in the bath, on the cooking hob …

Not too bright, see?



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