Spiders… friend or foe? 68



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Some people love ‘em, some people even eat ‘em (prepared in various ways), but the vast majority of us hate them! Of course, I’m referring to that great friend we have in nearly every household, though not many would look at them like that… the spider.

For some reason, two of the smallest creatures we put up with in our homes cause fear and anguish for nearly every woman plus, truth be told, quite a few men. The creatures are the aforementioned spider and the virtually defenseless mouse. Neither of which, except in very unusual circumstances, do any harm to anyone.

But I’m not going to concern myself with mice here.

Spiders. Now that’s another story! Despite the feelings we have for them, or perhaps more accurately against them, they are some of the most useful interlopers we could wish for around our homes. Most importantly, they perform great services removing a large percentage of bugs that set up shop in various parts of a house. In fact these bugs think they might make a nice little living eating our flaked off dead skin, licking up traces of honey or sugar inadvertently left on our draining boards! They also enjoy having sex before depositing their eggs in strange places without us knowing. Yes, bugs are the genuine pest, not spiders!


Ants especially, are great colonizers, forever exploring your kitchen for valuable food items to carry off to their nest just under the floor-boards, or searching out new sites for a nest extension. Just recently, I opened a large cardboard box where I had stored about five hours worth of eight-millimeter film. It had taken many years and at great personal expense, film is vastly more expensive to produce than the wonderful digital stuff we enjoy now. Only to find the whole lot was home to about ten million ants! I am doubtful if I shall be able to save any of my movies because the ants managed to lay eggs in between the layers of nearly every film, despite being tightly rolled on the spools.

Spiders, especially Huntsmen, hide in corners and in gaps between doors and their frames. Here they await the approach of some unsuspecting fly, ant or other tasty (to the spider!) morsel. They leap out onto, grab and devour, making one less for the fly spray for us to have to deal with later. Others, without the athletic skills of the Huntsman spin gorgeous webs made out of sticky threads that are reputed to be far stronger than the finest steel we can produce size for size. But, the main problem with webs, as far as the average housewife is concerned, is that after a few days, dust and grime sticks to them, making unsightly grey patches in the corners of rooms as well as leaving cobwebs all over the place, every one of them hard to remove.

Most spiders, with the very important exception of the Funnel Web, aren’t really able to do much harm to us human beings. But we try to avoid them at all costs anyway. Imagine what an approaching human must look like to a spider, now that is a cause for worry. It is probably like the irrational terror we humans display in the presence of a spider, or a mouse!

The funny thing is, apparently our largest mammal the elephant, is also supposed to be afraid of mice, though that may be a rumour. I have no idea what their reaction is to spiders, can anyone enlighten us?

So, I guess the thing we really need to learn to do, is to leave the spiders in our homes to get on with their job of keeping all the unpleasant bugs down in numbers. It’s the other bugs that carry the germs, not the spiders!

Brian Lee

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