Written By:  Neil Van Oost Jr.

Spiders….  I had not really sat down and thought about spiders for awhile, but recently have been taking a lot more notice of them. A little bit ago, when there were still brown leaves tenaciously hanging on to the (white oak) trees, and I was hopefully finishing up the leaf raking for the seventh time, that’s when the little bugger must have hitched a ride into the house on my clothes. I did not spot him until I reached for the shaving cream the next morning, he was huge, keep in mind I had not hit the shower yet and my eyes were still half glued together with sleep. He was huge, had a dark body, and was just sitting there on the bathroom sink with legs extended. If he had of been sitting on a twenty-five cent piece, his legs would have easily gone over the edges. I put a plastic cup over him and slid a piece of paper under it, capturing him, and released him outside.

I have this “thing” about bugs, they belong outside the house, early in the spring I go around “Home Defencing” the house, I liberally spray the around the doors inside and out, and around the foundation. I do this at least once a month until Winter sets in again. Spiders, ants, crickets, and roaches seem to be immune to this treatment most times, in my opinion. I am glad I haven’t seen a roach in the house since the 80’s, I remember that day well. Mom  had gone grocery shopping and as she was taking the groceries out of the bag, a big roach crawled out. Pop saw it, but before he could squish it, it escaped into an open draw under the kitchen counter. Well, Pop and I literally tore the kitchen counter apart to get at the little bugger. Even after we killed it, Pop sprayed every piece of wood, the wall and floor with insecticide. Pop also had this thing about bugs inside the house.

Spiders are air breathing arthropods (external skeleton, segmented body, and jointed appendages), that have eight legs, chelicerae  (jaw parts) that inject poison. When I was little, I always wondered how come spiders never got caught in their own webs, I don’t remember ever getting a satisfactory answer. Now with the Internet, the answer is just a few clicks away. Try searching on the Ask search engine the question; “Why Don’t Spiders Get Stuck In Their Webs?”  or ask any smart ten year old to find out for you. You may be surprised at the answer.

Ever been bitten by a spider? I have, and spider bites are not fun, but for the most part, except for a couple of species, not life threatening. The Web site; http://www.wikihow.com/Treat-Spider-Bites, is a good place to start if you suspect you have been bitten by a spider.

I tried researching just how many spiders there are in a square foot of pasture land and got many different answers, from a few to hundreds, and I figure that since there are about 43,676 species of spiders (as of 2008 studies), it depends on just exactly where you are located when you do the count. I do know that when I am out in the back yard doing something, I rarely fail to see a couple.

Are spiders helpful? The following is a partial quote from the www,spiders.us website; “Spiders help to keep your home, yard, garden, farm, school, and workplace free from pest insects. Spiders help the whole planet in a similar way, preventing insects from becoming overly dominant and destructive. Spiders are in turn food for other organisms, from other spiders to birds, reptiles, and small mammals like shrews. Spider venoms show promise in the field of medicine. Spider silk is among the strongest, most elastic of natural fibers. Synthesized spider silk has proven useful in creating the next generation of parachutes and bullet-proof vests. “

As for those horror flicks with the giant spiders big enough to eat a cow, well just ask one of our returning vets from overseas or research Camel Spiders on the Net, but don’t blame me if you have nightmares.