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The beasties are back

I was back at work today. The city seemed a bit quiet today (Degraves St/Centreway excepted), and with many blokes shunning their ties, obviously things are still a bit in holiday mode.

This morning I found the biggest damn spider I’ve seen this year in ages sitting on the wall above the front door. I know spiders probably help keep the cockroach (etc) population down, but I just couldn’t face one that size being in the house. It took several hits with a broom to kill it, and I swept it out into the garden.

It’s not just that I watched Return of the King with the kids a few days ago (remember Shelob?) — I’ve never been that keen on big spiders wandering around. Turns out Peter Jackson based his adaption of Shelob on funnel-web spiders, though my visitor was probably a Huntsman.

Then just as I was about to leave the house I found a huge cockroach on my bedroom window sill.

I really don’t want to have an entire ecosystem inside my home. I think it might be time to get the house sprayed again.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

10 replies on “The beasties are back”

I kid you not yesterday there was a cockroach (a large one) on my *towel* that was wrapped on top of my *head*!!!!! My mum spotted it, and as I was sans clothes at the time I was rather glad it chose the towel. EWWWW.

(And I would have been in serious distress had it been a hunstmen I’m sure)

May you suffer a thousand insect bites and be overrun with cockroaches. YOU KILLED A SPIDER! You didn’t have to do that – you could have just scooped it outside if you were scared of it sitting way above your head. Big tough man you are…

I don’t kill huntsman. Apparently they can bite but are not venomous. According to Wiki, the females can be aggressive if they perceive their eggs are in danger. I always relocate huntsman spiders when found inside the house, otherwise I leave them alone. I will even let the smaller ones crawl on my hand. Legend has it that a Murrumbeena lady used to have a pet huntsman that crawled upon her face in public. Probably an urban myth though.

I have made my peace with spiders; having lived much of my life as a violent and prejudiced arachnophobe, I decided I didn’t want to model that kind of behaviour for my kids, so I built a bridge and got over it, as they say in the classics. Daddy-long-legs and other small spiders are welcome to live in our house and the girls watch them with fascination and respect. Huntsmen are captured and relocated outside, as are moths, bees etc. Mosquitoes are summarily squished though, I admit ;-) And cockroaches suffer a similar fate if they venture inside, although really that’s not terribly rational (the ick factor is too strong with roaches though – I can’t overcome it).

The thing is, with two small children in the house and two adults with varying degrees of sensitivity to airborne pollutants, we won’t (and don’t) use airborne insect poisons such as bug bombs or aerosol insecticides. We rely on manual catch (or, in the case of mozzies, destroy) techniques, mosquito nets around beds, good fly screens, eucalyptus oil dabbed on hands and feet, and keeping the tidiest kitchen possible to avoid leaving incentives for many insects (and indeed rodents) to venture in. We know we thereby trade off a completely bug-free existence – we probably get more bugs inside than those who use insecticides – but I can live with that provided it doesn’t get to ridiculous extremes.

Louise, I never claimed to be big and tough. Spiders scare the crap out of me. Point taken though, next time if I can positively identify it as a Huntsman, I’ll sweep it outside instead.

Gargh! Don’t sweep it. Grab a thing, like a take-away container. Slam it down – Ha! Gotcha! Gaze around. Plead for help – bring me a thing! A flat thing! That! That! Bring me that magazine! Slide it under take-away container. Look in there make sure it’s still there. It’s gone! Argh! No, wait, there it is, hiding in the corner. Pfew! Gingerly wander outside to the property boundary. Begone! Dash inside. Roaches go on the road, perhaps a bird – nature’s insecticide – will see it before it scuttles for cover.

Oh, and do what Kathy said too. Prevent the problem occurring in the first place.

Daniel – I share your kneejerk reaction to spiders. My mother used to pick huntsmen up in her hands and take them outside, but I just stand there quivering when I see one. Luckily I don’t seem to have them around (not visibly anyway), but I do have cockroaches again this summer – found one in my clean undies just as I was about to put them on!
I recommend a rolled-up Green Guide for cockroaches (except when they’re in your knickers).

When I was at uni I knew a girl who was doing biology and who had two huntsmen living in her bedroom. “I don’t bother them, they don’t bother me,” she used to say. She went on to do work on spiders, not surprisingly.

As for me, I use the capture and release method for spiders. Kind of like them, actually. Once you know where they are, they are no bother. I can not stand flying, biting things, though. With mozzies, horseflies, wasps and (here in Europe) hornets I use all of the available means to dispatch the offending creature. A number of times I’ve had the experience of sitting at my computer only to hear something large banging into the lampshade above my head and to see a half metre long hornet with its dagger-like sting about ten centimetres from my face. In that situation chemical warfare is definitely called for.

Recently I was feeling relaxed and comfortable when I glanced at my ’empty’ red wine glass only to be shocked by the sight of a dead cockroach in the bottom of the glass. How it climbed up the smooth plastic stool and found its way into my glass and drowned in 2 drops of Shiraz is completely beyond me. Bizzare.

Unless a spider wants to share my clothes or bed (which I’ve not had seen one this close to me in oh say 25 years)..but even then…they don’t deserve to die. I just safely relocated them outside. Or leave them alone up on the wall or ceiling, they are facinating creatures and rarely venture down towards a giant aka human. Cockroaches, however, should be exterminated with a shoe/broom/or cats. I have 2 that love to catch and crunch lol.

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