Living with nature and its critters

Little Miss Muffet, sat on a tuffet…

Last week a young mother in Corner Brook, Newfoundland was advised to gather her children and flee her home after spotting a black widow spider in her son’s bedroom.

To be honest, seeing black widows in our garage makes me want to flee as well, but it just happens all too often.

I try to live in harmony with the wildlife that surrounds us here in the central interior. I’m okay with chukkars in the backyard; with bears and coyotes just beyond the fence; the hawks and hummingbirds that stop by for a quick lunch; even the neighbourhood cats and dogs who use the sani-dump in my yard (also known as a garden).

But I have a size limit inside the house.

When they grow to a size that has Tool Man naming them and talking about them like a pet, it’s time to take action.

I wouldn’t say the black widows are numerous here, but we have to kill six or seven every year. It’s not that half a dozen spiders are a problem – but they reproduce faster than rabbits, and 600 black widows would definitely make me flee.

From what I hear, the poisonous insects in the southern United States would make our black widows look shy and persecuted. And the Australians have spiders that could put the run on a small dog.

Homeowners around here either don’t like to admit or they don’t like to believe they have black widows, but they like warm, dark undisturbed corners that you’d find in a garage, under a deck or in a shed. Their sting can’t kill a healthy adult, but it can give you flu-like symptoms. Which is unpleasant enough to ban them from the house.

Anyone already predisposed to arachnophobia – like my poor sister-in-law in Terrace – would probably be better off living in the cold and frozen north, although you still have to watch those shipments of fruit from the south.

Otherwise, keep in mind they’re out there, watching.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal