Spiders!  Spiders!  Spiders!

Don’t ask me to pick up a spider. Yet, the more I learn, the less I want to crush them. Did you know that spiders don’t drink your saliva, bite you or crawl in your mouth and get swallowed as you sleep? If one is found in your tub or sink, it fell in from above while looking for water and didn’t crawl up from the drain. In fact if you handle spiders, you are very unlikely to be bitten. The bite of most spiders won’t do any harm although some may hurt for a minute.

Please learn the appearance of the brown recluse and both adult and immature black widow spiders because their bite requires a trip to the doctor. Old furniture, piles of damp clothes, shady spots like old shoes left on the porch or cracks over the doorway are where the brown recluse and or black widow spider may be found. This is a great way to get your teenager to stop creating that composting pile of clothes on the floor of their closet. “Clean up your mess or the brown recluse will crawl out and bite you.” Then you can feel safe in the company of the other dozens of harmless species.

Spiders are glad to get away from you, so let them. The big three which include the wolf, huntsman and nursery-web spiders may wander into your house or park themselves just outside the door and catch roaches and other unwanted pests before they can enter. Although these are large, brown, scary looking spiders, their bites are not dangerous and if you learn where they hang out, the two of you can get along without any late night surprises.

Leave the brown, pea-sized house and long legged cobweb spiders to rid your house of mosquitoes and flies. Just clean up the old webs once in awhile but try not to end up throwing these guests out into the yard or they will die. They are adapted only to the indoors.

Beautiful spiders that you may find in your yard include the three inch orange and black golden-silk and the brown large orb weaver. Both spin fascinating webs across branches. The very common crablike spiny orb weaver is white with black spots and red points along the edge. Mabel orchard spiders are one inch long, thin, with shiny silver and black stripes and red spots. The inch or more green lynx spider sitting on a flower has no web and simply pounces on its prey. Her egg case is nearby and may be surrounded with tiny baby spiders.

You do have a choice between hiring a chemical company to nuke your home of all intruders and biological control with friendly spiders. Outside, spiders are a major source of food for birds. They often make up 90 percent of a birds protein source.

Now if a spider crawls up beside you, just relax and watch her crawl away. It’s really not hard to resist the urge to step on it. Really! It’s not hard….I tell myself.