BOULDER – Facebook is an interesting place where, when you post your opinion, it results in a flurry of counterpoints, accusations, emotional outbursts, and outright banishment. A sane person would avoid stirring up controversy. But it’s October and I can’t help myself; I’ve been posting photos and sayings that I hope will sway the hearts and minds of my Facebook friends.
Their reactions were swift and vicious; they’d been expecting this. They’d readied their arguments and prepared to block me. Their reasons? Because I’ve declared that October is spider awareness month on my Facebook page, and they get treated to a spider, or two, every day of the month.
Spiders aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, although a great many people tell me they don’t mind them. But post a full-color video of a tarantula molting – appearing to pulsate out of its exoskeleton – and people lose their minds (view it on National Geographic’s link facebook.com/natgeo/videos/10154000430193951).
Even benign posts like the Peacock spider dancing the YMCA caused a stir (you’ll want to see this one too, at youtu.be/xYIUFEQeh3g). It seems neither an up close look at their personal lives nor a fanciful dance off can change people’s minds.
Spiders are often encountered in homes, but contrary to popular belief, they’re not trying to colonize the house. We notice the males in fall as they wander around searching for a mate. This and the territoriality of their natures often mean they blunder into our homes. While a wrong turn looking for romance is a noble mistake, the truth is, we live with spiders year-round.
They’re already in the house.
Smaller spiders, especially juveniles, live alongside us. With the exception of the black widow, there’s no reason to be afraid of Colorado spiders – they’re not a threat to us and anyone with a shoe could overpower one. If you don’t want spiders in your house, disturb areas favored by arachnids. Vacuuming regularly in corners, closets or underneath furniture can whisk away small spiders and disrupt webs of larger ones. Glue board traps located near sources of free moisture, such as behind the toilet, can capture spiders for removal.
Spiders also dislike places where human activity is frequent, preferring their digs remain undisturbed. The notion that a web is strong enough to hold a toddler, pet or hapless neighbor is better suited to Halloween movies and novels.
A basement room kept mostly in darkness is an enticing haunt for spiders, many of which are nocturnal. Houses are rarely spider-free, and this is of benefit to us, despite a Facebookers memes thanking Thor for the lightning bolt that killed the spider. Spiders make excellent roommates by helping control household insects, like fungus gnats, flies and other pests.
Should you want to reduce the number of spiders migrating into your home, make sure all screens are whole, weather stripping around doors and windows tight, and caulking any cracks in the foundation.
Colorado State University Extension, together with Boulder County Parks and Open Space, provides unbiased, research-based information about consumer and family issues, horticulture, natural resources, agriculture and 4-H youth development. For more information contact Extension at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Rd., Box B, Longmont, 303.678.6238, or visit ext.colostate.edu/boulder.