How many times have you walked around a yard in the early morning, late afternoon or even in the middle of the day when all of a sudden you start flopping around like you have been afflicted with Saint Elmo’s Fire. It happens to me often. NO, I am not sick! I walked into another spider web.
Arachnids(Spiders) are some of the most interesting arthropods on this planet. They do not cause damage to food sources, structures, or cause allergies like Roaches, Rodents or Termites. Even if the Widow and Recluse species have toxic venom, mosquitoes, wasps, bees and ticks create far more health concerns to humans and pets. They are considered a nuisance and their presence is usually the impetus for clients to call demanding Al Capone Style Retribution. They want them dead! Their Parents, Dead! Their Children, Dead!
In some areas of the world Spiders are considered talismans of good news, luck, and wealth. They have become even part of the mythology of African culture with Arachne the weaver and Anansi. In India they are spread like confetti at weddings. That would have cleared the church at mine!
In Boy Scouts my troop took a trip to Big Bend National Park. At night the Tarantulas would roam around in large numbers. Sure glad we had cots, and were not sleeping on the ground. We captured one that barely fit inside a 3 pound coffee can. My dad was a little upset when he discovered he had carried it in his pack, when we trekked up to the North Rim. He also carried it back down too.
At Texas A&M University I studied Entomology with a professor that kept large tarantulas as pets, and let them roam around his office. Clarence (the largest) like to crawl over visitors if they sat in guest chairs. It seems like he had a different secretary every week. He also collected paintings and photos of outhouses as an example of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). After World War II, the number of cases of Black Widow Bites decreased every year. The professor’s theory was indoor plumbing and the expansion of public waste systems and the decline in the number of outhouses and Sears catalogs.
I find them lately in homes built with White Austin Stone and structures near hay meadows. Must be the reflected light quality, the brighter the better.
In the United States the largest spiders are the Mygalomorph burrow spiders (tarantulas) of the southwest. The largest spiders in East Texas would be the Wolf Spiders. These nocturnal spiders green eyes can be seen at night with a flashlight from 10 to 30 feet away depending on their size. They also carry their young offspring on their backs. The picture below is nothing compared to a client that sees what looks like hundreds of pin head size spider babies scattering in all directions.
My favorite spiders are the large Araneomorph Yellow Garden Orb Weavers. The intricate webs are spun with different styles of silk depending on their function. Sticky strands to capture prey, support strands to hold the web in place, and broadly weaved area to reflect light that attracts their prey. Even better it keeps me from looking like a Kung Fu Master on a clients property.