One day, a few years ago, I was pulling into my driveway when my cell phone rang. It was my daughter Sara. I walked into the house and found her standing on the couch, trying to call me and screaming at the same time. She pointed to a large wolf spider on the floor that appeared to be running in circles. When I asked her what happened, she said the spider appeared out of nowhere and attacked her and she had to defend herself with a can of aerosol cooking oil. The poor spider had the oil in its eight little eyes and couldn’t see anything. I picked the spider up and put it outside where it could hopefully clear its vision. Many people have a fear of spiders. I had arachnophobia (fear of spiders) many years ago. The first time I crawled under a house to inspect for termites, I crawled through some spider webs and thought I would die. I knew I had to overcome that fear if I was going to stay in the bug business. I learned all I could about this potential “enemy” until I realized my fears were in my head and spiders were nothing to be afraid of. Now I have no problem crawling under a house with thousands of spider webs. The pest industry likes to portray them as very dangerous in order to generate business. In fact, black widows kill about two people a year and athough brown recluse spiders are probably very dangerous, there is not a single case that can be proven where a brown recluse killed anyone. They have been blamed for deaths and probably did kill a few people over the years, but nothing has been proven where the spider that bit the victim was present.
Many species of spiders can live in the average yard and most of them are harmless. Black widows are common in most parts of the country and the brown recluse is found in many areas, particularly the midwest. As mentioned, both are potentially dangerous. The hobo spider and a few others can give painful bites if they are squeezed. However you have a far better chance of getting raped, murdered or poisoned by pesticides in this country than you do of getting bitten by a spider.
Personally I pick up black widows all the time and never get bitten. There are a lot of photos of black widows in my hand and even on my face on Facebook. Friend me at Richard Bugman Fagerlund and you can see them. I pick up centipedes, scorpions, rattlesnakes and just about anything. I don’t recommend anyone do that, but none of those animals are as dangerous as people think if you know how to deal with them. Yes, I have been bitten once by a black widow. I was crawling under a house in Farmington looking for termites about 35 years ago. I wasn’t wearing a shirt, which was stupid. I crawled over a black widow and she bit me on the stomach. It was my fault not hers. I got out of the crawlspace, drove back home to Albuquerque and told me wife. She wanted me to go to the hospital, but I refused and decided to just live through it. Every muscle in my body felt like a charley horse, and I sat in a chair for about three days. Then the symptoms subsided and I went back to work. I would not recommend this. If you get bitten by anything kind of spider, get medical help. People react differently to insect and spider bites. I have been bitten and stung by everything that bites and stings and have not had any serious ill affects. This might not be true for everyone. If you have children, and you find black widows on your property, kill the spiders so your children don’t accidently pick one up. If you don’t have children, just stay away from them and they won’t hurt you.