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coping with creepy crawlies
July 2, 2012 7:50 AM   Subscribe

How do I cope with the fact that there is very likely a large spider running free in my apartment.

Last night in a moment of weakness I let a giant wolf spider live. He was on our apartment's porch. Blech. Later I opened the door that leads onto the deck and didn't realize that the screen door was still open. It sat open all night. Practically inviting said spider into a nice warm, dry apartment. Blech. I hate hate hate creepy crawlies. I am so squicked out right now I can barely put my feet on the floor for fear he is going to run across my toes. He's probably about the size of a nickel; young and full of life. I'm also afraid of him biting my 5 month old and/or cats.

Currently our apartment is in a state of adjustment as we reorganize it to babyproof. So many nooks and crannies and places I will be poking around to clean over the next week. I'm petrified I will forget about the spider only to have him run at me when I pick up something to sort.

How do I deal with the fact that he could be ANYWHERE?
posted by HMSSM to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
There are always spiders in your house. That probably doesn't help much though. Consider that spiders don't want warm and dry so much as they want bugs to eat. So it's not at all a given that this one came in through the open door.

Good for you for letting the spider live. Spiders are our friends.
posted by Balonious Assault at 7:56 AM on July 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Someone once said: If you see a spider, it is a guarantee that there are no larger (because they would have eaten the spider) or smaller (because the spider would have eaten them) pests in the house.
posted by jozxyqk at 7:59 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, this is probably going to sound really stupid, but I am also very squicked by spiders, and when I know there's one in the apartment, and nobody else is around, I smack-talk them. When I walk into a room, I click on the light and glance around. If I don't see a spider, I say something nasty. "Yeah you better hide, spider, because I am so much bigger than you I could smash you under my foot and then where would you be, huh? GRAAAAAH!!"

Also wear shoes as often as you can to facilitate easier smashing when you do find him. Spiders may be our friends, but if my human friends were lurking under my sink, you better believe I would hit them repeatedly with a shoe.
posted by specialagentwebb at 8:00 AM on July 2, 2012 [17 favorites]


You have plenty of other spiders in your home all the time and you're not constantly assaulted by a wave of arachnids, are you? No, of course not. Worst case scenario, the spider bites someone and it swells a little and itches.
posted by crankylex at 8:00 AM on July 2, 2012


Give it a funny name and refer to it as your pet. Think about how the spider will make sure no mosquitos will get to you.
posted by MinusCelsius at 8:01 AM on July 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


MinusCelsius: "Give it a funny name and refer to it as your pet"

Allow me to recommend some for you:
Fluffy, Pookie, Sweetpea, Beatrice, Cinderella or John
posted by Grither at 8:07 AM on July 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


As a wolf spider, it:

- Will mostly hang out where the hunting's good: cool dark places where there are delicious bugs to eat and not a lot of traffic from possible threats (ie: you or your cat)
- Is pretty much certain not to have a bite that causes medically significant issues, given that you appear to live in Seattle
- Has good eyesight so can spot you and will avoid you whenever possible - it's not going to run across your feet if it can help it at all, and it will only ever bite if provoked repeatedly. Think about it...would you pick a fight with a creature the size of a skyscraper? In other words - you may encounter him as you clean, but he will never run at you, only away.

Could he be anywhere? Sure. But also, he's steadily working to reduce the number of creepy-crawlies in your house. And unless you tend to store your 5-month old in dark cool dry dusty places, the kid will be all right. And so will you.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:18 AM on July 2, 2012 [19 favorites]


I love spiders, and still, the wolf spider is too much for me.

It probably won't attack you, certainly won't leave you scarred for life, and as other pointed out, may not even have come inside. It may also have found its own way out.

Just keep in mind that if your plan is to stomp on it, Wolf spiders will leave large dark stains on carpeted areas.

(I speak from experience.)
posted by scrute at 8:22 AM on July 2, 2012


Get a leafy plant. Spiders would much rather hang out in a big leafy plants than hide in dry, dusty nooks and crannies, and if you have a leafy plant in your apartment, chances are that at any given time the spider is there waiting to munch on some bugs and not about to run across your toes.

Once you have a leafy plant, put it on some out of the way window ledge or shelf. Now whenever you start thinking about where the spider might be, you can remind yourself that it's in the plant, and the plant is on the shelf, and you don't have to go near the shelf if you don't want to.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:22 AM on July 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Similar to the smack-talking, perhaps imagine that he's the misunderstood spider [warning: contains a spider picture with funny text] to defuse thinking of him as an evil dangerous interloper. He's just trying to help.
posted by chazlarson at 8:37 AM on July 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Maybe think of him as a tiny pet, like FAMOUS MONSTER suggests. You will probably not see him, but he will be keeping other bugs from biting the baby. You don't even have to feed him!

Getting a plant is a great idea, too. Your spider will hide there and have a home.
posted by winna at 8:44 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I respect spiders and all that, but if I knew there was a big spider loose in the house it would be Vacuum Extravaganza 2012. I'd turn on the big canister vacuum and sweep the entire house - including nooks and crannies, under furniture and behind doors, etc. I'd wield the vacuum like a sword and vanquish the evil villain. AND get the house clean in the process.
posted by Elly Vortex at 10:21 AM on July 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I like FAMOUS MONSTER's tips, but I have to call BULLLLLSHIT on the "they never run at you, only away from you" thing. Ha! Spiders run directly at me every. single. freaking. time.

Do what I do: convince yourself that the spider isn't there. Out of site, out of mind. Start telling yourself now that there's no way it came in and if it was, you would've seen it by now and DO NOT allow yourself to think otherwise. (and yes, I know this is also likely bullshit, but it's the only way to peace of mind)
posted by Eicats at 10:54 AM on July 2, 2012


There are cats? Then you have no problem. Cats are great spider detectors, because spiders make great cat toys. If there is any significant spider in your living space, the cats are sure to notice it, and become very excited. They will let you know where it is. They can probably even hear it if it moves. If your cats are content to loll about and play with their same boring old toys, it is very unlikely that there is any spider.
posted by Corvid at 12:14 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not very afraid of spiders for the most part, and pretty much view them as beneficial (except for the fairly few dangerous-to-humans ones) but I have total sympathy, because if it were a giant cockroach that ran inside I would be freaking out like whoah... plus I think I would freak out in any case because of the bébé.

I would absolutely put mosquito netting over the baby crib; good for better peace of mind in this instance, plus good for any other unknown crawly intruders. I would also do the big plant(s) thing, if you don't already have some... and of course you can mosquito net your own bed (which, as a possible plus, always kind of looks wonderfully gauzy and romantic to me).

And then I would just try not to worry too much, and I know it's easy to say, so I'll just add a bit of anecdata if it helps at all. When we moved into our current place, it had been empty for many months, and we encountered a lot of spiders that had happily taken up residence. We had a wolf spider in our bathroom that was more the size of a half-dollar... and just... lots of spiders of various sizes and colors everywhere. It was pretty freaky really; I've never seen a place with so many spiders – and so many different varieties! I'm kind of cool with spiders but this was really, really pushing it – but, well, I wasn't going to go drenching the whole apartment with insecticide, so I decided to mentally embrace the spider culture and be happy that they were eliminating a host of other bugs.

(And then I spent quite a few nights semi-soffocated, covered completely head to toe beneath my sheets and coverlet.)

But the thing that actually happened is they pretty much all just totally left of their own accord, and we didn't even have a cat (or a dog, at that time), which I think would definitely accelerate that exodus. As far as I can tell, in my experience they just really don't want to hang out with us large, unpredictable, scary creatures at all.

We still have a few very small "house spiders" that mostly hang out in the plants, but nothing more than I've seen anywhere else I've lived. So, I'd say that this spider mostly likely just wants to stay as far away from you and yours as possible, and is extremely unlikely to be a problem.

Courage, and good luck!
posted by taz at 12:33 PM on July 2, 2012


The wolf spider looks hideous but it is considered quite harmless. We had them running about in our garage and had one indoor sighting last year. It freaked me out at the time, but it helped to realize they are just going about their own business of eating other bugs in the house.
posted by dgran at 1:11 PM on July 2, 2012


Seconding both Famous Monster and the wonderful Misunderstood Spider.
posted by Sunburnt at 6:50 PM on July 2, 2012


Soon the bigger worry will be your baby biting the spider!

Seriously though, in situations like this I put on my BABY PROTECTOR hat and say "Oh you think you're going to get my baby? You will have to go through ME AND MY MOTHER INSTINCTS!". And then I nerd out even more and remind myself that fear is the mind-killer over and over until I feel like pretty much the baddest ass to ever badass.

(Also, I got the habit of calling spiders "grandmother" from my father; it really helps them be less scary.)
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:24 PM on July 2, 2012


My husband just walked up to me with a wadded up tissue. I asked where it had been found and he said "You don't want to know." I'm not going to press for answers.
posted by HMSSM at 10:45 PM on July 5, 2012


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